Taiji Quan (or "Tai Chi Ch'uan") is an ancient form of Chinese internal martial arts. It combines the powers of meditation with physical movement, emphasizing balance, breath control, relaxation, and cultivation of internal energy or "qi". The aim is to create a harmony of physical movement with emotional and spiritual well-being.
While the movements of Taiji Quan are slow, graceful, and rhythmic in nature, in fact Taiji Quan is also applicable as an effective system of self-defense. Students at Wushu West can learn either Chen-style Taiji Quan (the original form of Taiji Quan dating back over a thousand years) or Yang-style Taiji Quan (a more modern, but very popular style).
With even a small amount of practice the benefits of Taiji Quan can be experienced. Physically you will feel stronger, more coordinated and have a better sence of balance.
Taiji Quan has also been shown to improve the health in those who practice it, providing arthritic relief, helping support weak joints and ligaments, working to guard against osteoporosis and lowering blood pressure.
In addition to the physical benefits of Taiji Quan, practitioners often experience a revitalized mental state as well. Students state that their focus and concentration increases with Taiji practice and they have a feeling of well-being and calm through many of their day-to-day activities.
Baguazhang, or Eight-Trigram Palm, is based on the eight trigrams of broken and unbroken lines used in Taoist I-Ching divination. The spinning and twisting movements of Baguazhang follow one another in circular patterns requiring a fluid combination of dexterity, strength, and agility. Students at Wushu West learn the Cheng (Dragon) style of Baguazhang.
The health benefits of Taiji has surprised me. I can remember when so many joints in my body (neck, legs, back) were giving me problems. Simple daily activities were not simple to do. I tried various Taiji classes and about either years ago I came to know of Master Hao and joined her Taiji Quan class. Now at age 66, my body is more flexible and stronger than in my younger years and, most happily, free of pain in all my joints. Much of this credit goes to Master Hao's deep understanding of Taiji movements and her inspiring way of imparting this understanding. It has taken me a long time to comprehend and train my body to do some of the most simple movements and to come to know that it isn't the movement alone, but another level of energy that comes into play. With Master Hao's excellent instructions I do not think all of this would have been possible. Thank you for this opportunity to share my experience."
- Kazuye Suyamatsu, Artist