Taijiquan, also known as Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi for short, is the Chinese shadow boxing. The martial arts was developed in the ancient empire of China. Today, the health-promoting technology is practiced by several million people worldwide. In China, the movements (forms) of Taijiquan are the traditional folk sport.

What is Taijiquan?

Taijiquan, also known as Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Chi for short, is the Chinese shadow boxing.

Taijiquan (Chinese: 太極拳 / 太极拳, pronunciation: tʰâid̥ʑ̥ǐtɕʰɥɛ̌n) was originally an "inner" martial art. It was trained for armed and unarmed melee. Today it is usually a system of gymnastics or kinematics. It is for health, personality development and meditation. The combat aspect recedes more and more often.

Different schools and styles focus on basic exercises and individual movements. These include breathing and stance exercises as well as meditations while standing. First, the principles of movement of Taijiquan are learned. The joints are loosened and the entire body relaxed. Gradually, the posture will be corrected and unfavorable loads avoided.

The "Qi" (pronunciation: Ch'i) has a central meaning in Taijiquan. It should flow while practicing and multiply. The Chinese believe that every human being is richly endowed with chi from birth. However, chi decreases more and more with age. The movements should be relaxed and flowing. The practitioner should learn to perceive and control qi. Practitioners describe the sensation of chi as a flow of energy that they can circulate in the body or send to specific parts of the body. This ability is used to maintain health, body control and should be applicable in combat.

Function, effect & goals

German Taijiquan schools and teachers emphasize different aspects of martial arts. Most people practice it for health reasons, for relaxation and meditation. Few followers practice Taijiquan for self-defense, martial arts or life.

Since 2003, the German umbrella organization for Qigong and Taijiquan e. V. (DDQT). Most representatives of Taijiquan are affiliated to the association. He formulated uniform training guidelines for Taijiquan teachers. These have integrated the health insurance funds in their guidelines for the implementation of § 20 SGB V and assume the costs of Taijiquan courses in whole or in part.

In Taijiquan, there is no graduation system, such as belt colors in judo. There is no standardized clothing either. Recommended are light, comfortable clothing and shoes with a thin, flat sole. At the center of the practice are one or more forms of clearly defined sequences of flowing movements. Many forms represent the fight against an imaginary opponent. The form is practiced synchronously in the group.

A form consists of several individual movements or "pictures". The names of the pictures indicate either the movement (eg Fersenkick left), the movement character (eg simple whip) or are poetically meant (eg The white crane spreads its wings).

Many shapes are named after the number of pictures, eg the 24-picture-form. The longest forms consist of more than 100 images. Depending on the number of images and speed, a mold takes a few minutes to an hour and a half. Taijiquan forms are usually performed slowly and quietly.

The central principle in Taijiquan is softness. The movements should be natural, relaxed, relaxed and flowing, and executed with a minimum of strength. The slowness should allow the movements to be carried out correctly. The Taijiquan fighter does not respond to enemy attacks with counter techniques. He should use the power of the opponent and steer against it.

In Taijiquan, the body should be "relaxed, " not that the muscles are limp. Only the muscles that are important for a movement are tense. The breathing should be deep and relaxed and of course flow. In abdominal breathing, the respiratory rate is lower than in the chest breathing. Beginners learn to let the breath flow freely and to adapt to the movements.

The movements should be carried out attentively and consciously. The practitioner should evenly divide his concentration between the perception of his own body and the environment.

10 basic rules:

  • Keep your head relaxed and upright
  • Bring the chest back and back upright
  • Let the cross and waist loose
  • Keep emptiness and fullness apart (distribute weight correctly)
  • Hang shoulders and elbows
  • Use Yi (intention, intention) instead of muscle power
  • Coordinate above and below
  • Find harmony between inside and outside
  • Perform fluid movements without interruptions
  • Practice in quiet movements

Special features and dangers

Exercise exercises play an important role in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The goal is to increase the Qi and to make the body and meridians permeable. For this purpose, Qigong and Taijiquan are used. The exercises are practiced preventively to maintain general mental and physical health for as long as possible.

They are less used for the targeted treatment of diseases or complaints. The positive effects of Taijiquan on health are far more comprehensive than the effects of other sports activities. Clinical studies show that Taijiquan has a positive effect on physical and mental health, such as cardiovascular, immune system, pain, balance, flexibility, body control and strength. Risks and side effects of Taijiquan are unknown.

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