Tai chi ch'uan
T'ai chi ch'uan (Tai Chi), is an ancient martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. Tai chi classes can benefit the seasoned martial artist as well as people who have never trained before.
It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique, demonstration competitions, and longevity. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Tai Chi is known for being practiced at what most people categorize as slow, smooth movements.
Today, t'ai chi ch'uan has spread worldwide. Most modern styles of t'ai chi ch'uan trace their development to at least one of the five traditional schools: Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu, and Sun. At Elora Karate Dojo, we practice two main forms: The 5 Elements set and the 36 Postures (known as the Short Set).
The study of t'ai chi ch'uan primarily involves three aspects:
Health: An unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person may find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use t'ai chi ch'uan as a martial art. Health training, therefore, concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. For those focused on t'ai chi ch'uan's martial application, good physical fitness is an important step towards effective self-defense.
Meditation: The focus and calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of t'ai chi ch'uan is seen as necessary in maintaining optimum health (in the sense of relieving stress) and in application of the form as a soft style martial art.
Martial art: The ability to use t'ai chi ch'uan as a form of self-defense in combat is the test of a student's understanding of the art. T'ai chi ch'uan is the study of appropriate change in response to outside forces, the study of yielding and "sticking" to an incoming attack rather than attempting to meet it with opposing force. The use of t'ai chi ch'uan as a martial art is quite challenging and requires a great deal of training.