Tai Chi

Topics: Qi, Taoism, Yin and yang Pages: 2 (472 words) Published: April 22, 2011
Tai Chi is an ancient form of body movement involving slow, effortless calming exercises. Components of this controlled martial art form include breath control, visual and mental concentration, and balancing movements. Tai Chi is sometimes represented by the yin yang symbol, meaning two polar opposite forces are in an interpenetrating balancing relationship. The action is based on unity within all opposites, stillness within activity (empty-full, hard-soft, and positive-negative). The goal of this art form is to cultivate and circulate the body’s vital energy. “Tai” when translated from Chinese means big or great, while “chi means energy. Tai Chi is based on a sequence of movements called “form”. Health benefits of Tai Chi include: improved posture, increased circulation, hastened healing, increased metabolism, improved neuromuscular function, and increased relaxation. History

There are a variety of different beliefs regarding the origin of Tai Chi. Most people believe that it began around the 12th century in China. There was a man, Chang San Fang, who kept having this dream night after night. It was a contest between two creatures, a snake and a crane. The snake came up from the earth and the crane flew down from a tree. They got into a struggle over a morsel of food. In this dream, which occurred night after night, there was never a victorious winner. Instead the creatures were evenly matched, a representation of opposites in harmony, similar to the yin and yang in nature. Yin is cool, negative, winter, while yang is warm, positive, summer. Although the history of Tai Chi is pretty well accepted, it is by no means certain. A similar exercise system appeared in cave paintings and ancient medical references as early as 3000 BC. Like many sciences practiced by the Chinese (i.e. acupuncture), Tai Chi probably has its real roots even before the days of recorded history. Today, Tai Chi has spread far from China, reaching every corner of this world. A primary reason...
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