What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a Chinese health and meditation exercise that helps improve balance, while also being an effective martial art. As you practice this soft style kung fu you learn to breathe deeply while focusing on body mechanics. As you perform the slow movements, the tai chi form; as you will begin to feel calm and relaxed.

Regular practice, promotes mental and physical focus whether you practice tai chi as a martial art or if you are just interested in your body movements and balance. The tai chi form can be practiced on many levels for many reasons:

  1. a balance exercise
  2. a meditation exercise to reduce stress
  3. pushing hands for flexibility
  4. as a soft style martial art


To get the most benefit from practicing he tai chi form. it should be practiced for just ten minutes daily . With consistent practice, the movements become without conscious effort, Wikipedia refers to this as this muscle memory. As the practice becomes incorporated in to your daily routine the movements will become relaxed and meditative. You focus on body movement and keeps your mind focused away from daily thoughts, problems, and tasks. That’s comforting.

A by-product of practicing the tai form is stress reduction. and it is believed that less stress promotes a healthier lifestyle.

As with any physical exercise or sport, regular practice is essential. To be disciplined is how to get the most benefit.


Depending on your natural ability and how often you practice it usually takes between three and six months to learn the basic Yang style tai chi form. This is the form that is practiced by Grandmaster Chen Man Ching and his disciple Grandmaster William C.C. Chen.

Within weeks you can feel secure with the movements. as it will lead to increased  energy level, better balance and breathe control. This learned and controlled body movement is important for a martial artist as it is if you are lifting a heavy suitcase or opening a large door…..tai chi teaches how to use your body. As a martial artist your punches and kicks will be delivered  with precision and power as the strikes and kicks have become natural  movements. The movement of the forms become automatic, just as a piano player practices the scales.

When practiced regularly , the tai chi movements have no wasted moves and, no waste of  energy. If your muscles are tense it slows movement and becomes restrictive. Punching and kicking loses power and effectiveness if muscles are tense. The blow or strike must be able to channel your body power. The Chinese call this power or energy “chi”. The  repetition of the forms daily trains the body to move, as your body learns to move efficiently in order to deliver blows accurately and to neutralize other’s attacks. Benefits are both physical and emotional; in both areas  better balance leads to more productive performance.

Tai Chi is thought of as an “Ultimate Self-defense”: … when the forms are practiced diligently the self-defense applications become automatic. However, you really have to get sparring experience to prevent tensing and losing effectiveness. If you tense you will slow down. the first time you get punched ….particularly in the head, it will become hard to be relaxed and efficient with a block and counter attack.

When you are not  used to getting hit it’s natural to tense up. Once that happens you are the loser. Sparring experience is needed to be effective  in a fight. The only way to be able to take a punch…..is to have actual fighting experience. You have to train to be flexible enough to duck.


Most martial artists cam deliver a power punch. The “trick” is to deliver the punch while you are being attacked!

After the forms are learned if you are interested in tai chi as a martial art, it is time to push hands, two opponents stand facing each other striking pulling or pushing their opponent. The goal is to cause the other to lose balance. Punching hands it a great way for a tai chi student to enhance their balance while using the body in a  way similar to its use doing the movements. Pushing hands exercises, trains you to move in a way that you would move if you were blocking a blow or delivering a blow.

Self-defense movements, requires you to be relaxed to be effective. Only if you’re not aftraid of getting hit can you effectively defend yourself.

Tai chi forms incorporates yielding or neutralizing and attach. Your opponent’s speed and power determines your speed and force. Effectively it is as though he turns his power or punch into your power and your blow. Pushing hands exercise is the next stage after learning the tai chi form; it teaches you to move and to avoid a push or, later, to avoid a punch or kick.  Blows are neutralized so you do not match your power against an attack; you can then neutralize the power of a stronger opponent.

As you neutralize the force of you punch is fueled by an attacker’s blow. Think of a car that crashes into a parked car compared to the damage two cars that are driving head on into against each other!
The tai chi form is easy to learn but mastered only after disciplined practice

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