24 AprTai Chi in Scotland – Martial Arts Scotland
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Despite the martial origins of the art, the fighting effectiveness of the practice of Tai Chuan Chuan (shortened to T’ai chi or Tai chi in the West) in the modern era is less well known. Having traditionally been held in high esteem within the Chinese Martial Arts community, this is primarily due to its increased popularity among various segments of the population and shifting emphasis on health rather than self-defense.
Nonetheless Tai Chi can be practised on many levels, and is both accredited as a simple ‘meditative’ exercise as well as a realistic martial art with the concept of Yin and Yang at the heart of the system.
By way of example, as Yin is considered to be the soft, feminine principle and Yang the hard masculine principle, a blow or strike coming towards you would be considered Yang force. This Yang force in turn is met with Yin or softness, thereby neutralising the power of your opponent’s strike.
Thus Tai Chi teaches the student to becomes familiar with a constantly changing shift from Yin to Yang energy, and vice versa. This is done working with a partner through the practice of Pushing Hands, or Tui Shou .
San Shou, depending on the style, is a series of exercises where strikes or blows are delivered to various parts of the body, with the recipient neutralizing the oncoming force by meeting it with softness or Yin energy, before returning a blow.
For practice, these exercises are initially delivered softly and slowly with force and speed increasing as you become proficient. In some styles, San Shou is performed as a structured routine or sequence which incorporates various aspects of self defence in a fixed pattern. Whatever the interpretation, San Shou would ultimately train these techniques to be applied in free sparring.
Traditionally weapons used in the Tai Chi Chuan forms include the straightsword, the broadsword and the staff, with other common implements, such as the cane, fan, and short or long stick.
In Tai Chi Chuan there are many benefits to be gained from practising weapon forms. Aside from the obvious martial skill gained in training with weapons, these forms help to promote health by stretching and relaxing the muscles and thus promoting blood circulation.
There are generally considered to be five main styles of Tai Chi Chuan.
Chen – reported to be the original Tai Chi Chuan style, very martial in content with strong stamping movments and punching.
Yang – while still maintaining the martial arts aspects, this style is noted for its extended, graceful, carefully structured, relaxed, gentle and flowing movements.
Wu – in addition to more conventional t’ai chi sparring and fencing, Wu style also has a focus on grappling, throws (shuai chiao), tumbling, jumping, footsweeps, pressure point leverage and joint locks and breaks.
Sun – known for its smooth, flowing movements as opposed to the more physically vigorous crouching, leaping and fa jin (to issue or discharge power explosively) movements of other styles, Sun styles gentle postures and high stances make it very suitable for geriatric exercise and martial arts therapy.
Li – (or Lee) comprises: two forms known as ‘the dance’ and ‘the form’, I Fou Shou or ‘sticky hands’ technique, Whirling Hands, Whirling Arms, and various qi (chi) and Li development exercises.
There are also variations derived from these original styles such as Wudang, Hao and Cheng Man-ching.
Tai Chi Resources:
Tai Chi Books:
The Essence of T’ai Chi: Selections from the T’ai Chi Classics on the Great Power and Inner Meaning of This Ancient Martial Art
The Illustrated Elements of… – Tai Chi: A practical approach to the ancient Chinese movement for health and well-being
Healthy Living: Tai Chi for You (Healthy Living S.)
Step-By-Step : Tai Chi :
Steal My Art: Memoirs of a 100 Year Old T’ai Chi Master, T.T.Liang
Tai Chi DVD’s:
Beginner Tai Chi [DVD]
Tai Chi For Beginners  [DVD]
Tai Chi For Beginners [DVD]
Element: Tai Chi For Beginners [DVD]
Tai Chi [DVD]
Gentle T’ai Chi [DVD]
Tai Chi For Seniors [DVD]
Step-by-Step Tai Chi with Tiffany Chen [DVD]
Tai Chi – The 24 Forms  [DVD]
Discover Tai Chi – AM & PM Workouts [DVD]
The Tai Chi Nation Guide To Tai Chi [DVD]
Discover Tai Chi For Weight Loss [DVD]
Tai Chi For Arthritis – 12 Lessons With Dr Paul Lam [DVD]
Tai Chi Combat [DVD]
Tai Chi 4 Kidz [DVD]
Tai Chi Clothing & Equipment:
Black Cotton Kung Fu Martial Arts Tai Chi Uniform Suit
Tai Chi Ball
Martial Arts Scotland Tai Chi Pages:
Register your Tai Chi Club with Martial Arts Scotland
Martial Arts Scotland Tai Chi Club Quicklink Page
Find a Tai Chi Club near you