I will be posting notes and musings dealing with chiropractic, martial arts and health. My Chiropractic office is Glendale Chiro Care located at 1620 Victory Blvd., Glendale, CA 91201. Office phone is (818) 244-7600 or (818) CHIRO-00.
I teach Tai Chi classes at Golden Monkey Healing Studio located at 13259 Moorpark, CA 91423. Classes are held every Tuesday from 7 pm to 8 pm. Beginners are welcome. For more information please call
(818) 331-9107.

Yours in peace and health.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tai Chi Chuan-Ancient Martial Art of China

Tai Chi Chuan means Grand/Supreme Ultimate Fist/Boxing or Fist of the Mind Boxing.

Tai Chi utilizes the mind to develop your internal powers to create this ancient exercise system for health and self-defense.

The ancient Chinese developed Tai Chi for combat, to save their lives. Your best chance to survive is to fine tune your body to create optimum health and to use this expression to defeat any opponent. Tai Chi besides provides fighting skills, it also generates optimum health to increase survival probability by generating and circulating the internally created energy. This energy can be used to heal, for optimum health, to fight if you need to defend yourself and feel good.

There are many different styles of Tai Chi which are named after the family that created the style. Chen family style is the original style and Yang, Sun, Wu, and Wudang are offshoots of the original Chen style, but the principles are the same.

Tai Chi is only a form when expressed properly can be used for combat to save your life. You do not fight in slow motion, but you fine tune the body to flow with whatever speed the situation warrants. The form is a tool to produce a well oiled, balanced, coordinated naturally moving machine by utilizing the breath and the mind.
Clear your mind and body of stress, tension and energize and relax yourself naturally.
Learn the secrets of Kung Fu masters.

In ancient times the beginning students didn’t start with the form. Students practiced special standing meditation postures and breathing exercises before learning anything else. Each training session began with an hour of standing meditation to build up chi. Only after sufficiently developed did they start learning Tai Chi’s martial stances. They included meditation, breathing and martial stances. This lasted 2 to 3 years before tai chi form position was taught. Each posture was separately taught and they were finally linked together. Hold each posture for a long time. Chi gong means chi development and is as simple as meditation and breathing exercises

Students learn to relax their minds and breathe evenly. Blood circulation starts flowing evenly. This corresponds with the tai chi theory of silence produces action.

1) Breathing exercises. These include the tai chi form, where the body slowly moves. Proper breathing is a must for relaxation, just as relaxation is critical for good breathing practice.
2) What makes tai chi so beneficial for chi development? The answer lies in tai chi’s most important principles-relaxation and calmness. These are the keys to chi development.
3) Most people don’t realize that under tension or stress, they exhale longer than they inhale. If they are not relaxed while practicing tai chi, their shoulders tense and their breathing rises, throwing off the timing and smoothness of their form. Tai chi breathing exercises teach students to inhale and exhale at the same rate.
4) Without chi development, tai chi would be just another external martial art or exercise. Chi development comes from passive meditation and stance training. It must also include chi and physical activity, gained form forms practice and breathing exercises. Coordination and flow of hands, fine tuning the musculature creating more sensitivity and increased reflexes. Opening and closing the joints.

Tai chi form and applications—Tai Chi is a scientific martial art. If you don’t follow the principles, the result is poor tai chi.

Each principle is structured around precise body actions, incorporating different angles and directions. There is no question that good Tai chi comes through hard work and correct practice. If you do not correctly practice the form, you will never reach your full potential in tai chi.

The external appearance of tai chi form techniques, postures and footwork must be correct. This external appearance is how you position your arms and legs when you move. As a rule, correct form is also nice-looking form, but with tai chi there’s more to it than just beauty.

Once you learn the form and memorize its sequence, you must work on keeping five parts of your body down. From top to bottom, those five areas are the shoulders, chest, elbows, hips and back heel.

1) 1. Shoulders-always down and relaxed. When your shoulders are raised they cause your chest muscles to tense, making your breathing rise in the chest cavity. For martial art purposes, people with tense, raised shoulders are easily thrown off balance, because their bodies are too stiff. When you shoulders are tense, your striking energy is broken at the shoulder joint. This seriously restricts your power and force.

2) Elbows-down, it elbows are raised sideways; any striking or defending arm leverage is weak and energy is lost. Also raised elbows also make your shoulders stiff and chest muscles tense, causing you to breathe high in the chest.

3) Chest---relaxes and slightly concave. Correct breathing is another reason for keeping your chest muscles relaxed. Most people only use the upper third of their lung capacity when they breathe. The accepted goal for both martial arts and health is to use your full lung capacity and breathe deeply into the lower abdomen. To that end, you cannot have tense chest muscles and expect to breathe with your entire lung capacity. When you only breathe in the upper part of your chest, your upper body is too heavy and your lower extremities are too light, which throw you off balance. Also breathing too high in the chest causes the heel of you back to come off the ground. This makes it easy for people to pull or push you off balance
4) Hips and waist-No matter what style of tai chi you practice; your hips should always be tucked, with your tailbone turned upward. If your butt sticks out to the rear, your back is swayed and there is no body connection. This leads to little power and balance. Waist relaxed and flexible. A flexible waist makes your lower body foundation stronger by letting you position your feet in their strongest natural position.

5) Back Foot—when practicing tai chi, your back foot and heel must remain flat on the ground. A common mistake with tai chi practitioners is turning the back foot’s heel or pulling the side of the foot off the ground. Your feet must be flat before they are rooted and stable.

6) Now that you know the five parts of your body to keep down, here are a few more pointers on correct tai chi forms:

1. head-.eye position look straight and eyes follow your hand’s direction.
2.body level=loose power
3.timing(all movements in tai chi like pulling a silk thread form a cocoon-soft and even-being careful not to break the thread with jerky movements
4.. Weight shifting=if done correctly, your moving steps are similar to a cat. A cat steps so lightly, it doesn’t make sound. When you move the same way-light and relaxed-you advance and retreat easily and quickly in fighting situations.

Daily practice is essential for results and results will produce greater mental clarity, memory, concentration, relax and stretch all the joints, ligaments, tendons and muscles.

Samurai maxim- A man who has mastered an art reveals it in his every action.

Training is a process of self-discovery, modifying your personality to make yourself healthier, better balanced and more efficient.

Learning any art takes time and patience. Achieve it slowly. To keep moving and exercising you is important. The core of this art is the focus on your health.

Be Natural means to learn or do things without too much thought.

Tai Chi aligns the spine and improves posture. Internal school of Tai Chi calls the spine “the dragon bone or the “dragon” BECAUSE IT IS THE SOURCE OF ONE’S MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL STRENGTH.
Your spinal alignment transforms the internal energy from bottom to top.
Correct posture is of fundamental importance, not only in Tai chi movement, but also for individual health. A relaxed, straight spine is beneficial for health.

You can cultivate gracefulness in your life by practicing the forms.
Zen saying: “Change your body and the mind will follow”

Class Exercises to develop Tai Chi Mind, Body and Spirit:

1) Opening energy 5 exercises
2) Finger, wrist, elbow, shoulder, waist twists, neck, knees, waist stretching and body loosening exercises
3) Coiling arms exercises
4) Chi Gong breathing set
5) Tai Chi Chi Gong breath and movement exercises
6) Form
7) Tai Chi Walking exercise
8) Tai Chi Circling arms exercises
9) Push Hand exercises
10) Martial art applications of Tai Chi movements
11) Advanced Chi Gong, Bagua, I Chuan exercises