What we call T’ai Chi Ch’uan, or traditional Chinese T’ai Chi, is likely millennia old. The elements that it consists of date back at least to the time of Lao Tzu’s, the founder of Taoism. It started to be formalized during the Sung Dynasty by a famous figure named Chang San Feng who is credited with developing the principles and the 13 postures upon which T’ai Chi is based. Whether he was an actual person or mythical figure continues to be debated. These postures were connected in a form which was performed without breaks and the art he developed used softness and internal power to overcome brute force. Originally known was Chang Chuan, or long boxing, after the endless flow of the Changjiang (Yangtse River) the forms began to take their current arrangement around 150-200 years ago when several families developed what have become known as the traditional family styles. Somewhere in that period the art became known as T’ai Chi Ch’uan or Supreme Ultimate Fist (or Boxing) in which the basic concept that a force of just 4 ounces deflects 1,000 pounds was formulated.
Originally developed as a martial art and longevity exercise, in the early 20th century the health benefits were more prominently recognized and it took on a new character as a preventative medicine and wellness exercise. It has been called the ultimate low-impact exercise, an exercise that can be done by anyone who can walk. It has been shown to improve cardiovascular endurance as well as to improve balance, strength, and posture. An Australian study found that it can have the same effect as a brisk walk on heart rate, blood pressure, and stress hormone levels. With the head held as if suspended from above, it tends to greatly improve the practitioner’s balance and posture. It can also enhance coordination in unique and subtle ways. Due to its development and stimulation of internal energy, better known as chi, it tends to keep the practitioner’s energy system and profile balanced and operating at its optimal best. It is a mindful practice and has been called moving meditation, centering the practitioner emotionally and relieving many of the stressful reactions to daily living.
Mondays, 3:15PM – 4:30PM
The Learning Center at Red Willow
Free for veterans
This course is free for all veterans.
If this is your first time joining us, please plan to arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the start of class.