It’s never too late to begin a tai chi practice. The graceful, gentle movements of the yang style are ideal for older adults with limited mobility. Unlike sports in which our abilities diminish with age, tai chi allows us to continually improve and excel. This gives seniors a sense of accomplishment and pride.
Tai chi focuses on internal energy and using internal or core muscles by initiating all movements from the dantian. This makes tai chi extremely beneficial to the well being of the human body. Tai chi improves both our internal energy while also providing physical fitness for our limbs and body. Tai chi benefits our whole body both inside and out.
The modern approach to Mental Health considers three domains of the human being. These three domain views of mental health is called The Biopsychosocial Model. It refers to the three domains of a person when we want to consider how to optimize the health of the whole person. The three domains are: BIO is for Biological; Psycho is for Psychological and Social refers to the interaction with others and the sociocultural environment.
Once you have acquired the other four tactics, you eventually return to Focused Vital Energy. When vital energy is focused, it is continuous and uninterrupted. Training your internal force returns vital energy.
The energy from the whole body practices to unite as one. Distinguish clearly between substantial and insubstantial.
If internal force is undisciplined, then it is not stored and it is easy to scatter. Allow internal force to converge onto the spine, moving in and out unimpeded throughout the whole body.
A stagnant body cannot move freely so we need to be aware of our body. You cannot raise an arm in a trance. The moment the force of my opponent touches my skin; my intention is already penetrating his bones.
If the heart and mind is not calm, one cannot concentrate. When the arm is raised, it does not know which direction to go. Therefore, it is necessary to first achieve calmness.
The Five Character Tactics explores the five requirements or states that a tai chi practitioner needs to achieve in the process of learning tai chi.
In these paragraphs tai chi as an internal art is compared to other martial arts which are based on external skills development. It lists some of the skills we want to refine and the common mistakes one makes on the journey of learning tai chi.
The second and third paragraphs from the treatise describe the Tai Chi learning stages and objectives. It is a good summary of the training goals.
Tai chi as a philosophy is based on oneness with nature and oneness with the universe. In the beginning, just like the universe, it is boundless and limitless. The universe is governed by the relationship of opposites co-existing and complementing each other. This philosophy is the essence of Yin and Yang.
Push hands training and tai chi forms practice go hand in hand. Using this combination of practice allows us to progress at the most optimal pace in our learning. One type of tai chi practice is not better than the other type. In fact, forms based tai chi practice and push hands are the ideal complements in learning tai chi.