Meditation in tai chi

An article from The Journal of Asian Martial Arts was talking about 'Learning how to learn'. This was most interesting.

It spoke of how students come to tai chi classes in the hope of improving balance, health, lowering stress etc, and usually desire to move with grace and power. The student is quickly faced with their own limitations: stiffness, poor attention span, coordination, etc and must come to terms with the actually reality of themselves. And most people don't like this, and so they quit.

Only a few people are prepared to acknowledge that they need to improve their minds, emotions and their bodies, and that tai chi offers a terrific vehicle to accomplish this goal.
The author said that tai chi's meditation lies in this process of growing self-awareness, of seeing what is really there, and learning to work with the body - rather than remain locked in the mind, engulfed by unhelpful thoughts.

The sheer physicality of tai chi grounds the individual in the here and now. There is no pretending to be something or someone that you are not, since everything is revealed in how you move and how your body operates.

  Health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity. 

(World Health Organisation)

What is commonly being taught in a tai chi class

According to The Journal of Asian Martial Arts, most tai chi classes in the world offer solo form (a sequence of moves), and a bit of qigong. Not many classes actually do pushing hands.

Some do sword form. Occasionally, teachers speak of self defence applications. Things like 'san sau' are very, very rare, and rarer still are classes that teach anything approaching an actual martial art. 


Does tai chi involve physical contact?

Yes it does. Newcastle Tai Chi aims to provide an authentic tai chi experience.

Pushing hands (and other forms of partner work) requires you to touch other students.


 Metabolism slows down 90 percent after 30 minutes of sitting. The enzymes that move the bad fat from your arteries to your muscles, where it can get burned off, slow down. The muscles in your lower body are turned off.
And after two hours, good cholesterol drops 20 percent. Just getting up for five minutes is going to get things going again.

These things are so simple they’re almost stupid.

(Gavin Bradley)