Tai Ji Quan¡ˉs Uses for Strengthening One¡ˉs Body and Preserving Heath

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    Tai Ji Quan’s Uses for Strengthening One’s Body and Preserving Heath—A Kung-fu Attributive Research on Taiji Quan
    Fate in the Ming Dynasty and early in the Qing Dynasty, Chen Wangting created Chen Style Tai Ji Quan by assimilating the strong point of the Thirty-two Styles of Qi Jiguang's Scripture of Quan's theory and from other styles.  At that time, Tai Ji Quan was stressed at attacking and defending since that era was different from that of today. In the Quan techniques, there were Ti Er Qi (kicking upward continuously twice) requiring jumping upward and kicking in the air continuously, Yi Tang She (one hall snake) making one's feet swinging and faking after falling down the ground, Yan Shou Hong Quan (performing hands and red fist) or Huo Yan Zan Xin (fire collected in heart) demanding one's feet stamping strongly and sending out his force fast, Gui Cu Jiao (one step to kick of a ghost) asking for one's hitting pouncing on forward and his foot sweeping backward and Qi Cun Kao (seven inches leaning against) requesting one's waist and feet being extremely soft. These styles are high-difficult actions indeed.
     As the time passed and the situation changed, being a model of succeeding traditional Kung-fu, Tai Ji Quan of Chen Style has been also developed and producing new creations in later years. Till one hundred or more years ago, as the firearms had been in fast evolution, the effects of cold weapons and boxing skills in battlefields gradually became limited and reduced. This made Wushu experts reconsider the goal and developmental orientation in practicing Kung-fu with some
other questions. Therefore, the slogan of "What on earth is the meaning of practicing Kung-fu" rose before them. "It's good for preserving one's health and prolonging his life", had firstly brought forward by experts of Tai Ji Quan , this was the illuminative pensee and a new channel of Tai Ji Quan turning from attacking and and defending to strengthening one's body and preserving his health. Besides, it has been evidently hard generalizing the actions with larger quantities of movements and higher difficulty, especially to the aged. Even being Wu-shu experts for ages, those couldn’t acclimatize themselves to these actions when they became old. That is an actual rule of the development of Tai Ji Quan, and that developmental rule has made Tai Ji Quan actions change little by little and day by day.
     The summarization is that Tai Ji Quan emphasized the development of attacking and defending Kung-fu skills about one hundred years ago but has been mining to develop four directions in recent years, they are attacking and defending skills, competition, strengthening one's body and taking medical care.
     Concerning the functional orientation of Tai Ji Quan, different situation should be analyzed concretely according to its characteristics in different historical periods. The historical, materialistic views of dialectic developmental should be used as well as the practical and realistic attitude. We could neither deny the Kung-fu aggressive and defensive function of Tai Ji Quan completely nor only emphasize its functions of preserving health and having medical care. We could not emphasize its function of attacking and defending merely but ignore its functions of preserving health and medical care either.
     As Tai Ji Quan stresses lightness, softness, roundness and quietness, its training principle suggests one starting his practicing with relaxation then entering into softness, after converting softness to firmness then making the softness and firmness associated being assistant each other and consistent as a whole. At the same time, it combines guiding massage, breath control and the theory of Meridine, and adopts spiral circling actions, these enlarge the athletic effects and enhance the eruptible force. The series of training methods and principle aim at achieving attacking and defending Kung-fu skills, and embody factors of strengthening one's body as well as preserving his health and having medical care.
     Taking some actions of Hong Style Tai Ji Quan, we are to illustrate the macrobiotics and regiment of Tai Ji Quan as the following.
     The motions of Hong Style Tai Ji Quan are screwing movements as the external shapes expressed by their internal eddy. Originally called it "Wrapping Thread Strength". Preserving breath by one's minding between periosteums and condyles. Accumulating all our breath into the spinal-colume, we could make our breathing moved to our skin and run on it circling more and more. Starting from interior and extending to exterior, these movements are zigzag hovering. They move circle-wise along screw-big mute, forward, backward, crookedly or straightly to form circular movements. This is the soul of Hong Style Tai Ji Quan. These movements could help all the arthroses of human body to relax and loosen. Accumulating our breathing by minding between periosteums and condyles and tangly running on the skin circularly to expedite maridines, we could make our blood and breathing circumfluent to develop our skills of "making intertwist, circle and mucosity, and following up" and "having indraught, entering, falling and emptying. At the same time, the Tai Ji Quan practice also helps us to cure some sicknesses, to protect and preserve our health and strengthen our bodies.
