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Tai Chi Exercises


What is Tai Chi Quan?


Tai Chi Quan, a Chinese national-level intangible cultural heritage, is a kind of gentle, slow, light and flexible traditional Han national boxing that integrates thinking of the changes of Yin and Yang and five elements in Yi-Ching, the meridian science, guiding technique, and the expiration and inspiration in traditional Chinese medicine in the basis of the core concepts of traditional Chinese Confucianism, Taiji Philosophy in Taoism, and the dialectical theory of Yin and Yang to achieve the results of edifying temperament, keeping healthy, and self-defense.


History of Tai Chi


There are different opinions about how the Tai Chi Quan originated. Some people say it's created by Xu Xuanping in Tang Dynasty, some say it's from Zhang Sanfeng in Ming Dynasty, while some say it's from Chen Wangting and Wang Zongyue in Qing Dynasty. There is no sufficient historical record to prove the first two theories. In fact, Tai Chi Quan is not created by one single person, but created, organized, and developed by many people. According to the Chinese martial art historian Tang Hao, Tai Chi Quan had two branches, one from the Wudang martial arts, which was exclusive to Taoist disciples except the Tai Chi Quan from Cheng Bao, while the other originated from the Chen family in Wenxian, Henan, which was successively divided into several types. The creator of the Chen style Tai Chi Quan is Chen Wangting.

Chen Wangting (about 1509) is the 9th generation of the Chen family. He was a master both in pen and sword, and served with distinction during the Qing army's suppression of bandits in Shandong province. However, he wasn’t raised to any official post. Disappointed, Chen Wangting came back home and practiced his family martial art when he wasn't farming. Therefore, the Chen style Tai Chi Quan was created.


What are the Characteristics of Tai Chi?


Tai Chi Quan is characteristic in the art of attack and defense. In the Tai Chi Quan practices, the principles of coping with all motions by remaining motionless, striking where the enemy is weakest and avoid its strongholds, and unarmed counter move are greatly stressed.


Comprehensiveness

Tai Chi Quan is a comprehensive and systematic exercise that has strong traditional Han cultural characteristics. It explores the relationships between human and society, human and nature and the issues of human body itself, involving the subjects like classical literature, physics, regimen, medicine, martial arts, physiology, psychology, sports biomechanics and more, and to embody the cosmology, life views, morality, and sport spirit in oriental literature.


Adaptability

Taiji Quan has soft and slow movements, which is not difficult to practice. Meanwhile, the postures, either high or low, and the quantity of the motions can be flexible according to the individual's physical conditions and ages. It's not just for old or physically weak people. By practicing the Tai Chi Quan, one can improve his Kungfu skills, gain health benefits, and achieve self-perfection.


Safety

The loose, soft, smooth, and effortless movements of Tai Chi Quan can not only relieve the practitioner's original stiffness, but also avoid damages to muscle, joints, ligament and other organs. Thus, one's force application habits and instincts are changed, and the possibility of chest distress and blocking of blood circulation caused by inappropriate use of force and breathing is diminished.


Six Major Types of Tai Chi


Chen Style Tai Chi

Chen Wangting was a man of late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty. He was famous for his skills in martial arts in Henan and Shandong areas. However, he wasn't put in any important position. After resigning at home, Chen Wangtng practiced his family Kungfu of 108 forms of boxing and learned essence from other martial arts. He also combined the theoretical concepts from traditional Chinese medicine and created a new kind of Tai Chi, which included a lot of weapons like knives, spears, sticks, swords, mace, and movements of five ways of Tai Chi Quan, one way of cannon boxing, double hands pushing and other routines.


Yang Style Tai Chi

It's created by Yang Luchan (1799 - 1872), a famous disciple of Chen Changxing, who was the seventh generation successor of Chen style Tai Chi Quan. When Yang Luchan taught Tai Chi boxing in Beijing, his followers were mainly princes and aristocrats who had extravagant life styles and were impatient with hardships. Considering the physical conditions and health needs of these people, Yang Luchan changed the difficult movements in old Chen Tai Chi boxing like jumping, falling, and feet shaking to non-jumping, non-falling, less speedy movements or somewhat simpler and softer ones, making the Tai Chi Boxing easy to practice. Therefore, the Yang style Tai Chi Quan is not only suitable for people who love martial arts, but also ordinary people.

