A thousand years ago Daoist Master, martial arts and medical expert Zhang Sanfeng created what he believed was the ultimate form of self defence and natural health preservation. The system he designed would not only disrupt the harmony of chi (energy), by striking certain points at certain times of the day but also realised the therapeutic value of these same meridians and points. The question was how to strengthen the body, tonify the organs, create free flow through the meridians and cultivate chi. This system is know known as taiji or more commonly, tai chi: "the grand/supreme or ultimate fist", taijiquan being the fist part of the fighting art of taiji.
Nowadays taiji and qigong are known most commonly for their healing and strengthening potential and as exercises which are practised in a set pattern.
Taiji and qigong improve health through relaxing and releasing; body awareness and alignment; the cultivation of vital energy (chi); balance and co-ordination; breathing with movement; meditation and visualization and attention to the here and now.
The five external and five internal senses are the focus of each level of training.
In the longer term, awareness of intention is developed together with the confluence of body, mind and spirit; sensitivity and inner listening through the practice of pushing hands, and a greater understanding of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
By learning not to identify with aggressive energies, non-aggressive responses are accessed with the ability to deal with unwanted or blocked energy.
There are many 'styles' of taiji, among them Yang, Wu, Chen, Han, Sun: find the style and teacher which resonates for you and learn to flow with these gentle and ancient movements.
Chang San-Feng (Founder of Tai Chi)
Yang Lu-Chan (Founder of Yang Style)
Cheng Man Ching