"Tai chi does not mean oriental wisdom or something exotic. It is the wisdom of your own senses, your own mind and body together as one process."
― Chungliang Al Huang
If the Orient hadn't come up with these amazing forms of martial art, the whole world would have been deprived of some methods of exercise and workout for the mind as well as the body, right? Thanks to them, we have been introduced to fascinating martial art forms such as kung fu, karate, and of course, the legendary tai chi.
Tai chi is a blend of both hard as well as soft martial art techniques. However, even if it is a martial art, it is mostly practiced for a fit body and a calm mind.
As a beginner, you ought to know the underlying philosophy of this art. If one uses hardness to obstruct or block a violent force, injuries to some extent are inevitable. Hence, in the beginning, students are taught to receive an incoming force with softness and a relaxed posture while following the motion and remaining in contact with the force instead of fighting it. This has to be done till the force of attack is exhausted or redirected.
Are you ready for some action now?
▣ To start with, stand with your feet apart. The knees should be slightly bent, and your back should be straight.
▣ Your eyes must be focused straight ahead, and your chin should be tucked down a little bit.
▣ Raise your hands from your waist length, and extend them in front of you at the shoulder level.
▣ They should be perpendicular to the ground, with the palms facing forward.
▣ Lift your hands up slowly and bring them close to your heart. Both the palms must face each other during this movement, resembling an action as if you are attempting to squeeze a ball of energy.
▣ Drop your knees slightly, and after your hands cover the heart, stay in that position for as long as you comfortably can.
▣ Once you start feeling tired, do a rewind of your arm movements and get back gradually to the original standing position.
The next step is to get down to business and check out some elaborate moves. These are Ward Off, Roll Back, and Single Whip.
▣ Start off where you ended the palm move.
▣ Now raise your right leg till the level of your knees and step with the same foot in the same direction (right).
▣ Simultaneously, extend your hands to the right. At this juncture, your right palm should face your chest and the left should be pointing down, with the fingers pointing to the right.
After you are done with these steps, you need to be in the same position for the next move, that is, Roll Back.
▣ You are now in the last position of the earlier move.
▣ Roll your right hand over while pulling your weight back.
▣ Bring your hands together, and press and push towards the right.
▣ From this step, you move on to Single whip.
▣ For the single whip, move your hands across the body until your right hand does not come back to the right side. At the same time, make a crane head with the fingers, while lifting your left leg.
▣ Classes have a very important means of concluding the exercises. Apparently, since you have explored your energy channels, they have to be closed to keep a balanced mind and body. So, the hands are raised from your waist to the sides, above your head. Follow that by bringing the palms down and bending the knees.
These were the most fundamental moves when it comes to tai chi. There are a host of classes that will teach you everything, if you want to seriously pursue it. I end my martial arts session here. All the best!
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a licensed instructor.