Predecessors: Chen Wangting - Chen Ruxin - Chen Dapeng- Chen Shanzhi - Chen Bingwang - Chen Changsheng - Yang Luchan


Wu (武) Style Tai Chi

It's created by Wu Yuxiang (1825 - 1893), a man from Hebei province and a famous disciple of Chen Qingping who was the eighth generation inheritor of Tai Chi Quan. In the thirteenth year (1833) of Daoguang era, when his fellow countryman Yang Luchan learned Tai Chi Quan from Chenjia Valley, Wu Yuxiang met him and became interested in the martial art. In 1850, Wu Yuxiang personally went to Henan and learned Tai Chi Quan from master Chen Qingping and acquired the Book of Taiji Quan. After he got back to home, Wu Yuxiang practiced the Taiji Quan and perceived the book carefully. Decades later, He created a new type of Tai Chi Quan with small but energetic, compact and dexterous, simple and elegant movements. People called it the Wu Style Tai Chi Quan.

Predecessors: Chen Wangting - Chen Suole - Chen Zhengyu - Chen Jue - Chen Gongzhao - Chen Youben - Chen Qingping - Wu Yuxiang


Wu (吴) Style Tai Chi

It's created by Quan You(1834 - 1902), a disciple of Yang-style Tai Chi master Yang Banhou. He was famous for softening the Tai Chi movements. When pushing hands, Quan You liked to keep quiet and not act rashly. Based on his Kungfu practice, Quan modified the Yang-style Taichi and formed his own style. His son Jianquan, followed the Han surname and changed his name to Wu Jianquan. In 1912, Wu Jianquan further enriched and modified the family boxing and removed some repetitive and jumping movements, forming a new school of Tai Chi Quan. The Wu Style Tai Chi is known for its natural, compact, slow, continuous, softening movements.

Predecessors: Chen Wangting—Chen Ruxin—Chen Dapeng—Chen Shanzhi—Chen Bingwang—Chen Changxing—Yang Luchan—Yang Banhou—Quanyou—Wu Jianquan.


Sun Style Tai Chi

It's created by Sun Lutang (1860 - 1933), a well-known martial artist at home and overseas. In 1912, he met the famous Wu style Tai Chi master Hao Weizhen and learned the essence of Tai Chi from him. In 1918, Sun Lutang combined the movements from Tai Chi boxing, Xingyi boxing and Bagua boxing and created a new, innovative style of Tai Chi. The Sun Style Tai Chi was famous for movements being small, light, flexible, slow, soft, and diversified moving directions.

Predecessors: Chen Wangting—Chen Suole—Chen Zhengru—Chen Jue—Chen Gongzhao—Chen Youben—Chen Qingping—Wu Yuxiang—Li Yishe—Hao Weizhen—Sun Lutang


He Style Tai Chi

It's created by He Zhaoyuan, one of the famous disciples of Zhaobao Tai Chi master Chen Qingping, who was the eighth generation inheritor of Chen style Tai Chi boxing. Based on the original Tai Chi practice, He Zhaoyuan modified the techniques, body movements, pace skills and postures, and greatly increased the practical contents of the boxing, making the exercise more natural and fully consistent with the physiological structure of human body. He style Tai Chi has integrated the fist movement, hand pushing and sparring, which not only maintained the traditional Zhaobao Tai Chi styles, but also carried its own characteristics.

Predecessors: Chen Wangting—Chen Suole—Chen Zhengru—Chen Jue—Chen Gongzhao—Chen Youben—Chen Qingping—He Zhaoyuan


What is Tai Chi 24-Form?


