What Is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a series of standing postures that flow together continuously. It is one of many kinds of Qigong. Tai Chi is a health exercise, a soft martial art, a meditation, a stress-reducer, a philosophy, a form of conflict resolution and a way of life.

As a health exercise, Tai Chi increases balance and flexibility, while inducing a calm, meditative state. It helps uncover and release places where we hold tension or blocked energy.

The martial art of Tai Chi Chuan is based on non-aggression and the principle that the soft overcomes the hard. The practitioner never meets the opponent's force with force; instead, he neutralizes it, deflects it or sends the attacker's energy back at him.

Based on Taoist philosophy, Tai Chi is a path to wholeness, balance and harmony. The true goal of Tai Chi is not to learn a set of movements, but to develop an internal awareness of the natural laws that govern change. We learn to accept change as a fact of life. By developing inner sensitivity to the rhythm of things and accepting them as they are, we begin work with change instead of against it. We become like water, adapting to the contours of the riverbanks, flowing effortlessly around obstacles, never resisting directly, but over time able to cut our way through solid rock.

Modified Dec 11, 2006