an extremely brief but concise explanation written by Sybil Wong (abbrev)
Tai Chi can be practised in two distinctly different ways:
External Style which uses vigorous body movements and harsh punching actions.
Internal Style which uses movements that are soft, fluid, gentle and graceful. Focus is on deep slow breathing and mental concentration. Using Abdominal breathing and concentration in harmony relaxes the body and allows the life force (the Qi) to flow unimpeded through the body.
Tai chi has been proven to improve muscular strength, flexibility, fitness, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and other chronic diseases. It improves balance, prevents falls, helps posture and builds up immunity to disease. It also improves mental illness, depression and stress.
When practising Tai Chi there is peace and harmony within oneself, extending to peace and harmony with others around us and with our surroundings. We also learn humility in knowing that we will never be perfect, that we can always learn from others.
Because all movements are directed by the mind, controlled by the waist and expressed by the hands, we will develop unity of mind and body.
Tai Chi is a very personal and unique journey towards self awareness - awareness of one's body and life force - remembering that perfection is never reached and that the experience is a life-long journey and a never-ending challenge. On our journey we will reap many health benefits, have improved flexibility strength and balance, be less stressed, make new friends and have more appreciation of our own body and mind’s ability to become stronger.
Tai Chi is an ancient martial art which may appear to the observer as if it is a form of dance, however the beauty of Tai Chi actually reflects the practitioner’s own internal strength. The grace and fluidity demonstrated by a Master are simply the outward visible signs of the practitioner’s mental and physical harmony.
Tai Chi is not easy, in fact it is deceptively strenuous. It is very interesting, it demands mind and body co-ordination, concentration and practice. Tai Chi is a journey of self-discovery which we can practice into our very old age.