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Tai Chi: Panacea Means "Cure-all"

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Of the four branches of Chinese medicine, I begin with the Chi Kung (Qi Gong) branch because it is my specialty. In 2003, I began learning under Grandmaster Victor Sheng Long Fu. In that time, I have spent well over $30,000, read and studied texts voraciously, and practiced, practiced, practiced my brains out. At different periods, I practiced more than six hours a day. I've made a lot of progress.

Kung Fu simply means "extensive practice." Chi Kung means "energy practice." There are 10,000 kinds of Qi Gong; but essentially, Qi Gong is an inward focus on posture and breathing. Mostly it requires movement, but sometimes it's just "standing," or holding a special position. The Shaolin monks even practice "Iron Qi Gong," which hardens their bodies almost unbelievably. I personally invite you to check out Iron Qi Gong on YouTube.com, but I beg you not to read about Qi Gong on Wikipedia (it's a train wreck, clustered with controversy and hyperbole).

The most important and developed forms of Qi Gong are the internal martial arts such as Tai Chi and BaGuaZhang. Do not shy away from them because they're related to "fighting." Energy practice of this kind is the most powerful means to optimize your health. As my teacher's father, Fu Wing Fay, once said,
"Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of profound art where you use your intent (mind) and not your strength. Therefore Tai Chi should not be looked upon as any kind of martial art. To look at it as such would deprive it of its art value and its philosophical foundation."

The practice of Tai Chi fixes the entire body. It mobilizes the joints and stretches them in all three planes, enabling far greater balance and mobility. The waist turning principle of Tai Chi massages the internal organs, while the slow, uber-relaxing movements ward-off stress and soothe the mind. The postural practice emphasizes moving the body weight onto the bones and connective tissue instead of the muscles. This in turn stresses and twists the bones, which stimulates the immune system (white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow).

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EmpowHER Guest

I learned a lot from Tai Chi Master Bruce Frantzis about how the entire Taoist Longevity system was designed and how each different part; be it for health, martial arts or meditation weaves together to reinforce the previous.
I thought this was a great article since it touched on a lot of that (which I've found is quite rare in colloquial literature), and there were a few points I wanted to add in!
*The biggest health attribute of Tai Chi is its ability to smooth and regulate the flows of the nervous system. This allows it to be extremely effective at mitigating the curse of the modern age (stress) and gradually open people up inside so that they can find true internal peace.
*In China (1956), due to an extreme shortage of medical care, knowing the healing power of Tai Chi, the communist government had the top Tai Chi masters develop a simplified Tai Chi form which retained the health effects but was much easier to learn. After making instructors widely available, they then made 3 months of instructor certified Tai Chi practice a pre requisite for medical care (because this alternative approach solved the majority of health care problems). Since it worked, the strain on the medical system dramatically dropped, and Tai Chi became a mainstay in China. That's why China has such a different health dynamic from the US (ie much cheaper medical care and fully functional elderly people).
*The Qigong form best known for its healing effects (especially given how easy it is to learn properly), is known as "Dragon and Tiger" and came from the Shaolin Temple. You might want to look into it, and there's actually a wonderful blog about it on that Tai Chi master's site (which also discusses the other subjects you touched upon like Ba Gua). Let me know what you think!

March 9, 2010 - 6:10pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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