My teacher demonstrating the Wu Style short form…
Taiji (or Taijiquan or Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chuan) is a Chinese ‘internal’ martial art. Today it is mostly practiced for its health benefits and it is estimated that 100 million Chinese practice it daily. It is most likely to have originated in the Chen village in the 19th century however, the internal practices that make it so unique and effective date from several thousand years ago.
Anyone, young or old, can practice taiji, from athletes, dancers and martial artists looking for a different way to work with their bodies to older people seeking to enhance their wellbeing, and everyone in between.
Taiji is practised as one continuous movement that moves slowly through a number of different postures. It emphasises deep relaxation and integration of the body and the mind. Over time correct practice of taiji gently unwinds tension and structural misalignment leading to improved health, energy levels and wellbeing. It can also be practised to address specific health problems. Harvard Medical School has done research into the benefits of Taiji and recently published an excellent book – The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi– that documents their findings.
Learning taiji does not require any special clothing or equipment, just a willingness to practice regularly and pay attention to ones internal state.