1

起势 (Opening Posture of Tai Chi Chuan)

2

左右野马分鬃(Part the Wild Horses Mane)

3

白鹤亮翅(White Crane Spreads Its Wings)

4

左右搂膝拗步(Brush Knees)

5

手挥琵琶(Playing the Lute)

6

左右倒卷肱(Reverse Reeling Forearm)

7

左揽雀尾(Grasping the Sparrow's Tail - Left)

8

右揽雀尾(Grasping the Sparrow's Tail - Right)

9

单鞭(Single Whip)

10

云手(Waving Hands Like Clouds)

11

单鞭(Single Whip)

12

高探马(Pat the Horse on the Back )

13

右蹬脚(Kick with Right Heel)

14

双峰贯耳(Hitting Your Opponent's Ears with Both Fists)

15

转身左蹬脚(Turn Around and Kick with Left Heel)

16

左下势独立(Squat Down on Left Leg)

17

右下势独立(Squat Down on Right Leg)

18

左右穿梭(Fair Lady Works the Shuttles )

19

海底针(Needle from Bottom of Sea)

20

闪通背(Fan Through Back)

21

转身搬拦捶(Turn Around, Deflect, Parry and Punch)

22

如封似闭(Apparent Close, Withdraw and Push, as if clothing a door)

23

十字手(Cross Hands)

24

收势(Concluding Posture)



7 Benefits of Tai Chi Practicing


1. Activate the self-repair system of the body: human body's self-repair system gets degrading with aging. Practicing Tai Chi Quan can help to regulate the body and mind, reconcile Yin and Yang, promote balance and activate the body's self-repair function.

2. Dredge the meridians: the long-term sitting in the office with little exercise can easily cause meridian channels being blocked and small lumps may appear on body. Keep practicing Tai Chi Quan can help to dredge the meridians and diminish the body lumps.

3. Relax nervous system: focusing on one single thing without break can create a tense and stiff body. Practicing Tai Chi Quan can help to condense energy, relax nervous system and relieve dizziness.

4. Strengthen cardiac functions: people who are not in favor of exercising have a comparatively weak heart. Practicing Tai Chi, slow as it is, can help to boost the circulation of the body blood and strength the cardiac functions.

5. Strengthen blood vessels: medically speaking, practicing Tai Chi can strengthen the elasticity of blood vessels and reduce the chance of angiorrhexis.

6. Enhance muscles and bones: the irregular lifestyles usually result in stiff, inelastic and powerless muscles ligament. By practicing Tai Chi, one can enhance his power of muscles and ligament, and make joints more flexible.

7. Expedite blood circulation: one can easily get sick if his bodily blood circulation uncleared. Practicing Tai Chi can open up one’s channels and collaterals and expedite the blood circulation.


5 Tips on Tai Chi Practicing


1. Keep A Suitable Amount of Exercise

Practice Tai Chi Quan based on your own health condition. Do the simple movements and keep a small amount of exercise first, and then gradually increase the difficulty and move to the next level. People with good physical conditions can practice for about an hour per day.


2.Be Persistent

To enjoy the benefits of the Tai Chi Practicing, you have to be persistent and keep practicing.


3.Master the Proper Way to Practice

Beginners must master the proper ways during the basic skills training period. Otherwise, they may suffer from the knee-joint pain caused by the inappropriate movement. In such case, one must stop practicing to recover until he gets better. Learning Tai Chi Quan, one must follow the rule of easy movements first and difficult movements later so as to avoid injury.


4. Keep a Clam Heart and Relaxing Body

To practice Tai Chi, one must be fully relaxed and concentrated. Only in this way can one’s brain get a rest and the nervous system's excitation and suppression can be better regulated.


5. Choose a Suitable Environment

To practice Tai Chi Quan, one need to find a quiet and open space with freshening air like parks, squares, forests, and gardens. Meanwhile, he need to make sure the space is exposed to the sun and lee. Do not practice in foggy days.


Practice Tai Chi Exercise with Lilysun China Tours


In this three-hour experience, you will have a personalized Tai Chi practice with a Tai Chi master who can speak both Chinese and English.


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