What Is Tai Chi

Taijiquan (or tai chi) can be many things to many people. For some it is an exercise, for some it is a meditation and others it is a form of self defense. However when you continue to practice and reach a higher level of training, the above reasons lose their importance. At this time, you need to find the real meaning of your practice or you may become satisfied with your training and lose your enthusiasm for the art. You must start to wonder what is the meaning of this meditative martial art? Daoist practitioners use tai chi in their strive to become immortal where many non-religious practitioners used tai chi to gain a peaceful mind and reinvigorate their lives.

What you need to understand is that Taijiquan emphasizes meditation both in your stillness and your movement. Practitioners like a Buddhist priest trains himself in this meditation to be calm and concentrated. In your training, it is possible for you to achieve a sense of peace and centeredness that will allow you to judge things and events in a neutral way without any emotional disturbance. When you can truly calm and clear your mind, the spiritual side will start to open up. You’ll start to see things more deeply. As a practitioner’s skill increases, they may be able to sense a person’s intentions before they are expressed and you become more capable at looking deeply into people and events in a non-martial way, as well. In the past, many martial art masters were considered wise man and were consulted for their insight into the meaning of human life this world and the universe. Because of their training they learn to live in the world without confusion or doubt and find peace and happiness and all of this comes through meditation and continuous pondering.

In your practice and meditation, you need to concentrate your whole attention in order to develop the higher levels of the art. This concentration and dedication will carry over to the rest of your life and the strive for perfection becomes the real meaning of Taijiquan.

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Balance Training

Regardless of your fitness level, balance training should become part of your training. Whether running down a soccer field, walking up and down the stairs or using a stability ball, balance training is key to functional movement. No matter who you are, as we age balance becomes a struggle, so training it now is important.

 Just like flexibility, poor balance is associated with risk of injury. It is important to understand that balance is vital in fitness. Balance is dependent on both external and internal factors to maintain the body’s center of gravity. Most people think of balance as being static or stationary, but it can also be dynamic. Dynamic balance is the ability to move and chance directions under various conditions without falling.

 I always like to suggest starting with static balance training. Start off with just standing on one foot and holding it. As you progress you can do the same static exercises on unstable surfaces. Exercises like this will also aid in building muscle balance. In all honesty, I start all my clients on stability workouts. Balance is key to every fitness style.

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