Originating from Taoism ,Tai Chi is a subtle form of exercise which promotes health, fitness and a general feeling of well being. By the use of diaphragm breathing and slow controlled movements the internal organs are massaged making them more efficient, the muscles, ligaments, and tendons are stretched and strengthened, the joints mobilised giving freedom of movement and the mind focused relieving stress.
This is a total body work out.
Tai Chi Chuan (“supreme ultimate fist”) also has a martial application which Steve does not teach. However he does use it as a demonstration on how to generate, direct and redirect energy (chi).
Sitting Tai Chi
By adapting the application of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan the whole body is stretched, strengthened and mobilised giving a whole body work out whilst sitting. This is a particularly efficient and enjoyable form of exercise for those who find it difficult to stand for any period of time.
Chi Kung (Qigong)
Chi Kung is the cultivation of energy (chi) within the body by using the mind to focus on energy pathways through controlled breathing. A more spiritual approach which exercises the mind as well as the body.
A short history
Tai Chi / Qigong
Tai Chi Yang Style 24 short form was developed by Committee on Mainland China in 1956 as a standard form of exercise. However its martial history dates back to its founder Chang San-fang who lived somewhere between 960AD and 1460AD T’ai Chi Ch’uan being translated as “supreme ultimate fist”. Chang is believed to have been a Shaolin monk who became a Taoist hermit on the Wudang mountain. It is said that he changed his hard fighting style to an art based on softness and yielding.
The health and exercise history dates back much further to Lao Tzu’s monumental text, Tao Te Ching from the I Ching. This is a document illustrating breathing and other health promoting exercises and dates back to the origins of Chinese written history.
Qigong is a combination of breathing, movement and meditation. “Qi” (or Chi) means “vital energy of the body” and “gong” meaning the cultivation through disciplined practice. Meditation is an important part of qigong practice. Bodiharma (c.502-557AD), the first Buddhist Patriarch, came from India and upon seeing the unhealthy state of monks in China due to their long meditations is said to have implemented exercises that trained the mind to regulate the flow of energy. The energy being activated is coordinated by the mind so that mind and body can benefit from synchronised movement. This form of meditation was taken to Japan and become what is known as Zen meditation.
Qigong is also known as “Dao Yin” which means “guiding and directing energy flow” by means of specific movements and breathing. For example the forms of “Five animals playing”, “eight brocades of silk” and “12 movement health qigong”
The general definition of fitness is “the ability to meet the ordinary as well as the unusual demands of daily life safely and effectively without being overly fatigued and still have energy left for leisure and recreational activities.” A daily practice of Chi-Do therapies (Tai chi / Qigong) will help maintain the mind, body and spirit at a level that will cope with the everyday demands life puts upon us.
Chi-Do is a generic term qualified by the style founder. It literally means “The way of working with chi”. The founder Tony Hardiman has taught martial arts since 1963 and practiced the healing arts since 1958. The Chi Clinic was established in Epsom in 1995 and the Chi Do Association was established in 1999. Chi Do is a combination of the healing and martial arts.
Steve Goulding, a member of the Chi – Do Association and the British Health Qigong Association, qualified as a Chi Do Therapist in 2007 after studying at the Chi Clinic for six years.