When practiced correctly and regularly, Taijiquan/"Supreme Ultimate Boxing" ( 太極拳 ) commonly known in America as Taichi/Tai Chi, provides tremendous mental and physical health benefits. Whether you are 7 or 77 years old, boys or girls, men or woman, you can take advantage of Taichi. "Tai chi is very safe, and no fancy equipment is needed, so it's easy to get started." ~ Harvard Medical School Health Publications. "Doctors and researchers both in China and in the Western world have documented many health benefits from tai chi, including improvements in balance, flexibility, stamina, blood pressure, general heart health, mental health and symptoms associated with stroke, fibromyalgia, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease" ~ Live Science. According to International Business Times, there are around 250 million Taichi practitioners worldwide.
Taichi can also be used for martial application as an advanced self defense technique with emphasis in efficiency. "Chen family Taiji has around 400 years of history and was developed by Chen Wanting in Chenjiagou, Henan province. At the time there were no guns or canons and so Taiji was built primarily as a martial art but also the training was inseparable from sustainable health development. The contents of Taiji training include a strong focus upon independent training and self-development that is centered around the cultivation of the three aspects of body, mind and spirit. Through the combined and balanced focus of health and self-defense, of training internally and externally by embodying the principles of yin and yang or change, Taiji is a unified and integrated martial art." ~ Master Chen Bing (The Internal Athlete's Interview 2011)
Students need to do their research diligently before starting their Taichi training. You must read, listen and observe whether or not the teacher pays great deal of attention in teaching the mind and body relaxation techniques, self awareness, body alignments, getting the feeling of correct postures, and coordinated movement with constant presence of "Yin and Yang"; the interconnected opposite forces. While the basic Taichi training involves understanding and learning of a few Chinese words that might sounds sound foreign such as "Dantian" (the center of ones energy) and "Peng Lu Ji An" (4 primary energy direction of Taichi), they have logical and sensible meaning. Please use common sense and take your time to feel each movement; do you feel any tension in your body? do you feel grounded? is your "Dantian" relaxed and heavy? are your arms heavy? do you feel the presence of "Yin and Yang" in your movement?