Every year the last Saturday in April is World Tai Chi and QiGong Day. I’ve been a Tai Chi student for just over a year, now, and I have every intention of continuing to learn for as long as I can. I’m not a stereotypical creaky grey-haired person, or a stereotypical young and fit martial-arty type. I’m blending the stereotypes as a young(ish) creaky person and cheering on any person of any age and any ability to give Tai Chi a whirl if they feel the urge!
Like so many people, I have turned to Tai Chi because my health won’t permit other types of exercise. And, like so many other Tai Chi-ers….. I wish I’d started learning it when I was younger!
Yes, Tai Chi is undeniably good for the older body. As we get older our bodies get a bit cranky and need our exercise to be in more appropriate forms and intensity. Tai Chi fits the bill, and research backs it up inexorably.
However, it is also a martial art, (have you seen Jet Li’s Tai Chi Master? 🙂 ), and can be taken to levels beyond what you are aware of from general urban myth. My tutor combines it with Wushu, (that beautiful but exhausting form of martial arts you see spinning through the Eastern martial arts movies), to create beautiful and yet physically demanding forms. If she wore aaaaall her medals at once she’d probably be hidden from view, she’s that good! Tai Chi can be taken as far as you want to take it and, in my opinion, the further you take it the more interesting it gets!
But for us beginners, there is the standard form of 24 moves which we can learn. It is the form practiced throughout the world, but even as a beginner you don’t have to just stop there. You can if you want, of course. The point is that you learn as much as you want to and practice Tai Chi in the way that it makes you most happy. (And it does make us Tai Chi-ers happy)! But the 24 is not the be all and end all. I’m learning the Yang style 88 form at the moment, and loving it, (despite the crazily fast heart-rate and having to sit down half the time coz my blood pressure keeps trying to go for the fainty option). After the 88… I look forward to learning the 42 which includes moves from the various styles of Tai Chi, so I’ll be learning different ways of moving and varying the speed from a Tai-Chi-slow to a fighting-fast and back again. (There’s videos of the 24 form and 42 form on one of my earlier posts here). But I don’t expect to leave the previous forms behind. They all have their place and take different lengths of time to perform, and they all create greater understanding of the art whilst offering new directions to potter off in and learn more.
I love it…..can you tell? 😉
As some of you will already know, I have been trawling the research journals for papers investigating the effects of Tai Chi on health. I wrote about it in my Tai Chi Glee post way back in February. I haven’t forgotten it, but my health, the writing challenge, my health, the lack of adequate tech’ and, er, the main problematic theme: my health, made it really slow going. So I’ve written a bit when I can, researched a bit when I can, and slowly got there over time. And as today is World Tai Chi and QiGong Day, it seemed the most appropriate day to upload it to the blog.
So here it is….the link to my info’ page about the Health Benefits of Tai Chi….just click here.