Tai Chi Chuan and Yin Yang Principles
Tai Chi Chuan is an art that embraces the mind, body and soul and is a practice that is most effective for the health of mind and body ⚕️.
In the practice of Tai Chi Chuan there is an alternation of movements that will promote the deployment of Yin and Yang energies.
This deployment of energies allows the vital energy in all our meridians to be set in motion, releasing all blockages and different crystallizations along the way.
Let's discover in detail the practice of Tai Chi Chuan and the principles of Yin Yang in this martial art...
1) What is Tai Chi ?
Tai Chi, Taijiquan or Tai Chi Chuan, all these names refer to the same Chinese term 太極拳 which means "Supreme ultimate boxing” 🥊.
Tai Chi is derived from Chinese martial arts and is a body-centered discipline that is part of the energy exercises of traditional Chinese medicine.
Tai Chi is a global energy gymnastics which consists in performing a set of continuous and circular movements executed slowly and precisely in a pre-established order.
This global energetic gymnastics is declined in several styles: some schools mainly aim at self-awareness through an inner approach, while others favor fighting techniques.
👉🏻However, most schools have abandoned their martial intent in favor of the development of flexibility and the awakening of Qi.
In order to understand what Tai Chi is, it is necessary to know that it forms, with Qi Gong, one of the 5 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The other 4 branches are acupuncture, Chinese dietetics, Chinese pharmacopoeia (herbal medicine) and Tui Na massage.
Tai Chi must therefore be approached in the broader context of TCM and is above all an art of living.
🤚🏻 Do you practice Tai Chi ? You will love this pair of Yin Yang Shoes specially designed for Chinese martial arts !
A. Health Benefits of Tai Chi
Many studies report on the benefits of practicing Tai Chi for a variety of conditions.
However, studies often show inconsistencies, insufficient numbers of participants, and various methodological shortcomings.
- Reduce the risk of falling and improve the balance of elderly people
- Help control hypertension and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- To improve the functional abilities of women who have overcome breast cancer.
- Improving sleep
- Improve aerobic capacity
B. The 5 Family Styles of Tai Chi
Tai Chi Chuan it is part of the great family of ancient Chinese Boxing like Wushu, Wing chun or more generically all forms of Kung Fu.
🖐🏻 There are 5 major styles of Tai Chi Chuan which are the Yang, Chen, Wu, Wuhao and Sun styles.
The names of the styles are actually the surnames of the creators.
- Yang: Yang style is the most popular style of Tai Chi. It privileges the ample movements and the vertical circles. The postures with wide bases facilitate anchoring. It is nevertheless rather static. This easy style is suitable for beginners.
- Chen: The Chen style of Tai Chi is the oldest. This more mobile style is nevertheless more demanding on the physical level. Its lower postures are more demanding on the legs. Its changes of rhythm and its light destructuring and restructuring give it a particular relief.
- Wu: The Wu style of Tai Chi derives from the Yang style. Its ample movements prioritize horizontal circles. It is recognizable by certain postures leaning forward or to the side. A judicious use of the "exits and resumptions of axis" facilitate in particular the circulation of the breath in the members.
- Wuhao: The Wuhao style of Tai Chi develops dense and compact movements. Changes of direction are therefore easy. This style thus proposes an intelligent use of the levers of the body. Most of the classical texts of Tai Chi come from this family. We also owe them the name "Tai Chi chuan".
- Sun: The Sun style is, for many experts, the most accomplished style of Tai Chi. The Sun style is a synthesis of the three internal arts. Its creator, also a great scholar, had acquired a great mastery in xingyiquan first, then in baguazhang and finally in Tai Chi Chuan (Wuhao style). A great mobility and a subtle lightness emanates from this style very little taught.
2) History of Tai Chi
🇨🇳 Over the centuries, Chinese culture has developed a strong martial tradition.
Tai Chi was originally a fighting technique transmitted orally, from master to student, in the greatest secrecy within peasant families.
Its origin remains difficult to determine, however, several authors attribute to Zhang Sanfeng, a Chinese monk who lived in the 16th century (or perhaps the 12th century), the creation of the 13 basic Tai Chi postures.
🐍 He is said to have been inspired by a fight between a bird and a snake to design the sequences. The snake would have triumphed thanks to its slowness, its flexibility and its rounded movements which gave little hold to its opponent.
Over the years, the technique of Tai Chi has become much simpler and softer, although some masters have continued to transmit traditional martial notions (for example, the knowledge of deadly vital points 💀).
In 1976, with the reopening of universities in China, Tai Chi became a mass-accessible discipline taught in university physical education programs.
It has largely lost its energetic component (work of Qi). Today, millions of Chinese people practice Tai Chi daily, especially the elderly 👴🏻, but many practice it for inner development reasons, which go far beyond physical training. It was introduced in North America in the early 1970s.
3) Symbol of Tai Chi
☯ The symbol is called Taiji and represents two fishes, one black, the other white, the Yin and the Yang. The white fish is the Yang and the black fish is the Yin.
Each fish in its entity contains the "seed" of the other (the small round of opposite color in its center) and thus reminds us of the cyclic transformation of one into the other and their interdependence.
Looking at the symbol, you can see that the two fish turn clockwise. So with the Taiji symbol (or at least Yin Yang) we have the representation of universal polarity.
The exact translation of the word Taiji would be "the supreme peak" - it applies to the name Yin-Yang, it is integrated in Chinese philosophy. It is a picturesque way of differentiating between up and down, in and out, beginning and end, etc.
It is a picturesque way of making the difference between up and down, in and out, beginning and end, and so on.
4) Principles of Yin Yang in Tai Chi
The essence of Tai Chi lies in the search for balance between the two poles of energy, Yin, which comes from the earth, and Yang, which comes from the sky.
In this practice, it is essential to learn to slow down. Indeed, it is the extreme slowness of execution which makes it possible to detect blockages and to feel the energy current 🌀.
In addition, the awareness of the slow and precise transfer of the body weight from one leg to the other and the alternation of arms and legs perfectly concretize the Chinese thought based on the dynamic balance of the forces of Yin and Yang.
This practice also emphasizes the breathing which must be slow, deep and regular. As the practice progresses, the individual will have to coordinate his breathing with the execution of the movements .
"If someone wants to get somewhere by bicycle, they can't press both pedals at the same time without staying perfectly still. To progress, he must simultaneously press down one pedal and release the other one. Pressing is the result of releasing and each in turn is the cause of the other. When a gong fu practitioner has understood the Yin and Yang unit, he no longer fidgets unnecessarily, either gently (Yin) or firmly (Yang). He is content to do the right thing at the right time."
- Bruce Lee