As a martial artist (since starting Karate in the early 70’s) and as someone interested in my own personal development, I have experienced many styles around the world and many approaches to personal growth.
Now in my 60’s I try to share what I have learned in those areas and seek to facilitate others in finding their own path. I eventually settled on Chen Style Tai Chi when, having reached the level of 4th Dan, I found it made my Karate much more effective and was better for my body and mind.
Tai Chi is ideal in many respects – martial, health, physical, emotional and intellectual since it has the scope to bring together real world experience with movement and mental/emotional concepts.
Tai Chi is increasingly recognised as a formidable martial art and as a major contribution to continued personal health, e.g. in the realm of falls prevention – see the World Health Organisation. The emotional and spiritual concepts associated with Tai Chi are practical and well proven, e.g. Traditional Chinese Medicine, Buddhism, Taoism, psychology, neuroscience, bio-mechanics. They find much resonance today in helping us each achieve our own harmony with the increasingly stressed societies in which we live.
The end result is more effective movement in all areas – it is said that “you can put Tai Chi into anything – but you can’t put anything into Tai Chi”. Somewhat tongue-in-cheek really since Tai Chi has somehow managed already to hoover up what is useful and reduce it down to some simple principles.
There are many reasons for practicing Tai Chi, here are some of them:
- Hit a ceiling in other martial arts practice
- To become more effective as a martial artist
- Develop a skill in managing health issues, e.g. balance, suppleness, injuries
- Mental, emotional growth
- Maintain health and ability into old age – excellent for aiding age related diseases
- It’s really useful
- Find the fun again!