      The most important principal of practicing Tai Ji Quan is "keeping calm and using mind". Tai Ji experts thought that "mind, breath and body trainings" form the unitary and the interior and exterior combined being the close cooperation of mind, breath and action as well as the main nature of Tai Ji training method. This makes Tai Ji Quan being an excellent Kung-fu requiring training the interior, the exterior, body and mind all together at the same time. If only one could live up' with "keeping calm and using mind" earnestly, insist on practicing perennially, he might feel his nerves of related parts being in an incitant state at a certain level. This state will accelerate one's breath and blood circling, expand all his velums, maridines and capillary. He might have the feeling of fever, swelling and impulsion of emission in the tummy of finger as well as tremor in the points of Huiyin, Yongquan, names of some acupoints on one's body etc, and in lower abdomen. Besides, along with the extension and eddy of the action, celiac airflow makes sound of "coo-coo", one could feel his body so relaxed either moving up easily or sinking lightly downward all the time. Practicing Tai Ji Quan could cure someone of some kinds of chronic sicknesses, make his health much better, have his spirit uplifted and also help him to preserve his efficiency and power of work as well as to prolong his life. The essential reason of this is the principle of "moving in quiet with one's minding, feeling the nerves relaxed with each act, acting without any force just as still in quiet" really benefiting both one's spirit and body.
      Chen Style Tai Ji Quan requires fully release of all of the limbs, body, the interior and the exterior. This is a principle as important as "keeping calm and using mind" and an important step to carry through "no force but mind" to decrease the improper use of force. With the precondition of calmness when one is stating to act, he has to use his mind to relax an his limbs body, the 'interim, the exterior, his organs, arthroses and muscles. By doing so, gradually will he enter into an excellent bourn of ever no a tiny force when it's not needed with a complete and excellent relaxation of all parts of his body. Mr. Chen Xin said in his boxing theory, "the route kept on is an endless twisting, moving calmly but not in any hurry. It will let one's skin and arthroses extremely relax and widely open". Videlicet, when one is moving, his spirit and heart should be calm and dilatory his motions should be twisting, light, quick and exquisite for ever, his muscles, skin and condyles should be relaxed extremely.
    When one is practicing Tai Ji Quan lightly and slowly, he could experience and catch the unrelaxing parts of his body gradually, and make amends and improvements for them in softness and relaxation. Through some long-term training of inner and outer relaxation in case of maintaining the relaxed state info fast-movements, he must achieve the "softness", "easiness" and "leisureliness" even under the tense situation we said generally. From the view of health care and preserving, relaxation is a training method that is to obtain "quiet moving work" in lots of actions and "seeking quietness in the actions" at the same time during it is being taken by one's movements.
      Tai Ji Quan requires not only the relaxation of muscles, skins and condyles, but relaxation of central nerve system, viscous, organs, muscles, skin and condyles, it requires relaxation from head to foot, interior to exterior. This training method of the inner and outer syncretized of one person has lots of advantages. Firstly, it avoids emotional tension, secondly, avoids the interfering to the positive horizontal midriff movements of abdominal breath (natural breath) and brings more effects in curing disease, in health care and in attacking and defending, thirdly, the "opening and extension of skin and condyles" makes one's blood and airflow of Qi circling and being some natural expedite, air flow of Qi inside one's body run between the gaps of condyles to enhance the effect of impenetration between condyles, the human body produce elasticity, blood airflow and blood run fluently, and help himself to recover and promote health, fourthly, it helps to highly develop the sense of skins and the interior, the visual acuity of eyes, and the smoothness, roundness and flexibility of his movements, fifthly, as one being relaxed, each condyle of his body will sink downwards to develop the support ability of his lower limbs, the followed thoracic ribs will sink to help his breath concentrated in his lower abdomen and stabilize his barycenter, sixthly, it helps to develop his strength and moving speed. As long as one's whole body relaxed, his strength could be sent out without any block or break and be used collectively. His movements could be sped up without any stiffness. The complete and excellent relaxation helps one to achieve the stabilization of his barycenter, keeping the "quietness as a mountain" by which he could get strong supporting ability and "moving as a fiver" by which all his movements can be flexible,smooth and successive.
      Tai Ji Quan requires one practicing always relaxed, for his complete relaxation has got a direct relationship with his recovering from fatigue, earning the amassment of power, the enhancing of strength, stamina, speed, agility and technique.
     Calming down first, then relaxing one's whole body guided by his mind is the main training method of Chinese traditional health care being the right way of preserving one's strength for ever in China. There were some methods and ways handed down since before like Jing Zuo Gong (quietly dittingrxercise), Jing Xing Gong (suietly moving exercise) and Qi Gong (breathing exercise). Tai Ji Quan adopted the same training method as those ancients ways did. With the proper exercising quantity, Tai Ji Quan could meet anyone's need of disease curing, health care, corporeity enhancing and skills training. That is the strong point as well as one of the reasons of its wide applicability.

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