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Tai chi chuan for health and defence
Tai chi chuan is a slowed down martial art that's often practiced in the West to aid good health. Most people don't realise that it's actually a Chinese martial art.
There are several styles of tai chi, for example the martial arts yang style and the health promoting original style.
At the heart of tai chi is the principle of yin and yang. The idea at the heart of tai chi is the flow of energy or qi (pronounced chee), much like acupuncture theory. By practising the forms of tai chi you regulate the movement of energy and blood in your body, hence why people that practice tai chi feel warmer afterwards and can enjoy other health benefits such as reduced stress, better circulation, reduced blood pressure, less anxiety, etc.
Traditionally there are 108 steps laid over 3 forms. However, other styles of tai chi have added or removed steps in their forms.
The idea behind tai chi is that the slower you practice your steps, the better you develop each detail of each move. Then when you need to defend yourself from attack, you speed up the tai chi moves and execute them perfectly as you practiced them slowly in detail.
If someone attacks you, you use the principles of taic hi to use their energy against them to defend yourself. Therefore, mastering the flow of qi (energy) is to master yourself and over others.
There are no side effects or negatives to practising tai chi so look in your local area for beginners courses.