Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is the most well known of the Chinese internal arts. It has grown from its martial roots in Chen Village at the end of the Ming Dynasty to a health-enhancing activity in the 21st Century western world.
The Chen style of Taichi retains its self defence elements whilst offering a thorough yet relaxed workout for body, mind and spirit.
Taichi is performed slowly and deliberately and because of this is sometimes called "moving meditation". The main principles of Taichi are relaxation, good posture and moving from the waist. A recent study has found that "the improvement of heart function combined with increased muscular power means that Taichi should be considered the preferred technique for elderly people to maintain good health."
Read the newspaper article here
Taiji is good for posture, balance and co-ordination, as well as for strengthening muscles and joints. A lot of people feel hot when they are practising Taiji. This is because it helps the Qi (Chee), the life force or energy that passes through everything, to flow freely round the body.
Scientists are calling Taichi the "preferred mode of training" for older people, as it can help reduce blood pressure, improve physical strength, and help manage various conditions such as arthritis.
Here the students are performing the first form you will learn. It is fun to learn the routines as you can tell from the smiling faces!