by Grandmaster William CC Chen

Tai Chi Chuan is a series of soft, slow and effortless movements that help relieve our nervous and muscular tension. It lubricates our joints and promotes automatic body alignment for a solid center of gravity, animating our daily activities and enhancing the ability of athletes to have quick physical action and reflexes in their competitions.

In Tai Chi stepping, the soft arch of the soles rooting into the floor functions as a suction, which creates a strong traction against the ground and promotes a solid foundation for action. It is very important to the martial artist, tennis player and golfer to have a nice pair of sneakers with excellent traction when they are in competition. A powerful action is required for a strong base. That is action against traction.

The relaxation of the movements reduces perceived stress and promotes peaceful feelings which nurture the human soul. The desire to achieve positive feelings and abandon negative feelings is a primary motivation. Positive feelings amplify the energy qi (), inflating the fingers and expanding to the base of the toes to form a shape, creating the Tai Chi posture.

Relaxing mind and body releases the ribcage muscles, sinks the diaphragm, floats both triceps and slightly opens the armpits. This enlarges the interior torso volume and allows full inflation and deflation of the lungs, filling with more qi energy to keep the organs healthy.

The floating energy qi mixing with oxygen-enriched blood (氣血) around the organs inside the torso cleans and nurtures them, resembling to the advanced furniture cleaner. It flushes out any contamination from the organs and nourishes them to help them function like new. Keeping the inner organs and cells in tiptop-shape is essential to our quality of life, with the potential 特to transform a miserable sick person into a happy and healthy one.

Diaphragmatic breathing synchronized with the slow movements gives us additional time to completely exhale, creating more room for the incoming oxygen. At the same time, the gentle flowing movements maintain the softness of the muscle tissue wrapped around arteries, which widens and expands the blood vessels to facilitate the full-flow of the qi and oxygen-enriched blood throughout the cardiovascular system (氣血疏通).

Our organs are the mechanical parts of the human machine. Our torso is the most important engine compartment that requires sufficient space to improve circulation. It is like the automobile compartment that needs space for ventilation and maintenance, which extends the automobile’s life.

The nature of worrying, fear and sadness associated with stress leads our ribcage muscles to contract. This drives the diaphragm up and collapses both triceps against the ribcage, reducing the inner volume of the torso.   The result is poor circulation for the organs and consequent inadequate function.

This inner energy qi flowing exercise is comparable to a panacea for our living organs and cells, more powerful than any drug in its ability to rejuvenate and repair them. The peaceful slow motion of movements is an outstanding remedy for reducing symptoms of anxiety and mental disorders.

The movements of Tai Chi Chuan for combat training is done in slow motion, eliminating mistakes and bad habits and perfecting body mechanical proficiency. It is similar to that of a beginner typist. Slow and deliberate motion training conserves energy and gets the job done well. It is also an excellent daily work out for Western boxers or for practitioners of any other martial art or sport.

The gentle decreasing and increasing pressurized (qi) force results in the slow motion of the movements, avoiding excessive muscle contraction.   As a martial artist in action, discharging the blasting explosive (qi) force into the fingers to deliver the knuckles for a quick punch requires loose arm muscles.

The pressurized (qi) force of the fingers moves the palms against the opposing base of the toes to form the Tai Chi postures, while the physical arm muscles remain loose or relaxed. The more relaxed the arm muscles, the quicker a punch can be delivered (能鬆能快).   Activating the inner explosive (qi) force for action without contracting muscle tension is the objective of Tai Chi Chuan.

Tai Chi Chuan is one of the greatest martial arts, and it is just as wonderful for physical or psychological fitness. It is suitable for all people, young or old, women or men. There is no required equipment or need for a big space, making it easier for senior citizens to locate a place to practice the slow movements of this versatile art.

Tai Chi exercise is known as one of the finest low-risk forms of physical fitness. There are millions and millions people around the world who are enjoying the significant health benefits of daily practice, helping to reduce depression and promote the feeling of serenity. The happy result is increased optimism and enhanced mental, physical and spiritual well-being.

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