Tai Chi - Just Moving and breathing

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Tai Chi - Just Moving and breathing

Postby Internalfitness » Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:49 pm

The class where I learned the basics of Tai Chi & Chi Kung was a very relaxed affair, even though it was run by a couple of seasoned teachers. As a lot of the class were, how can I put it, ladies of a certain age who liked to natter, I got about 3 years of 1-1 tuition for £10 a quarter! (Back when hall rentals were a lot cheaper)

We were visited by a tai chi 'master' (although what his credentials were I can't remember) and he kindly watched us stumble and massacre our way through a 24 and then a 48 step routine. Rather than pick fault, which he could easily have done, he simply thanked us for giving HIM the opportunity to join in our class, and gave us this little pearl of wisdom -

All you are doing is moving and breathing. Let yourself move and let yourself breathe.

I had picked tai chi to learn, not out of any particular prior knowledge, but in those early days of the internet you generally needed to call the person running the class and actually GO to the class to see what was what. I had previously tried boxing, kickboxing, karate, fencing, and I had those awful first class experiences where you get left at the side of the room and ignored. At my first tai chi class there was a folder of information waiting for me, a small library of books available to take, and an entire 1-1 session. Coupled with the fact I could practice on my own at home I was hooked - and continue to be hooked to this day.

That said, in nearly 20 years I doubt I have moved up in 'chi' generation or skill, but I let myself move, I let myself breathe, and I thoroughly enjoy it!

I often read articles and books on tai chi, and the articles in particular pour scorn on things such as the 'basic' 24 form, saying it serves no purpose and the moves are so diluted from the source that all benefits have gone. In my my personal practice I have diluted the moves even more! I make sure in MY version of tai chi that every single body part gets moved, bent, twisted, turned, pulled and pushed until after 10 minutes I have done a fair approximation of a full body stretching workout.

It is very easy to be put off anything if you read enough into it (especially if you read internet articles rather than books!) but for anyone wishing to try tai chi I would simply say it is just moving and breathing, and far from having no benefit, it will stretch you out, warm you up, cool you down and relax you.

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Re: Tai Chi - Just Moving and breathing

Postby peter yates » Tue Jul 18, 2017 11:24 pm

Hi Richie,
what is interesting about Tai Chi [Tai Ji] is that in the later part of the 20th century it became known as a method of health promotion,relaxation and moving meditation.However the origins of Tai Chi are very much combat oriented and a highly trained practitioner can be formidable adversary. So what we have now is actually two separate arts so to speak,Tai Chi Chuan [Tai Ji Quan] meaning great polarity [as in yin/yang] boxing or fist art,and Tai Chi as health promotion and preservation system. Of course learning Tai Chi as a fighting art still bestows all of the health benefits.All of my training in Tai Chi has been focused on the martial aspect although the many non martial benefits i have gained from practice have been many. As a combat system the deeper i go the more i realize that it contains everything else i have ever studied,For this reason, plus the added physical/mental gains it has become my sole martial practice.Now as far as books and articles on Tai Chi are concerned i have very little time for them, same with the online forums.I feel many of these people are really up themselves and elitist when in reality most of them have zero combat experience and it is all just theoretical,yet as you say they are very ready to heap disdain on others.Of course i have been guilty of the same when i was younger and thought i knew what Tai Chi was but had nice lesson given to me one lovely day in a Tokyo park.I was doing my practice amid some trees when a rather elderly but spry gentleman in a business suit walked to a spot nearby.He removed and neatly folded his jacket and tie and proceeded to play one of the simplified sets.As i watched i noticed the sun shining through the leaves on the trees,the stillness surrounding him and a slight smile of contentment on his face as he slowly and steadily completed the form.Upon completion he stood for a short while with closed eyes, put on his tie and jacket,and as he left gave me a lovely smile.I knew then that this was his Tai Chi as much as what i was doing was mine,and he was obtaining all that he needed and desired from it.So Richie enjoy YOUR Tai Chi and take no notice of what detractors who should be more concerned with their own practice have to say.
Peter Yates
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