What you need to know about Tai Chi & Qi Gong
The Tai Chi back story.
Today Tai Chi has spread worldwide. It’s the highest participated martial art in the world with over half a billion practitioners. Most modern styles of Tai Chi trace their development to at least one of the five traditional families: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu and Sun. The creator of Tai Chi is a subject of much argument and speculation however the oldest documented tradition is that of the Chen family that dates back to 1820.
Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices can be classified as martial, medical, or spiritual. All styles have three things in common; they all involve a posture, be it moving or stationary, breathing techniques and mental focus. Some practices increase the Qi whilst others circulate it. You can use it to cleanse and heal the body, store or emit Qi to help heal others. Practices vary from the soft internal styles such as Tai Chi; to the external, vigorous styles such as Kung Fu. However, the slow gentle movements of most Tai Chi and Qi Gong forms can be easily adapted, even for the physically challenged and can be practiced by all age groups.
What does Tai Chi mean?
The Chinese characters for T’ai Chi Ch’uan can be translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Force’.
Firstly, let’s take the notion of ‘Supreme Ultimate’, which is often associated with the old-age Chinese concept of Yin-Yang, the belief that one can see a dynamic duality, such as male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding etc., in all things.
The second part ‘Force’, or more literally ‘fist’, can be thought of as the means or ways of achieving Yin-Yang or ‘Supreme Ultimate’ discipline.
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong is an ancient Chinese health care system that integrates physical postures, breathing techniques and focused intention.
The word Qi Gong is made up of two Chinese words. Qi is pronounced “chi” and is usually translated to mean the life force or vital-energy that flows through all things in the universe. The second word, Gong, pronounced “kung”, means accomplishment or skill that is cultivated through steady practice. Together, Qi Gong means “cultivating energy” and is a system practiced for health maintenance, healing, increasing vitality and explosiveness.
How can I benefit from Tai Chi and Qi Gong training?
The gentle, rhythmic movements of Tai Chi and Qi Gong reduces stress, builds stamina, increases vitality and enhances the immune system. It has also been found to improve cardiovascular, respiratory, circulatory and the digestive functions.
Many studies have proven that Tai Chi and Qi Gong significantly increased psychological well being including reduction of stress, anxiety and depression. The fundamental aim of Tai Chi and Qi Gong is to train your mind and body to foster the circulation of ‘Chi’ (air/breath/force) within the body. By doing so the health and vitality of yourself are immensely enhanced. This ‘Chi’ circulates in patterns that are closely related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts. The benefits are not just physical but mental as well.
How long will it take me to feel a real effect by training Tai Chi and Qi Gong?
That really depends on you and how serious you take your training. Like the above meaning, “Gong” is a skill which is cultivated through steady practice and dedication. Tai Chi and Qi Gong at first can be picked up quite quickly, you can take away a lot early on and feel a real effect in just one session. You’ll study a wide variety of Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices that vary from the simple internal forms to the more complex and challenging external styles.
What is Tai Chi City founder Imad Saleh’s opinion of Tai Chi?
“I have studied many great styles under great masters but nothing really matches Tai Chi and Qi Gong when it comes to martial arts and Kung Fu training. When I’m training in slow motion, focusing solely on my technique and breathing I can honestly say this is the only time I feel a real connection with my soul, my body and everything around me. Hence the name ‘The Supreme Ultimate Force’.”
– Imad Saleh