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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Ready to take your own calisthenic quest?
Through the month of November, we are celebrating the release of the book “The Calisthenics Quest”. As part of the celebration, we will be offering special discounts for our group classes and even some of our personal training packages for new members. Since we love our current members, there will be something for them, too.
There will always be no cost memberships! But here are the special prices…
Group classes for new members will be $5 for your first drop drop-in. This is for Yoga, Beast Club Bootcamp, and Tai Chi.
As for personal training, you can get 3 hour sessions for $99 or 3 half hour $66!!
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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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I strongly feel that no martial art style is greater than the next. It is the practitioner that makes it great.
I also feel that a martial art is not always one size fits all. Some will feel more natural than others.
Regardless of the style you choose, it will take hard work and dedication.
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.