Tai chi for fitness
Cross training tai chi
     

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Cross training

School members who are seeking a more challenging workout can ask to study 'tai chi for fitness'.
This is a more comprehensive syllabus which includes:

  1. Standing qigong (various)

  2. Moving qigong (4 sets)

  3. Long Yang form

  4. Balls & grips

  5. Cardio work (HIIT) (2 sets)

  6. Core strength (3 sets)

  7. Leg stretches (2 sets)

  8. Psoas exercises (4)

  9. Self-massage

  10. Taoist Yoga (4 sets)

  11. Weight training (if appropriate)


Tai chi for health

Faced with a major health crisis in the 1950's, the People's Republic of China turned to Yang style taijiquan for a solution.
They wanted a form of exercise that could be performed by students of all ages.
The simplest way to achieve this was to remove the more demanding fitness component and the kung fu (combat).
Most modern tai chi classes are teaching an Art that an old person could cope with...
By definition this cannot conceivably be a martial art.



More than health

Tai chi for health offers a mild introduction to exercise; making it perfect for anyone who is seeking to improve their health and wellbeing.
The syllabus is concerned with health rather than fitness.
Being healthy and being fit are two entirely different concerns... being healthy must come first.


Healthy

Being healthy is all about feeling good, relaxed and at ease.
Aches and pains fade.
Your body is well-coordinated, mobile and comfortable to move around in. 


Fitness

Fitness is different to health.
Being fit entails a wider range of concerns e.g. increased flexibility, suppleness, strength, cardiovascular health/fitness, agility...
These considerations are only addressed at length in the tai chi for fitness curriculum.
They may be too demanding for somebody who is out of shape.


Fitness level

We reserve the right to decline 'tai chi for fitness' tuition if we feel that a student is physically unable to study tai chi for fitness safely.
Rachel will always act with the
wellbeing of the student in
mind.
Insurance regulations prohibit a student from training material that is unsuitable for their fitness/ability level.
Tai chi for health will be offered instead.


3 areas of fitness

Tai chi for fitness training considers 3 areas of
fitness:

  1. Physical wellbeing
    - strength
    - power
    - agility
    - balance
    - flexibility
    - stamina
    - endurance
    - coordination

     

  2. Mental wellbeing
    - self-awareness
    - the capacity to let-go
    - the ability to adapt, change & improvise

     

  3. Emotional wellbeing
    - calm
    - detached
    - comfortable
    - without fear

    - being honest with yourself


Challenges

If you want to become fit, it is important to recognise that the training will become increasingly harder.
At some stage you pass through a capacity barrier and it will no longer feel difficult.
But that may well be months away.
Be patient and train at home between lessons.
 

A person who is considered to be fit in the West may be able to do over 100 push-ups, run a marathon, possess a beautiful, muscular physique – and yet not be internally healthy. 
He or she may have a bad back, damaged joints, liver problems, unbalanced emotions, an inability to handle stress and sexual weakness or dysfunction.


(Bruce Frantzis)


Harsh training?

Strenuous training methods such as gym work, running or sit-ups are not part of the tai chi repertoire.
Many exercises actually create muscle tension, and this impedes the natural movement of the muscle itself.
The less easily a muscle can move, the less effectively it works.


Punishing the body?

Some people attend the gym having never exercised before...
They are given a dumbbell for the first time in their life and persuaded by a 20 year old personal trainer to perform a series of strenuous exercises.
The activity is mentally unstimulating, the 'motivational' music is too loud, their body is unaccustomed to gym work.

If they are fortunate the individual becomes bored and stops training.
If they persist they may get a rotator cuff injury.


Unsuitable exercise?

50 year olds undertake military-style 'boot camp' training that was designed for 18 year olds.
Other people with very poor body awareness can be seen running down the street in a very unhealthy manner.
Is this really what they should be doing?


Moderation

It is OK to train a wide range of exercise methods without ruining your health.
The key thing is moderation.
Avoid over-doing it: over-stretching, straining or exerting.
Be mindful of posture, poise and tension.


Take your time

Being in condition entails:

• Increasing your strength
• Improving your ability to last (endurance)
• Overcoming fatigue 
• Being fitter
• Being more efficient in your body use
• Being more capable
• Overcoming stress


Energised

A committed regime of on-going tai chi for fitness training transforms your health.
Your body becomes stronger, more mobile, balanced, flexible and supple.
Stamina and awareness improve significantly.
Energy levels are boosted.
 

Tai chi addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning.

(Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publication, May 2009)

Robust

Your immune system grows stronger.
The common viruses, colds, flus and diseases that are making the rounds often have little effect upon you.


How does a fit person move?

A healthy person is akin to a cat:

  1. Nimble

  2. Agile

  3. Coordinated 

  4. Graceful

  5. Balanced

  6. Mentally sharp

  7. Aware

  8. Calm

  9. Clear

  10. Fluid

They can squat with ease, get up without groaning, without effort.
They do not have a bad back, stiff shoulders, stiff neck, headaches or bad knees.
Their footfalls are light, they can move freely and spontaneously...

More...


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Page created 26 August 1994
Last updated 23 May 2017