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is tai chi a relaxation technique or a martial art?

Basically I hoped that it was about spatial awareness and relaxation but apparently it isn’t – any suggestions?

5 COMMENTS

  1. Martial art but they refer to it as a meditation in motion. There philosophy is finding the energy center of the body through daily use of the techniques.

  2. Its a martial art but its forms are used for exersise and it really good,its like yoga but you learn how to defend yourself as well

  3. It is a martial art.
    Tai Chi Chuan is a effective fighting system. But just because you see old people in a park moving slowly with Tai Chi doesn’t mean its a new age relaxation method.

  4. Both. Different styles for different things. Tai Chi Chuan Chen style is, most probably, the most martial of the tai chi forms. Tai Chi Chuan Yang style as taught in the West is normally associated with relaxation. Tai Chi ChiKung forms are more for the meditative, spiritual and healing.

  5. As far as i´m informed, tai chi was developed by an old general, who tried to keep his soldiers healthy, while at the same time training them to kill in battles. Instead of using two different techniques or systems to maintain health as well as fighting skills, he combined the knowledge of his time about the human body, health and fighting into a new multi-purpose system.
    The benefits for his soldiers were:
    – their injuries due to fight training were not worse than injuries from the battlefield (which has often been the case)
    – their health improved
    – their mind was awake (tai chi also trains your brain)
    – they could beat the crap out of their enemies
    The health benefits are a long long list. I myself have been practicing tai chi for roughly 2.5 years. As a fighting system, it can either be tender (which is, in my opinion, the best method) or plain brutal. The philosophy in both cases is: If someone starts a fight with you, you end it in one move. What you do with it, is your choice. I´d always go for avoidance, though it´s the hardest to pull off.
    The strength and mental health coming from practicing tai chi are mostly due to its ability to help you relax as good as possible, even in motion. This way there are no antagonistic tendencies of your unconscious or body mechanic preventing you from releasing for example a full power punch or being relaxed in tough situations, maintaining the control. This is not only useful in combat situations, but also in general.
    The two benefits i found most intriguing are posture and body awareness. I cannot even remember the last time i stumbled. I had back and neck pain before starting tai chi due to bad posture – gone forever (i hope at least) 😉
    What´s also really interesting, is that the health and relaxation part supports the fighting part and vice versa. If one of these is not present, it´s not tai chi. You need both for full benefits.

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