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What Are the Basics of Tai Chi?

Tai chi is an ancient Chinese form of exercise and a highly effective martial art based on self-awareness, fluidity, balance and internal strength. As an exercise, it is designed to provide relaxation in the process of body conditioning, which it accomplishes partly by harmonizing the principles of balance (yin-yang).


Master Yang in Single Whip Posture as a part of Tai Chi Play


Tai chi is an ancient Chinese form of exercise and a highly effective martial art based on self-awareness, fluidity, balance and internal strength. As an exercise, it is designed to provide relaxation in the process of body conditioning, which it accomplishes partly by harmonizing the principles of balance (yin-yang). These principles can be applied to many aspects of physical health. For example, athletes and teachers alike can benefit from harmonized balance. Athletes can better understand how their body is connected, from fingertips to fingers, to hand, to the wrist, elbow, and so on. While teachers can gain learn how to stabilize their emotions and focus on their tasks in the face of distractions and disorder.


Tai chi employs flowing, deliberate movements with carefully prescribed stances and positions. Some people would describe tai chi as meditation in motion due to the control and focus it takes to make slow movements. It’s a combination of inner concentration and outer movement. As a martial art, it resembles kung fu with highly effective offensive and defensive movements often referred to as “swimming in air”. The mental and spiritual focus of tai chi required to perform the fluid movements free the energies of the body to flow naturally. The physical movement is important, but of much more importance is the mental discipline one develops that serves to help master oneself and their environment.


Some of the many benefits of regular practice include:


  • Improve physical balance, very important for the elderly

  • Boost stamina for those needing more energy

  • Develop more flexibility

  • Enhance muscle tone

  • Improve joint functionality

  • Increase mental awareness and rational durability

  • Raise your balance of body, mind & spirit

  • Calmness in the face of obstacles in life

  • Self-awareness, self-defense, and self-protection


Whether you’re in Metro Detroit, Michigan, or elsewhere, tai chi can be taught to you. Are you ready to seek out the practices and benefits of tai chi & more? Check out our events to learn more about when you can participate.


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American Tai Chi & Qigong Association.