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T’ai Chi in the 21st Century

The art of T’ai Chi is widely known around the world and is no longer shrouded in mystery. It’s extremely popular and practiced by thousands of people in many countries.

Many use it as a way of working out and also for dealing with medical conditions that aren’t fully relieved by conventional medical treatments. Many people love it because it doesn’t require great physical strength or effort to perform, but gives you additional inner strength as well.

In fact, T’ai Chi is so versatile, it’s popular for its medical benefits, as a self-defence system and also used in competitions.

The medical aspects of T’ai Chi

Medical practitioners are increasingly using T’ai Chi to boost the body and help with a number of medical conditions. T’ai Chi classes are even incorporated into hospital treatment programmes to help with joint problems and stress relief. These classes are often run in treatment centres, clinics and community centres.

One of the greatest areas to benefit is the treatment of stress related conditions. Research confirms T’ai Chi helps to reduce stress and some employers are now using it to help their employees deal with job related stress problems.

The Self-Defence Origins of T’ai Chi

T’ai Chi originally started as a martial art. It developed thousands of years ago as a self-defence system. Then its benefits were realised as a health and fitness system, so everything was slowed down.

The style we see and practice today incorporates many blocks, punches, strikes and kicks from its original form.

Competitions

Elements of T’ai Chi – and many other traditional Chinese fighting systems – have been incorporated into a competition sport called Wushu.

Wushu competitions have become very popular in China. The displays are very energetic with participants displaying their skills using a range of weapons and unarmed techniques.

If you’re looking for a full historical breakdown of the origins of T’ai Chi, and how it’s been adapted for the modern world, then Stewart McFarlane’s book; ‘T’ai Chi for Life, Health and Fitness’ is a must-read.

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