The History Of Tai Chi

By Yoshi Kundagawa

I've got something pretty miraculous to tell you about. I found out about this awesome way of balancing your mind and body. It is like nothing I have ever seen before. Itís called Tai Chi and finding out about it changed my life. And for the better I can tell you. Practicing this specialized form of martial arts has given me a sense of well-being and calmness I never thought possible.

This is considered an internal martial arts, so if you think it is nothing but silly fighting stances and guys talking without their lips moving like in the kung fu movies, think again. It is not like that. Tai Chi is different, much different and I found it fascinating and very helpful with my stress.

But first, I will tell you a bit of the background of Tai Chi. The practice of tai Chi can trace its way back for hundreds of years but most modern schools date back to around 1820 and the Chen family. They were the experts and I can tell you they really knew their stuff. Tai Chi is all about relaxation and finding a balance within yourself. It uses slow motion moves that I found myself enjoying a great deal. I wish I could go back in time and train with the Chen family! They used it mainly for a type of therapy to assist in health and longevity. Think of it as a moving kind of meditation.

There are some basic concepts of Tai Chi that you should know about. Understanding that many considered it a form of meditation has kept it fun and exciting for me. Not only am I getting a good work out in by moving and tensing my muscles, but I am also conditioning my mind by concentrating on my breathing and balance. It is such a great combination it makes me come back to it, even look forward to practicing it, every day.

So an important precept is the idea that Tai Chi is used for health maintenance. If you are unhealthy in your body or even your head, it is difficult to stand there patiently doing any of these movements. I know for myself I felt uncomfortable going through the motions at first. I wanted to do something more! I felt constricted but that is the whole point. You have to center yourself before you can relax.

Another thing Tai Chi does well is the internal act of meditation. By aligning your body and mind as one, it gets real easy to dive into a really neat kind of meditation. I found myself getting deeper and deeper within my mind and dealt with stress better.

The ancient practitioners also knew that Tai Chi would be a great way for beginners to get into martial arts. It may not be the fancy fighting kind of stuff you may be familiar with, but for me it has grown into a devotional form of exercise I canít get enough of.

About the Author:

Yoshi I Kundagawa is a freelance journalist. He covers the mixed martial arts industry. For a free report on tai chi history visit his blog.

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