“… and How This Can Make a Difference For You”
When I tell people I teach tai chi I usually get “That’s like yoga right?” Being a true tai chi person of course I think they aren’t at all alike, and I used to say something to myself like “Man, if you only knew…” Now I actually like the comparison because is opens the door for me to educate people a little bit while spreading “The Gospel of Tai Chi Chuan”. Both tai chi and yoga relax your body, lengthen your muscles and loosen stiff joints. There are at least seven things I can think of that traditional tai chi does and that traditional yoga doesn’t. My list of tai chi advantages and differences includes:
- Tai chi is considered a moderate aerobic exercise that develops lung capacity
- Tai chi uses form sets that are done at an even, slow pace making it easier to feel your body’s energy
- Tai is done standing so it really develops good balance
- Tai chi movements develop better coordination around your center while helping you develop chi energy
- Tai chi naturally builds leg strength while slowly building endurance and arm strength
- Tai chi is a martial art (You don’t really have to learn the martial part though… who knew?)
- … and the most important difference of all: Tai Chi is spelled T-A-I C-H-I (in English anyway), and yoga is spelled Y-O-G-A (I don’t really know any other way to spell yoga)
Sometimes when I tell people tai chi is a martial art they look at me sideways and I can see the wheels turning. Most people don’t understand martial arts in general so they have a hard time seeing any martial applications in the slow, graceful movements. I can even hear the dialog in their heads “How in the world do get your opponent to stand there while you slowly kick their butt?” So they’re skeptical yet interested… and no, it doesn’t involve some type of eastern hypnotism.
Have you ever seen the movie Road House with Patrick Swayze? I remember the first time I saw the scene with him practicing tai chi at the horse farm. It was intriguing and it made me want to run right out and learn tai chi. Well it seems a lot of other people have seen it too… thanks in large part to TNT running it almost continuously.
Now all I do to convince people it really is a martial art is say “Remember the movie Road House? Well, tai chi is what all the best bouncers use.” It’s not true of course, but it gets the point across. Actually I’m sure most bouncers use external martial arts… mostly because they look so damn uptight.
The fact that tai chi is good for you is pretty well known. Yet when people first hear the long, long list of health benefits I can see that familiar look of “polite doubt” in their eyes. The list sounds like a snake oil salesman’s script claiming it will cure everything from Rheumatism to Crow’s Feet and that it will “Drive the evil spirits from your soul!” Well maybe I’m stretching it just a bit here but the list of medical benefits really is amazing, and it’s being backed up by more and more medical research all the time.
We are all creatures of pleasure and feeling good is a big part of that pleasure. Tai chi has helped me in ways I never even thought of. I image you want to feel good too, so stick around for a while, see what Camp Tai Chi has to offer, and you’ll soon find out just how good tai chi can make you feel.
So, Welcome to Camp Tai Chi and the “Journey of 10,000 miles”. Yes tai chi chuan (taijiquan) has been called the Journey of 10,000 miles, but you can get on or off the road whenever you like, as often as you like. Personally I’ve found the longer I do tai chi, the more fun and interesting it gets. I have to warn you though, if all you want to do is watch tai chi being done, it’s a bit like watching grass grow. It’s a lot more fun when you’re the grass!
Camp Tai Chi Cabins:
- On-Line Classes
- “The Camp Store”
- The Library (articles)
- The Med Center (health stories & medical research papers)
- The Adventures of “Tai Chi Guy”
- John’s Tai Blog
Tai Chi, The Remarkable Free Medicine That Can Improve Your Health, Heal Your Body, or Just Plain Keep You Healthy
This incredible natural medicine has no dangerous side effects and a growing body of scientific evidence suggesting a remarkably large number of health benefits. Tai Chi has been called the ‘Ultimate Exercise’ because it activates our own natural ‘Elixir Within’. For the scientific stuff, click here.
Tai Chi has been used for centuries as a natural medicine by people of all ages and abilities. If you’re feeling good right now you can use it to stay that way and if you’re not, you can use it along with just about any medical treatment to help you feel better, so check with your doctor. I bet she’ll agree!
Tai chi is deceptively simple. When properly done tai chi is a moderate aerobic exercise that will make you sweat even though it appears easy when an advanced ‘player’ is practicing it. The Chinese refer to practicing tai chi as playing and the people practicing it as players.
Aside from being an excellent medium intensity, low impact aerobic exercise studies show that tai chi can strengthen the immune system, improve alertness and the ability to concentrate, improve reflexes, greatly improve balance, lower blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), improve bone density, relieve stress and tension, build stamina, increase flexibility, build leg strength . . . and more!
The real beauty of Tai Chi is that it doesn’t require you to have anything special to practice. Sure, you might want to wear loose fitting clothes and a good pair of thin-soled shoes, but you don’t really need anything else.
You can even take a quick ‘tai chi break’ to refocus your mind and energize your body while in your dress shoes, in your sneakers, or even barefoot. I often take tai chi breaks in my street clothes to help me re-focus in the middle of the day (I don’t usually do suits).
If you’d like to learn how to do Beginning Tai Chi Exercises so you can get the benefit of tai chi in any small space click here.