Tai Chi is a martial art that was originally created for self defense. This style of kung fu places emphasis not on using force against force, but rather on employing techniques to absorb and redirect an opponent’s incoming force. Today, Tai Chi is often practiced for health, meditation, stress reduction, and core strength training. It consists of a series of whole-body movements and sequences of movements known as “forms,” which are performed at a slow and controlled pace.
Tai Chi also incorporates various chi gung exercises including still, stance-keeping postures which focus on breathing, relaxation, and posture. Partner-training exercises, known as “push hands,” are used to train ones sensitivity to an opponent’s movements, and lay the foundation for martial applications of Tai Chi. Whether the goal of Tai Chi is for self-defense or for relaxation, at its root it combines a state of dynamic relaxation of the body exemplified by controlled physical movements, with a focused and calm mind. Thus, Tai Chi is sometimes referred to as “moving meditation.”
Students studying Tai Chi at Moy Yee San Jong receive both group and individual instruction. Beginning students learn the basic movements of Yang style Tai Chi, through repetitive practice of the movements and through various short forms. They also learn traditional standing meditation. Intermediate students learn slightly longer forms and participate in partner-training “push-hands” exercises. Advanced students learn Chen style Tai Chi, as well as more advanced applications of push-hands.
Tai Chi provides many benefits, including the development of core strength, better balance, stress management, and relaxation. Sources such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health cite numerous health benefits of Tai Chi, including reducing anxiety and depression, reducing falls in older adults, lowering blood pressure, relieving chronic pain, and increasing endurance and agility. Students who practice Tai Chi regularly at Moy Yee San Jong often report feelings of increased well-being, and improvements in chronic health conditions. Through a unique setting of committed members, and under the guidance of Sifu Henry Moy Yee, students learn traditional ways of practicing and perfecting the art of Tai Chi.