Friday, May 18, 2007

Tai Chi for Health: The standard tai chi forms in China

Tai Chi (Ji in China) is one of the most celebrated Chinese Martial Arts, created and developed over thousands of years. History records show many well-known Tai Chi masters were from the Wu Dang Mountains in Hu Bei, China (the home of Taoism). Tai Chi has solid philosophical and martial art’s foundations. It is distinctive from other martial arts in its theory, which says that the soft is hard and will break the hard. Tai Chi appears slow and yielding but it has great power hidden underneath. This is what Tai Chi masters described as “the needle hidden in the cotton", which is the secret that allows the weakest to overcome the strongest. In last hundred years, Tai Chi evolves to be a great form of fitness and heath exercise for average people rather than being studied for combat purpose only.

There are several major styles of Tai Chi Chuan in China. These styles named for the families that originated these styles – Chen, Sun, Yang, and Wu. Yang style Tai Chi Chuan is now the most popular style, both in China and the world. It is well known for enhancing the health of its students as well as being an effective martial art. It is suitable for all ages and physical conditions. Over the last 50 years, Tai Chi of all family styles became stabilized and standardized in China. More efforts were made to promote Tai Chi practice among average citizens mainly for the purpose of health benefits. This is one of the reasons that Tai Chi is now so widespread and popular among average people all over the world today.

Every morning, chinese people in groups practice tai chi standardized forms in parks and nearby neighborhoolds for one or two hours -- 24 hand forms, 42 hands forms, 48 hand forms, and 88 hand forms; 32 sword forms, 42 sword forms, and Wudang sword forms; tai chi fan forms.The 24 simplified hand forms are based on the Yang style. The 42 hand forms are based on the combination of Yang, Chen, Sun, and Wu styles. The 48 hand forms are based on the combination of Yang and Sun styles. The 88 hand forms are based on Yang style. All the forms are developed by the Chinese Sports Committee in China many years ago. Among these standard forms, the 24 simplified forms are the most popular forms.

The teaching and learning DVDs of Tai Chi Hand and Sword forms are available upon request:

Cheng Zhao, Ph.D
Indiana Tai Chi Academy
Indianapolis and Terre Haute, Indiana

My 24 simplified tai chi form book is just listed in under the author name: Cheng Zhao


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