Tai chi emphasizes complete relaxation, and is essentially a form of meditation, or what has been called "meditation in motion." Unlike the hard martial arts, tai chi is characterized by soft, slow, flowing movements that emphasize force, rather than brute strength. Though it is soft, slow, and flowing, the movements are executed precisely.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF TAI CHI
The history of Tai Chi is a difficult one, since it is often difficult to sort out fact from legend. But we can say loosely, at least, that Tai chi traces its roots back to approximately the 2nd millennium B.C. with the practice of yoga in ancient India. In China yoga came to be developed into what is called Shaolin chuan ("chuan," briefly, means boxing). In the 13th century A.D., a Taoist monk by the name of Chang Sang Feng developed what has come to be known as Tai Chi. Subsequently Tai Chi came to be associated with different families in China. These family names came to designate the different styles of tai chi. The tai chi family or style from which all other current styles or families of Tai Chi developed was the Chen family. A man by the name of Yang, subsequently studied with the Chen family and later modified the Chen style, thus developing the Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan. The Yang style is the most common traditional style of Tai Chi Chuan practiced today. The Yang style has three different forms that are practiced: the simplified form, the short form, and the long form.
TAI CHI PHILOSOPHY
Tai Chi arises out of two important philosophical texts in China: the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching. Though the title, Tao Te Ching, is translated in different ways, one translation of the title is "the classic way of integrity." Both of these texts stress what the Chinese call "chi." Chi is an ancient Chinese notion designating a form of energy. The term literally means something like "breath," as does the ancient Greek word from which we get the word "spirit." According to the philosophy of tai chi, this energy or chi flows throughout the body, but can become blocked. According to Chinese medicine, tai chi masters, and tai chi philosophy, one becomes ill when the flow of the chi through the body becomes blocked. The Chinese recognize several means for freeing up the flow of chi. Two of the more commonly known forms in this country are acupuncture and tai chi.
In addition to its physical benefits, tai chi is said, by the Chinese, to have certain psychological effects as well. Tai Chi, as a form of meditation, is intended to help one understand oneself and to enable one to deal with others more effectively. This latter function is rooted in one's learning to control oneself. This self-control can come about through two principal notions found in the Tao Te Ching and I Ching. These two notions are the fundamental Taoist notions of yin and yang. The philosophy of Taoism understands everything in terms of these two opposing principles. Though these two principles are seen as opposites, the one necessarily merges into the other, creating the natural balance of self and world, hence the classic symbol of tai chi . The tai chi form is meant to enable one to bring the principles of yin and yang back into their fundamental, natural harmony. The ultimate effect of this harmony, according to Taoism and Tai Chi, is one's physical and spiritual well-being.
TAI CHI at SHORIN KUNG FU
An ancient form of martial arts, Tai Chi has gained great recognition and popularity in the West -- so much so, that the exercise dimension of Tai Chi practice has overshadowed the deeper martial arts heritage and meditative and health underpinnings that make Tai Chi such a potent ally for body and mind.
The result is that today you can find many facilities and instructors who teach Tai Chi movements and routines, but very few who have the deep martial arts background and contemplative spiritual experience that are core to the power of the practice.
Shorin Kung Fu is different. Here Tai Chi is taught not just as an exercise, but as the supreme martial art it is -- a subtle fighting style so balanced and powerful that it was known as the "ultimate hammer" or "boundless fist" by the ancient masters. Here you are instructed not by a Tai Chi trainer, but by an instructor personally trained by Grandmaster Brigham, a 10th degree black belt Grandmaster whose 50+ years of training include residence and study in some of Asia's greatest temples and centers of learning.
At Shorin Kung Fu, Tai Chi is taught in a manner that integrates the meditative and spiritual dimension of the practice with its healing and strengthening health aspects and its powerful self-defense origins. No two instructions are ever the same, as Grandmaster Brigham integrates stretching and strengthening routines with balance practice, meditation, hand-to-hand combat and weapons practice -- the full spectrum of "boundless fist" practices handed down from master to master over hundreds of years.
To experience the power of tai chi learned in an authentic dojo and instructed by an authentic master of tai chi, visit Shorin Kung Fu.
A wonderful way to stay fit and keep the arthritis at
I have spent 4 years in the Shorin Tai Chi Program. The program has been instrumental in my recovery from a serious disease, to being a model patient and in excellent health. It has also served to better my understanding and skills in meditation which is vital for overcoming everyday stresses and maintaining the desired level of peace in my life. My fellow students and mentors have become close friends. There are plenty of advanced teachers eager to give each class a personal touch. This program is well worth the time and energy that I have dedicated to it. My intentions are to remain with the program for the rest of my life.
I have been doing Tai Chi at the Shorin Center for over 6 years and have found it to be the best all around program for me. It brings together the body, mind and spirit into one place. It's excellent for increasing strength, balance and overall fitness and keeping your mind sharp. I'm nearly 74, but feel like I'm in my 40's. What's more - It's fun!
I had knee surgery recently and was looking for a creative way to rehabilitate it. I have not only astonished my doctors with my progress and healing, I have found something I really enjoy.