Batz Tai Chi and Health

by Master Marlon Ma

The benefits of Batz Tai Chi for health can lengthen your life as well as improve its quality. A healthy mind and body work together when practicing Batz Tai Chi. The five important aspects of the practice of this martial art are listed and explained below.

Stationary Meditation

The brain is our body’s headquarters and its activity waves sometimes speed too fast or too slow throughout the body. With messages from the brain moving at the wrong natural pace the body cannot reach an internal balance. For this reason the quite Tai Chi exercise of stationary meditation is the most important way to allow your brain to calm itself and find its own natural, quiet balance. When your mind is quiet then you will find a balance between the mind and body; brain waves and body waves coordinate and connect in smooth harmony. Such a balance allows you to understand yourself and become more confident.

In martial arts we say that you should know yourself first, then know your enemy. In this way the fighter never loses the battle because he knows himself and has overcome himself and any internal disharmony.

Relaxation Exercises

Soft, relaxing exercise uses with very little of the body’s power slowly, gradually warms up your body. When the body is warm and relaxed ligaments loosen. At birth a baby’s ligaments are very soft and as we age our ligaments gradually become harder and harder. When the body becomes harder and more rigid the circulation is affected and movement is slowed down. So before we do the main exercises in Batz Tai Chi we must do warm-up and soft relaxing exercises to get out of the stiff, hard, slow movements caused by aging. We work at this stage of Batz Tai Chi to extend the ligaments and increase their durability, flexibility, and range. In this way we are working against aging process. We are trying to prevent ligaments from getting old and hard. Through such relaxing exercises life can be extended and your daily movement will be more youthful.

Stretching Exercises

Stretching exercises in Batz Tai Chi are one step more that the Relaxation exercises because you need to use a little more of the body’s energy combined with patient practice. The human body has power depending on the bones and ligaments and their structure. So in martial arts we say that for internal practice you must practice the chi (breathing), while the outside you work with the ligaments, bones, and skin. In this old saying we really find the true meaning of kung-fu because kung-fu is not focused on muscles, but rather on the structures and flexibility of ligament, bones, and skin. For this reason the stretching exercises that deal with ligament, bone, and skin are the most important in Batz Tai Chi training.

The additional purpose of stretching is to let the body’s internal pressure points (the meridians along which the body’s electrical impulses are believed to run along, according to traditional Chinese medicine) become smoother, flatter, and straighter. Such stretching helps electric the meridians are twisted or jammed the result will be pain, numbness, stiffness, or bad circulation, which can also lead to other sicknesses entering the body. Through stretching the meridians open up and chi and blood flow freely, allowing the ligaments to become more durable and allowing muscles to become more elastic and extend further. Such durabilility and elasticity combine to make the body stronger.

Breathing Exercises

In practicing Batz Tai Chi we view the body as our first life and breathing as the second life. Chi and blood circulate together in the body, so when the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body is most efficient, the body can keep healthy. In Chinese we say that “one hundred types of sickness cannot enter” to mean that a person has good resistance to sickness. To achieve this this is important that breathing combined with movement be practiced so that internal organs become softer and more efficient and so that circulation is the best it can be. Breathing exercises are combined with movement in Batz Tai Chi as a form of self-massage of the internal organs which can also increase circulation. The result is that you will feel more youthful and you will live longer.

Tai Chi Chuan and Usage

Tai Chi theory was begun about 7000 years ago by the Fu Shi Tzu though its origin can also be traced from the Tao. The name Tai Chi Chuan was used for the past 300 years and can be traced to Northern Style Long Fist (Sung dynasty emperor’s longfist). Through many years others have interpreted Tai Chi movements, giving us today’s Tai Chi styles of Chen, Yang, Wo, Wu, and Sun. Basically Tai Chi types today can be broken into four categories of styles and use. Soft, slow Tai Chi movements are used for health purposes while fast styles are used for fighting. Similarly, hard, strong Tai Chi movements are used for defense purposes while rough, explosive Tai Chi movements are designed for aggressive, attack purposes. Today Tao and Chuan (fist) are combined to form Tai Chi Chuan, a new combination of modern and ancient styles, drawing the best from both.

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