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Home >> Yangshuo >> Yangshuo Attractions >> Tai Chi tourist information

Tai Chi

Tai Chi, YangshuoTai Chi is a Chinese martial art that is primarily practiced for its health benefits, including a means for dealing with tension and stress. Among the martial arts, there are two basic types: the hard martial arts and the soft martial arts. The latter are also called internal arts. Examples of the hard martial arts are karate and kung fu (or wushu). Examples of the soft martial arts are ba gua and tai chi.

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 mellennium b.c. with the practice of yoga in ancient India. In China yoga came to be developed into what is called Saolin 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 course in YangshuoTai 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 course is available in Yangshuo in the morning or in the afternoon.


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