Sunday, March 7, 2010

Tai Chi: Panacea Means "Cure-All"

Of the four branches of Chinese medicine,
I begin with the Chi Kung (Qi Gong) branch
because it is my specialty. In 2003, I began
learning under Grandmaster Victor Sheng Long Fu.
In that time, I have spent well over $30,000,
read & studied texts voraciously, and
practiced, practiced, practiced my brains out.
At different periods, I practiced more than
six hours a day. I've made a lot of progress :)

Kung Fu simply means "extensive practice."
Chi Kung means "energy practice." There are
10,000 kinds of Qi Gong; but essentially,
Qi Gong is an inward focus on posture and
breathing. Mostly it requires movement, but
sometimes it's just "standing," or holding a
special position. The Shaolin monks even
practice "Iron Qi Gong," which hardens their
bodies almost unbelievably. I personally
invite you to check out Iron Qi Gong on, but I beg you not to read about
Qi Gong on Wikipedia (it's a train wreck,
clustered with controversy and hyperbole).

The most important and developed forms of
Qi Gong are the internal martial arts such as
Tai Chi and BaGuaZhang. Do not shy away
from them because they're related to "fighting."
Energy practice of this kind is the most powerful
means to optimize your health. As my teacher's
father, Fu Wing Fay, once said,
"Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of profound art where
you use your intent (mind) and not your strength.
Therefore Tai Chi should not be looked upon as
any kind of martial art. To look at it as such
would deprive it of its art value and its
philosophical foundation."

The practice of Tai Chi fixes the entire body.
It mobilizes the joints and stretches them in all
three planes, enabling far greater balance and
mobility. The waist turning principle of Tai Chi
massages the internal organs, while the slow,
uber-relaxing movements ward-off stress and
soothe the mind. The postural practice 
emphasizes moving the body weight onto the
bones and connective tissue instead of the muscles.
This in turn stresses and twists the bones, which
stimulates the immune system (white blood cells
are produced in the bone marrow). The deep
breathing technique called "Taoist Breathing"
does such amazing and wonderful things for
the body that I still have yet to understand them.

All told, proper practice of Tai Chi will repair
damaged joints, boost all aspects of athleticism
and keep you from getting sick. If you go find
the list of ailments that people claim Tai Chi
can fix, you will start to believe it's the panacea
(cure-all) the world has been searching for.

To start practicing your chi-energy: