Taijiquan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan) means “Grand Ultimate Boxing,” and has been around in one form or another for over 1,000 years to help people live in a more meaningful way. In addition to good health and practical self-defense, Taiji can help people better understand themselves, their relations with others, and their environment. Basic principles, followed during the Taiji exercise, gradually release tension from the mind and body. These principles can also be practiced during any activity, and even while resting. They include correct posture and skeletal alignment, intentional relaxation, and use of the whole mind and body to accomplish even simple movements. Long term practice of Taijiquan offers people robust health, a calm and clear mind, and surprising strength and self-confidence.
The self-defense aspects of Taijiquan teach one to harmonize with adversity. The perception and lightness fostered by regular practice allows one to sense an opponent’s slightest movement, and change position to neutralize or return their energy or force. Taiji is sometimes called “the art of change,” and accomplished practitioners can meaningfully change position and direction several times for each change a novice makes. Regular practice also develops jin, or “internal strength,” which can be many times stronger than the binding force of muscle and bone. The name Taiji refers to the circular diagram of yin and yang, while the word Quan translates as “boxing.” The Taiji student ultimately seeks to release all internal and external conflicts, gradually arriving at a state of peace and happiness.
Taiji is an excellent system of exercise for young and old alike. It requires no special equipment, only a small space, and can be practiced by people in nearly any condition. The weak can become stronger, the strong can become more gentle, the distracted can become more present, the present can regain ease and naturalness.
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