WHAT IS T'AI CHI CH'UAN?

IU ACADEMIC TAI CHI CH'UAN
E148 INTRODUCTION 

E248 INTERMEDIATE

E348 T'UI SHOU (Push Hands) 

E448 TCC SWORD

E448 TCC ADVANCED

INSTR CHARLES PEARCE

SCHEDULE OF WORKSHOPS
 

IU MARTIAL ARTS
IU TAIJIQUAN CLUB

IU MARTIAL ARTS PROGRAM

HPER ELECTIVE PROGRAM

SCHOOL OF HPER

DEPT OF KINESIOLOGY

Wm CC CHEN'S T'AI CHI CH'UAN

T'AI CHI & MARTIAL ARTS


What is T'ai Chi Ch'uan?

T'ai Chi Ch'uan is one of the most highly regarded systems of self-defense in China. The history of this martial art dates back about a thousand years to the Song Dynasty. It was developed by a Taoist monk, Chang San-fung, who taught meditation and was also a master of hard style martial art. However, Chang San-fung, was not satisfied with the hard style which he was teaching to his disciples. The inspiration for a new system came to him while watching a battle between a crane and a snake. Chang was impressed by the snake's flexibility which enabled it to elude the bird's attacks, Chang then recalled Lao Tzu's philosophy, "the soft can overcome the hard." He realized then that he had just witnessed a demonstration of this philosophy in the battle between the bird and the snake. Chang created a new system of self-defense based on this philosophy. The result was T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

For centuries, people have found the martial art, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, to also be a healthy, adaptive and entertaining activity. Pronounced TIE JEE CHWAHN, this slow motion exercise simultaneously develops both mental and physical skills. Practiced by people at all levels of fitness, it is enjoyed by those with disabilities and the elderly, as well as professional and amateur athletes.

T’ai Chi Ch’uan principles of movement can be applied to any human activity. T’ai Chi Ch’uan body mechanics decrease the likelihood of injury and improve the efficiency of activities such as:

  • repetitive movement in occupations
  • lifting and moving heavy objects
  • posture and carriage
  • athletics (hitting and throwing)


Because T'ai Chi Ch'uan fully utilizes both the mind and the body, it is an efficient and effective brain body conditioning exercise. T'ai Chi Ch'uan improves body mechanics, muscle control and attentional skills. With the practice of one activity, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, players improve:

  • focus and concentration
  • stress and anxiety control
  • baseline anxiety levels
  • overall fitness levels
  • circulation
  • respiration
  • balance
  • strength
  • flexibility
     
T'ai Chi Ch'uan is especially effective as a cross-training technique for successful performance of activities in which mental skills are as important as physical skills. In the United States, it is used for sports such as tennis and golf, and for vocal and instrumental music practice and performance. Although T'ai Chi Ch'uan is an art that requires dedicated practice to develop true proficiency, even beginners report greater physical awareness, relaxation, balance and increased strength early in their practice.

Appreciation of brain-body training is growing rapidly in Europe and the United States. And T'ai Chi Ch'uan, a truly universal exercise, is becoming the technique of choice for more and more Westerners concerned with fitness and performance. 

"Westerners, viewing T'ai Chi Ch'uan for the first time (the word ch'uan means fist), are often unable to understand how the slow, ballet-like movements can be used for self-defense. Compared to many of the so-called hard systems of self-defense, T'ai Chi Ch'uan is certainly less spectacular in appearance, but appearances, as everyone knows, are deceiving. And T'ai Chi Ch'uan, in the hands of an expert, is more than sufficient for the handling of any self-defense situation. By learning to relax the entire body, the T'ai Chi Ch'uan fighter develops a flexibility that enables him to punch or kick with tremendous speed. In addition, by practicing "push-hands" (T’ui-shou), he develops a kind of muscular sensitivity which makes it possible for him to predict and anticipate his opponent's attack."

 excerpted from William C.C. Chen's Tai Chi Chuan, 1973 edition

This page was last updated 10/03/03
URL: http://www.indiana.edu/~taichi/
Contact: cpearce@indiana.edu 
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