Internal Martial Arts & Calisthenics

Like a lot of people, I started martial arts training in an external martial art such as Muay Thai, and weight training worked great for excelling in that art. I got stronger and hit harder. Now, there is nothing wrong with external martial arts, I respect each art, but they were not for me and I didn’t realize this until my 20’s.

After a small hiatus, and watching late night Kung Fu movies, I gave Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) a try. The art fascinated me with its flowing movement and hidden power. I had to reverse all of my study, and focus on my internal self. I picked up on the weight training and noticed the weight training actually hindered my movement. In the last few years I dropped the weights and went to calisthenics. My movement, quickly improved. But I didn’t really pay attention to the change.

Recently, I had the opportunity to study with Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming, a Grand Master in Yang Style Taijiquan, and after his lectures and expectations of movements, it clicked! Calisthenics is extremely beneficial to internal martial arts. Let’s look at the meaning of calisthenics, exercise to achieve fitness and grace of movement. In TaijiquanTaijiquan you need to have every part of your body to flow as one, calisthenics teaches full body control. This is a beautiful match to improve your internal martial art performance. I would never say you should give up your weight training if that is what you love to do, just make sure your training matches what your current goal is.

 

See my story here.

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Taijiquan or Tai Chi Chuan

Quest Fitness Personal Gym | Grand Rapids, MI
Ray and student practicing martial arts

Tai Chi Chuan in an ancient martial art that can be traced back hundreds of years to Chen Village where, for a long time, the teachings were secret and only taught to members of the Chen Family.

In the 1800’s, Chen Chang-Xing taught art to the first outsider, Yang Lu-Chan. Yang Lu-Chan was responsible for developing the Yang style of Tai Chi and was called Yang the Invincible.

Tai Chi Chuan was originally developed as a martial art but over the years has also been found to have many healing properties such as aiding in cardiovascular health, flexibility, and balance. It has also been known to help with high blood pressure, stress, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and respiratory ailments. The slow paced low impact workout helps build strength in the legs and core muscles, as well as the stabilizing muscles.

The martial applications of the styles are taught through an exercise called Push Hands. Push Hands trains the student by improving the understanding of forces, balance, intentions and Qi involved in practice with a partner.