Tai Chi Chuan (translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Force’) is one of the world’s most known martial art disciplines. The Tai Chi Symbol is often represented through the Yin Yang Symbol and there is a right reason.
Tai Chi has influences that go back to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries. According to some documents and beliefs Tai Chi was created or passed through Taoist monk known as Zhang Sanfeng in the early 13th century. We can all see some part of this old Chinese fighting technique concepts in the Hollywood movies with a martial art theme. The truth is that Tai Chi Chuan, known simply as Tai Chi is a fighting and mediation movement’s concept often imitating the movements of some animals (horse, tiger, monkey etc.). The symbolic meaning of Tai Chi Chuan (the Chinese characters used for the name) is “Supreme Ultimate Force” or it can be translated as “Supreme Ultimate Fist”.
There are five styles of Tai Chi, that are different from each other by their own separate methods and principles:
This is the oldest parent form of the five traditional family styles. Some Chinese documents suggests that this style is practiced for more than a 2,000 years. However, the history of Tai Chi is not clear and there are more than one version of its origin.
This style is the most popular and widely practiced Tai Chi style throughout the world as it’s known for the fluid and slow motion movements. There are different groups of movements that have funny names like “Fair Lady Works the Shuttles”, “Needle at Sea Bottom”, and “Grasping the Sparrows Tail”. This is probably the most therapeutic form of Tai Chi.
Even evolutionary, this is the third style and the fifth in popularity.
This is the second most popular of the five family styles of Tai Chi Chuan.
This style demands the most physical effort of all Tai Chi styles. This is the most lethal style of them all (by the first impression). There is the leaping, crouching, high kick movements, difficult turnings, you get the point.
Tai Chi represents a martial art technique that resembles yoga in movement. It is a kind of meditation in motion and relives from stress and anxiety.
Originally this martial art discipline was developed as a self-defense technique. During time (especially in the west culture) this ancient Chinese fighting style is gracefully adapted as a form of exercise that is used/adapted for stress and anxiety reduction, as for variety of other health conditions. Tai Chi through its different styles promotes gentle physical exercise and stretching, breathing control and an inner peace (through meditation and meditative movements). Typically, Tai Chi tries to achieve the state where each posture flows into the next without pause, ensuring that your body is in constant motion, and that is the very basics of the meditative movements.
There is no age limit nether there is gender limit. Everyone can practice Tai Chi. Even pregnant women, people with joint problems, spine problems and back pain, people healed from fractures etc. It’s healthy, funny and you can brag to your friends about learning Kung Fu.
Consult with your doctor/clinician before practicing Tai Chi, as for some health states it might be recommended modification or avoidance of certain postures.
Here is a brief illustration of this ancient and famous martial art/meditation technique