Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan)
Ancient Fighting Arts brings the best in traditional yang-style Tai Chi Chuan - literally "Grand Ultimate Fist" - to northwestern New Jersey. Our teachers are certified by the Wu Kung association and occasional opportunities arise to train with the associations founder, Grandmaster Hsu Fun Yuen. A practioner of 65 years, Hsu trained under Cheng Man-Ching - the man credited with bringing Tai Chi Chuan to the west. Below are descriptions of the Tai Chi Chuan offered at our Morris county New Jersey location.
You can think of the impact that Tai Chi Chuan has on health as a type of nourishment. When we practice the Tai Chi Chuan form, we strengthen the muscles, organs and fibers down to the cellular level.
We do this focusing on the development and control of the body's natural energy wellspring, or "chi". We understand that Chinese acupuncture can control pain by tapping the nervous systems' energy network. Tai Chi Chuan applies a similar principle, except it does not work from the outside in, it works from the inside out. Tai Chi techniques are designed to build chi, and control how it is focused through motion and controlled breathing.
We accomplish this by understanding the composition of the body and how its parts are interconnected and interdependent. Various exercises concentrate on stimulating the lungs, kidneys, heart, spine and so on. In time it is possible to feel the chi, and learn how to consciously deliver it to a part of the body that is in need of this physically nourishing force. Some results our students experience include improved circulation, lower blood pressure and greater overall strength.
Tai Chi is practiced slowly and evenly, with great control and with circular patterns. To an outside observer this might suggest Tai Chi Chuan is simple and physically unchallenging. Nothing could be further from the truth. Imagine any physical activity, like push ups or weight lifting, done at a very slow pace. The slower they are done, the greater the demands on the associated muscles. Tai Chi is extremely low impact, removing the element of joint and ligament stress that one finds in more conventional exercise venues. The same characteristics that remove the possibility of high-impact related injury also enhance toning potential.
Students are often surprised at first by the difficulty of sustaining Tai Chi Chuan motions. But after a few weeks the muscles become accustomed to the new kind of exercise they are receiving. Concentrated breathing techniques begin to become comfortable and as proper positioning of weight is understood balance begins to improve. And with the serene application of Tai Chi temple exercises and the Tai Chi Chuan form, evidence of modern stressful living in the shoulders and face begin to dissipate.
Advanced students deepen their understanding of the system through practicing pushing hands, weapons (sword, knife, staff), and the two person set. Optionally, advanced practitioners can elect to apply their skills through controlled sparring sessions.
Chi Kung (Qigong) for Health
Chi Kung - literally "Energy Cultivation" - is the practice of concentrating chi - energy - and moving it to target joints and organs. Chi Kung, when combined with Tai Chi Chuan, has been known to help with a number of different maladies, including arthritis, hypertension, autoimmune deficiencies, heart disease, and IBS.
At the root of Chi Kung, we learn different methods of breathing to capture energy into the abdomen, the tan t'ien - field of elixir. Through meditative thought and gentle motions, we learn to move the chi through our bodies. As Chi Kung can be practiced anywhere and requires no special equipment, it is an ideal and simple way to improve your health. Our students find that they have more vitality quickly as the exercises are specifically designed to improve oxygen levels in the blood.