Today people from all walks of life all practise Tai Chi – a sequence of unhurried, flowing movements that encapsulate the essence of calm and tranquillity. But its roots may lie in the 14th century, with a taoist named Chang Sang-Feng. According to legend, he created 13 self-defence postures based on his observations of animals and birds in the wild. Whatever its true origins, Tai Chi Chuan was first taught in the west in the 1960s and continues to captivate those who learn it.
The art not only cultivates Chi for health, it also utilises Chi for self defence – this is what makes traditional Tai Chi Chuan an internal martial art. Self defence requires firm dedication and persistent correct practice with the help of an able instructor. Men and women can achieve equal proficiency, as expertise is not dependent on size, physical strength or speed. At a high level, Traditional Tai Chi Chuan allows Chi to be used in self-defence applications to simultaneously achieve the apparent paradox of effortlessness and tremendous power. The subtlety of such expertise cannot be adequately described … only felt
Numerous studies into the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan have been carried out. Results have shown that even moderate amounts of Tai Chi practice can reduce blood pressure, increase bone density, increase strength and the range of motion in joints, improve immune function, alleviate muscle/joint disorders, aid recovery from injury and lighten mood. In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service has adopted – and recommends –Tai Chi Chuan for the elderly as a safe exercise to strengthen the legs and develop stability, so as to reduce incidence of falls.