Tai Chi (sometimes written Tai Ji) historically is a system of self-defence developed from Chi Kung principles. “Self-defence” includes looking after yourself in every respect: your physical health, mental well-being and spiritual development, as well as having a martial arts interpretation.

What is Tai Chi?

What you see on the outside are slow, gentle, flowing movements. Internally, the body is relaxed and centred and the mind calmly, but alertly, focused – the mind, body and spirit engaged as one.

Tai Chi is a gentle form of exercise, which can be practised at one’s own level of fitness. It is, therefore, suitable for adults of all ages and abilities. It is an excellent way to maintain good health and relaxation and to help strengthen the immune system. The principles and effects can be applied to everyday life.

The slow, simple movements of Tai Chi and Chi Kung are easy enough for people who have not exercised for some time and challenging enough for even the fittest of people.

Along with Chi Kung (Qigong), Tai Chi is considered a treasured Chinese national art. Based on the ancient Chinese philosophical concept of balance through change, it states that the universe is in constant dynamic motion and that to be fit and healthy, we mirror and harmonise with these natural movements, flow and change.

Some Tai Chi classes focus on the martial arts aspect, whilst others concentrate more on the health and well-being benefits alone. Although Liz was trained in both aspects, her classes are currently aimed to promote good health and relaxation. Nevertheless, explanations of self-defence moves are often included in the teaching.

There are several different styles of Tai Chi. Liz teaches Yang style – not as in Yin/Yang but from the Yang (or Yeung) family. This is one of the most popular styles in the world today. Whichever the style, the underlying principles should be the same.

Tai Chi requires patience and determination to learn well and students will benefit most from quiet persistence and daily practice.

The joy of Tai Chi is that one can reap benefits after just one class but the depth of the practice is such that one can keep learning for a whole life time.

Links to notes for students:

Four Directions Beginners’ Tai Chi
Short Form
Yang Long Form Section 1
Yang Long Form Section 2
Yang Long Form Section 3
Yang Chen Fu’s Ten Principles of Tai Chi Chuan

For Tai Chi classes in Lancashire: www.northwesttaichi.com

© Liz Welch 2023