Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial art that is unique in its use of slow and graceful movements for fundamental training. Taiji is both an excellent health exercise and an effective martial arts system.
Meditation, deep relaxation, and breathing exercises are practiced during each class. Deep relaxation and stretching exercises before class help the student to increase the mind-body connection and become centered and sensitive to the energy patterns in life. Circular movements of all the joints encourage increased blood flow, thus promoting a feeling of well-being.
As an exercise prescription, it seems that Taiji has potential benefits for reduction of stress and reduction of tension and anxiety. Taiji is beneficial to important components of health fitness, such as cardiopulmonary function, strength and flexibility. Moreover, the exercise intensity of Taiji is approximate to the ventilatory threshold, which implies that Taiji is aerobic in nature. Studies showed an eight-week, low-intensity Taiji program was effective for reducing blood pressure.
Hospitals such as the INOVA group are now endorsing the benefits of Taiji and offer classes to patients who are recovering from various illnesses.
Ancient Chinese warriors and philosophers developed the concept of Taiji through intensive study of the world around them and the ebb and flow of natural and human affairs. Taiji principles describe practical approaches to solving problems in natural and human realms.
With constant focus on mind, spirit and body working as one throughout the exercises a great healing and strengthening will begin. The mental clarity that one receives from practice is priceless. The objectives of Taiji include harmony of mind, promotion of health and attainment of rejuvenation and longevity.
Taijiquan can be used effectively for self-defense and martial exercise. Because taijiquan does not rely on brute strength and avoids the use of force to overcome force in its techniques, it is particularly effective for smaller and older persons. Perhaps the most important benefit of understanding and practicing Taijiquan martial art is the effect it has on raising the spirit and increasing a person's sense of efficacy.