Chathamson School of Tai Chi & Chi Kung
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Tai Chi Chuan SymbolTai Chi Chuan translated means the Supreme Ultimate Fist and resembles a slow moving dance. When performed right it increases one's energy level, making the whole body come alive from the glands, organs and brain, to the muscles, bones and immune system - the whole body is strengthened. It was created during the Sung Dynasty (960 A.D.-1279 A.D.) by a priest named Chang San Feng to protect himself against bandits and the elements of nature.

Tai Chi takes on the characteristic traits of the following four animals:

  • The eagle whose graceful flight resembles the gracefulness of the Tai Chi form.
  • The snake who's characteristic traits of moving in a circular motion are copied by the hand and foot movements which are distributed through the hips.
  • The turtle because the form is practiced slow and takes on the turtle's long life.
  • The sure footed crane who's weight is always shifting from one leg to the other. The bird's large body is always perfectly balanced on its narrow legs, and it's this sure footed balance we are trying to achieve as we are constantly shifting our weight in the tai chi sets.

The key to increasing one's vitality and quality of life is to follow the Tai Chi rules, which are:

  • keeping the knees in line with the toe
  • pelvis tilted
  • chest relaxed
  • shoulders relaxed
  • tongue on palate
  • head straight
  • a separation of Yin and Yang refering to the muscles & weight disrtibution
If they are not followed, it cannot be considered Tai Chi. The muscles and skeletal structure should be coordinated from toes to fingers. This means that first you step out making note of what foot is carrying the weight; then transfer the weight from one leg to the other, starting off with the foot that's carrying the weight. Press off with the toes, turning the heel to a 45 degree angle. This turns the ankle, which turns the knee, which rotates the hips. While this is taking place the knee on the foot in front starts to bend forward and the hips move the vertebrae, which turns and moves the shoulder, then the elbows, then the fingers. The muscles should never tense up but should always be either in a state of relaxation or snugged up.

The back and neck should always be erect and the elbows should always be angled down thus relaxing the shoulder muscles. One side of the body should be relaxed while on the other side the muscles should be snug. You should always be able to distinguish on what foot the weight is on.