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What is Tai Chi? Ask ten Tai Chi teachers that question, and you'll get ten different answers. Their answers will reflect their background, their interests, and their focus.
Here's the answer that reflects OUR focus.
In its simplest form, Tai Chi is an exercise that focuses on natural physical movement, breathing, and mental concentration. It produces fantastic benefits. You'll get healthy, be more fit, relieve stress, and develop abundant energy.
Tai Chi is considered an "internal martial art" practiced for both health and self-defense. The exercises and practices of Tai Chi come directly from kung fu (Chinese martial arts).
Unfortunately, when we say "martial arts," most people think of the forceful, muscular movements of karate or the impossible acrobatic feats seen in the movies. But put those out of your mind! Tai Chi is graceful, slow, and relaxing, and these days, most people practice Tai Chi not for self-defense, but for the great health and stress relief benefits it provides.
Tai Chi is often mentioned with Qigong, a group of health practices that also comes from China. At some point, most Tai Chi students practice Qigong as well. The two arts are often practiced together to help build "chi" (internal energy) for health, stress-relief, and well-being.
In our classes, we emphasize "chi development." That is, we focus much more on improving health, relieving stress, and building our life energy over any other goals. As such, we freely mix Tai Chi and Qigong practices. That give us the biggest number of benefits in the smallest number of practices - and the smallest amount of practice.
To discover first hand what Tai Chi and Qigong are about, I recommend checking out the "mini-course" we offer on this website. It has some great demo videos for Tai Chi and Qigong, plus some simple exercises from both arts that you can learn. Plus you might also be interested in our information on learning tai chi through online courses.
You have my best wishes for health, well-being, and Chi Development,