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16th Annual “World Tai Chi & Qigong Day”: a Day of Peaceful Meditation

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10th April 2014

By  Ethan Indigo Smith

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

Tai Chi Chuan or any Tai Chi is at some depth a Kung Fu. It's a martial art, but it's more than that. It's a healing art, a meditation that helps one's balance and fires off the brain in such a quality way that there is a near immediate dendrite high if you will -- a tangible mind/body/spirit connection, as well as a true connection with one's surroundings. It can do wonders for the ailed as well as athletes of all types, healing wounds and physical honing skills. It's also a folk dance of sorts, and the only way I can fake an ability to dance is by repeating Tai Chi movements.

There is not one superior type of posturing, just as there is not a superior form of Tai Chi. There are only more dedicated practitioners.

But Tai Chi is much more than a physical art that cultivates one's energy and betters one's well-being and sense of connection. It is a metaphysical art. If Tai Chi was just a healing/martial art there would be no enhanced intuition as a result of its practice, and the movements would not lead to metaphysical discussion among practitioners.

Tai Chi is all about developing grounding and rooting, as are so many meditations themselves. But since Tai Chi is done standing and walking -- as opposed to Yoga that is primarily standing, sitting and lying postures -- the meditativeness achieved through Tai Chi movement is more applicable and more transferable to the rest of our day, as we walk and stand around others.

In fact Tai Chi Chuan and Yoga are not only intimately related, but sourced from the same vein. The more I look into the relationships between Hinduism and Buddhism, the more apparent the relationship between Yoga and Tai Chi becomes. 

This relationship is displayed in legends about Tibetan yogi  Milarepa , and further developments into Chinese ideas as displayed in written works like The Secret of the Golden Flower that combined Buddhism and Daoism. Bodhidharmma, the father of Zen Buddhism, was from India and brought meditative movements to the Shaolin Temple in China. And we can trace practically all martial and internal arts back to or back through India.

Tai Chi, Qigong (Chi Gung), Yoga, or whatever" it's all mutual. 

Types of Tai Chi

There are four main forms of Tai Chi -- Chen, Sun, Yang and Wu -- and there are many different styles within each form. No matter how different they are, each contain some of the same practices and entirely the same theories as the other. The interesting thing about Tai Chi (as opposed to practically everything in the post-modern world) is that, as long as you keep in mind certain concepts, you can't do it wrong -- you can only refine it. In this way there is constant potential to learn more from the same movement.

In Tai Chi, some movements are just variations of warrior poses, only done with a less deep stretch. And in the form I practice, there are a couple of movements that involve, or potentially involve, brushing oneself, tapping certain body parts and even a moderate stomp. I say 'potentially' because in Tai Chi there is infinite variation; change is good, being flexible and accepting of new ways to do things and new forms to practice is a big lesson. It's said that in the long form, there is a variation of every movement possible and a reflection of every martial, healing and internal art.

Bone Tapping -- a Healing Art

One of the simplest healing arts, a primal uncle of Tai Chi as I was taught, is called bone tapping. Bone tapping is about healing yourself using your own touch. The basic premise is that this practice sends vibrations father and deeper into the body, and the vibration eliminates tension and inflammation which lead to all sorts of distress and disease, allowing the body to self-correct according to its natural intelligence.

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Ethan was raised in Maine, Manhattan, and Mendocino, California. Ethan has traveled the world and has been employed as a Private Detective, a dishwasher, a valet, a snowboard instructor and always a poet. Ethan Indigo Smith (more...)

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