stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. The gentle and
yielding is the disciple of life. An army without flexibility
never wins a battle. A tree that is unbending is easily
broken. The hard and strong will fall. The soft an weak
T'ai Chi Ch'uan (T'ai
a form of Chinese martial arts, graceful, mindful, and fluid in
movement, and slow in tempo. T'ai Chi Ch'uan is the internal
martial art conditioning mind and body, utilizing the principles of the
Dao or the Way. T'ai Chi emphasizes balance, posture, breathing
technique, the flow of energy(Chi), concentration, and complete
relaxation. T'a Chi has been variously described as a sytem of
health, medicine, physical co-ordination, relaxation, self defense and
consciousness-raising, as well as a means of exercise and personal
development. It is indeed all of these things!
T'ai means grand or ultimate. Chi (Ji, Qi, Ki) means energy, air,
potential power, motion, and life force. T'ai Chi or T'ai Ji
translates to Grand/Ultimate Life Force. the nature of this life
force, or T'ai Chi, is to move to the nearest position of balance and
Understanding the theory of yin/yang (the opposites) is fundamental to
understanding T'ai Chi or T'ai Ji. "Yin Yang He T'ai Ji"
translates loosely into Yin Yang inspired T'ai Ji. When T'ai Chi moves,
the yin and yang separate. When T'ai Chi is still, the yin and
Yielding means not resisting, yet not succumbing. The practice of
T'ai Chi confers strength and flexibility.
In short, soft overcomes hard. There is no need to fight.
There are 5 main styles of T'ai Chi developed some 300 years ago:
Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao, and Sun. Specific movements from one style
can be identified in each of the other styles, but are performed with
different emphasis, making them difficult to distinguish. There
are also a number of subdivisions of each of the 5 major styles of T'ai
Chi, reflecting the fact that methods and teachings differ from one
school to another. The practice of any one of the 5 styles takes
years of dedicated study. It has been said that a lifetime's
experience can rarely give complete mastery of the art, although years
of practice certainly provide a great sense of accomplishment.
Classes at the Center for Meditative and Healing Arts are based on the
Yang style, long form, of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.