Dispelling myths about Tai Chi

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Dispelling myths about Tai Chi Won't do it, its wrong, I tell ya. He used to be a Lutheran minis...

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Dispelling myths about Tai Chi

  1. 1. Dispelling myths about Tai Chi Dispelling myths about Tai Chi Won't do it, its wrong, I tell ya. He used to be a Lutheran minister. For some reason he thinks anything other than what he preached, is wrong and evil. I realized, that there are several myths about Tai Chi "Taiji" that still float around:1 "Taiji is a pagan religion": Although many Asian martial arts come from cultures that have non-Christian religions, it is NOT a requirement to "convert" to the religions of the countries to practice the arts. That would be like saying that Hindus who want to learn how to play baseball here in America, have to convert to Christianity. Sounds absurd, doesn't it? Although the roots of Taiji come from Taoist philosophy, one need not follow the Taoist religion. In fact, Taoism originally was a just a philosophy that supported living a simple life and being in harmony with the world and nature around us instead of harming nature. Later on, it developed into what is considered a "religion" myths and stories about the actual reasons why Taoism turned into a religion, but that's a whole other story altogether and will not be discussed here. Some people believe that Qigong and other Neijia internal methods practice is a way of training oneself to contact and channel evil energies. This is very far from the truth. Qigong breath work or energy skill and Taiji are Chinese methods of physical and mental exercise for health, vitality, increased mental clarity, and stress relief. In Taiji, some schools even practice the movements for self defense to be discussed later in this article. Some people believe that the "Qi" universal energy is an evil entity in that it does not pertain to their chosen diety or God. Many children in Asian countries practice Taiji or Qigong as part of their daily school activities, as a form of physical fitness. For younger people, it fosters physical movement, balance, and coordination. In adults of all ages, it helps keep the body's propioceptive skills sharp, keeps bones strong, and promotes smooth joint movement. Everybody can benefit from Taiji practice, not just senior citizens. It is just that most younger folks are more attracted to the more dynamic, fast paced external styles such as Kung Fu, Wushu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, etc. To each their own, but keep in mind that nearly all external styles of martial arts have their own methods of "internal" cultivation methods. In any martial art, you do not "fight" with the form, instead you use the concepts and body mechanics learned from the form, in order to formulate and practice self-defense responses to attacks. If someone is going to attack you, they are probably not going to ask if you're a Taiji practitioner, then attack you slowly if you respond "yes, I'm a Taiji practitioner"! If your attacker advanced quickly, then you must respond quickly. The form, is a tool with which practitioners may cultivate their sense of balance, calm under pressure, focus, and martial technique. For schools that teach Taiji as a complete martial art, exercises such as "Tuishou" push hands and "Sanda" open hit are practiced to train practitioners in the methods of combat.6 "If you don't know how to fight with Taiji, then you're not practicing 'real' Taiji. Any other practice other
  2. 2. than combat is worthless and weak:" Although Taijiquan is indeed a martial art, I hear this all the time from "hardcore" Taiji practitioners. While some people love to practice Taji for its martial applications as well as its mind/body benefits, it is perfectly fine to practice only the mind/body benefits. If you are gaining benefit from the practice, whether it be with or without martial application, then it is Taiji. If you prefer the learn the fighting methods of Taiji, then do so under a good instructor. Or, if you prefer to keep practicing Taiji as a means of self awareness, self cultivation, spiritual awareness, and exercise, then do so. That would be akin to claiming that only Americans are qualified to teach people how to play baseball! Great Taiji instructors are from all walks of life and are of all ages. They will usually have a lineage that traces back to great Chinese Masters, and will not always look like a wise old bearded sage. Don't be afraid to ask about the teacher's lineage. When looking for a teacher, allows your intuition to be your guide. Granted, you'd want to find a teacher that can demonstrate a good understanding of the concepts of Taiji, and can perform the forms well, but a teacher with 5 years of experience may resonate better with you than a teacher with 20 or more years of experience. Again, use your intuition. Observe the students. Determine if the teachng style is for you. Regardless of teaching methods, good teachers will learn alongside their students, as skill is gained through constant experience. http://taogal.hubpages.com/hub/Dispelling-myths-about-Tai-Chi

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