Have you seen that old man or woman exercising in the garden with slow and soft movements that look like they are just weaving their bodies around slowly? That's Taijiquan, the Chinese internal martial art that look weak but yet can strike you with the power of a whip.
You might be thinking, “Wait, that old man is a martial artist?" The answer is, technically, yes. Taijiquan was created as a fighting art hundreds of years ago in China. It only became some sort of fitness program in modern times when the art, just like all other martial arts, were proven to be effective at promoting fitness and health as well as prevent aging.
How Does Taijiquan Improve Health?
Taijiquan follows the Chinese (Taoist) theories of Yin-yang and Qi. Yin and yang is the Chinese philosophy concerning two opposite yet complementing forces, while Qi is the energy that is found within all of us.
To summarize it, in the context of Taijiquan, the Qi is defined as having two aspects: Yang Qi and Yin Qi. Yang qi is described as vigorous, fiery and active. Yin qi, on the other hand, is weak, soft and passive. By default, the energy in our body is always Yang qi, and becomes Yin qi only when we are sick. Yang qi, being fiery, contributes to the natural degradation of our bodies hence we all age. However, if we are always Yin, our bodies become weak and we still die though not through aging but through poor health.
Simply put, if there is an imbalance in the Qi system in our body, we get sick. Of course, we are initially unbalanced between we are always too Yang. However, being Yang means our body is energetic but at a price: our bodies degenerate. When the body starts to turn Yin, that means the balance has been tipped and we get sick.
In line with this theory, we could see that there is a need to constantly balance the Qi in our body. That is what Taijiquan does. When you perform its exercises, you learn to regulate your breathing as well as your Qi. What results is balance between the Yang Qi and Yin Qi. In a scientific point of view, there is a strong immune system that helps us resist sicknesses and diseases in a natural way. Our internal organs, which are thought to be reservoirs of Qi, are maintained healthy and fit.
So don't think that Taijiquan is for old people only. It's for the young, and it is best to start young in the path of fitness and health.
Mark Yapching is a fitness and health buff who wishes to share tips on how to stay fit and healthy despite the business of this world.
His homepage is at http://www.infitnessandinhealth.wordpress.com