Subject: Tai Chi Chuan: The Way of Wellness / A Path We Can All Follow
Tai Chi Chuan has been in the public eye for a long time. There are many people who being far, far better than I at this art openly swear by it's myriad of benefits. Such benefits are of two natures, those seen and those unseen. These benefits come over time, a slow process.
In order to do Tai Chi Chuan properly you must desire ardently to learn and practice the art. Then do so to your fullest ability on a regular basis. The practice must contain "passion" and most of all intent. Tai Chi Chuan is an energetically based physical method of personal development. You cannot receive the gifts that Tai Chi bestows upon those who truly practice unless you embrace the entire spectrum of the art (not just pieces of it).
It is said that Tai Chi Chuan is a "Mother Art". IE: The place where all other arts and methods originated. A vocabulary of motions, intentions and universal principles. From forms of defense to methods of healing oneself Tai Chi Chuan is more than a martial art, it's a survival art from a time long ago. Just the fact that Tai Chi triggers the immune system to strengthen itself in a most magical way pretty much sold me on the art long ago.
To have a strong immune system is a gift for sure! You must create it, maintain it! Do you know that more mountain men, settlers and Indians died from Giardia (beaver fever) than from bullets and arrows? That's right, a water born virus that causes dehydration and death did all that damage. It's easily fixed now with modern medicine, but back then a weak immune system couldn't handle Giardia. The people with stronger immune systems came through the ordeal and got well again. In such a setting Tai Chi Chuan’s health & healing benefits would be worth anything! Health mi amigo’s is the big thing, beating up other people not so much. Self protection is found through health first... Tai Chi teaches this, other arts do not.
To learn the Tai Chi Chuan solo form or to learn the individual sets is an early goal for all Tai Chi people. That is a solid place to start. Get the basics down. Then go forwards from there. It's not difficult to learn the Yang short Form. In fact it's very purpose in being is that it is meant to be learned easier than the longer Yang double form. Yes I practice Yang style. It is a widely recognized type of Tai Chi, it offends no specific group by it’s content, it is pleasing to the eye and feels good to the body to perform it’s actions. The Tai Chi styles of Chen, Sun, Wu and others all offer similar results. The very fact that there seems to be several "authentic" versions of "real" Tai Chi Chuan demonstrates that this is an art of principle more so than of specific techniques or postures. Long before Olympic athletes began using "visualization techniques" Tai Chi players were benefiting from it. A type of internal, mental magic that uses visualization is commonly found in Tai Chi sects across the world. The 13 original postures are physical representations of the internal workings that make up the core of this art. The postures supply the pumps and bows (semi-circular form) we need for health and self protection. The slow pace, the over-done movements are the skeletal pumps that assist the lymph system, digestion and elimination. I’d love to discuss this more with you in person.
If you do believe in CHI, then yes that too is being created and directed to flow through the body. It's the same reason that Yoga asana's do so well for many people. Yoga and Tai Chi share much in common. Daoist kung fu yoga is a term often seen. The bulk of the study of Tai Chi Chuan is done solely by you. Not so much the studio where you train or the teacher. These factions can teach you form, principle and posture of power. Then YOU must repeat, postulate and ponder on your own. Tai Chi skill comes from a teacher, but is matured into the valuable life tool by you. No excuses, you either do it or you don't.
I have found that most Tai Chi Chuan players today who claim that they "practice regularly" simply don't. They pose and take selfies. More "feel good bullshit" from the new ager's. Then when such type do train with me, they are often put off by the entire thing I present. Pardon me for mentioning "martial arts" and ruining everything! I am a nasty aren't I?) Real Tai Chi smells, tastes and feels different from other arts. The Tai chi classics tell us this. The classics provide a clear, concise set of directions and admonishments that if followed will deliver great results just as promised. The Tai Chi Chuan "classics" are the guide-stones we all use to find our way in Tai Chi Chuan. The classics can be interpreted liberally. Many versions exist of what they mean. The Tai Chi Chuan classics are the concepts and principles of this magnificent art which transcend style and master. Follow the classics and you may arrive in a very lucrative place. Those who do not follow the classics are lost in the forest. Leave the forest, enter the land of waterfalls, rivers and lakes. Scholar-warrior-priest, shaman, wizard and healer / take thy rightful seat at this counsel fire!
Understanding the martial value each set is important, otherwise we call it yoga. It also helps explain what it is we are doing. (clarity in learning is also a good thing). Understanding the how and why of Tai Chi's health related aspects also helps and motivates us to do the form to the proper cadence, eye movements and intentions. Breathing, focusing, circular breathing and dynamic action is one thing. Joined in unity of mind, body and spirit!
Tai Chi Chuan gives us our lives back. This world has been harsh to many of you. I know. Tai Chi Chuan staves off the corrosive effects of daily life. Tai Chi gives life back to us in the form of energy and happiness. Mindful living, each day valued, grateful to be alive, giving thanks to the higher powers. This is also Tai Chi life. If done right, nothing is better than this. Like prayer in motion -