TAI CHI CHUAN is a mindful tradition of health, longevity, meditation, and martial
art using body motion. It has a background of at least a thousand years of practice, observation and teaching, incorporating
the principles of change and relaxation embodied by Lao Tzu, and the I Ching. As Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching:
Bend, and you will be whole,
Curl, and you will be straight.
Empty, and you will be filled,
Grow old, and you will gain.
The moves of Tai Chi Chuan reflect the motions of animals,
and incorporate sacred movement of temple tradition. The Tai Chi Chuan postures developed in the Shao-Lin temple boxing styles.
Their refinement, took place in the Wu-Tang Mountain retreats where a Shao-Lin adept, Chang San-Feng, realized the nature
of internal energy while watching the interactions of a snake and a crane; the flexible snake was able to avoid the crane's
sharp bill. He applied this principle of yielding and the cycle of Yin and Yang to produce the practice of Tai Chi Chuan.
In Tai Chi Chuan Theory, a person is born with a life essence and
potential, called Ching. Through circulation, essence is transformed into the complementary energies of Yin and Yang.
The motions of Tai Chi Chuan circulate the Yin and Yang energies through the body. When the Mind, I, follows
the flow of energy, it refines and concentrates it. While performing the Tai Chi Chuan movements, the Mind and the Chi work
together leading to the cultivation of a higher faculty, the Shen, or Spirit. The interaction of Chi, I, and Shen
is called the Great Harmony, and produces a deep relaxation. Relaxation allows the Chi to flow freely to become the
motivating force of the movements...this is the essence of Tai Chi Chuan.
To practice Tai Chi Chuan you need no equipment; not even a lot
of space, or time; the sixty movements form takes about ten minutes to perform. As your practice evolves, the interaction
of breathing, shifting weight, and mental focus interact to develop new insight. The result is that practice continually
evolves through life, and bestows its benefits through life's changes. In the West today, Tai Chi Chuan's benefits are being
documented: increased balance, mobility, reaction time and alertness, as well as improved immunity to some diseases, reduced
stress levels, alleviation of hypertension and other ailments.
Beyond the health benefits of Tai Chi Chuan are the adaptive results
that transfer to any other activity, sport, or martial art. Today, the ideas of relaxation and integrated motion are being
applied to sports and martial arts as well. The ancient practice and art of Tai Chi Chuan has become cutting-edge training
for today's sports, health, meditation, and personal development.
Sifu Jeffrey Zauderer