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We started practicing and teaching Wu Style Tai Chi in 1969 At St. Mary's Hall in North Melbourne under the guidance of our Grand Master (Rocky) Kwong Ken Yue.  Master Kwong began training in Tai Chi In Hong Kong at the age of twelve and became the foremost disciple of Famed Boxer Master Chen Ting Hung.  Now a resident in Western Australia Master Kwong continues to visit and teach at the Clubs affiliated with the Australian Federation of Wu Style Tai Chi.  Master Kwong demonstrates that true Tai Chi is alive and flourishing.


WHAT IS TAI CHI?

Tai Chi is a flowing set of relaxed movements each blending into the next in a rhythmical, ballet like exercise. 

It is practised, literally by millions, young and old, morning and evening, in China and throughout the world, the primary aim being the maintenance of robust good health.  

This ancient Chinese art of body and mind harmony can be described as a combination of yoga and calisthenics.  The results of its practice include the health benefits of both, allied with the restorative effects of meditation.  It is often described as moving meditation.

Tai Chi is one of the Wu Shu (martial arts) of China but, in common with most Chinese martial arts, it aims to lengthen human life, not to shorten it.  It is practised as a life enhancing exercise for the betterment of human beings.  Traditionally in China, martial artists have also been healers because of their intimate knowledge of the body and their understanding of such things as acupuncture, massage, chiropractic, bone setting,etc. 

TAI CHI'S HISTORY

A Taoist Monk, Chang Sang-feng of about the 13th Century, is generally acknowledged as the originator of the art.  But the foundations were laid long before in remote monasteries in the form of Taoist yoga (Tao-yin).  Also we have precursors in the form of the famous "Five Animal Frolics" (Wu Chi'in Hsi) created by Hua To, a great acupuncturist and surgeon of the later Han Dynasty (25-220 A.D.) and the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" (Pa Tuan Chin) going back to the time of the Yellow Emperor around 2000 B.C.  The former, possibly the earliest form of Taoist Kung Fu, modelled after the crane, bear, monkey, deer and tiger combines health benefits with self defense.  The latter, a series of eight stretching and meditative exercises, like Chi Kung, are supplementary to Tai Chi.  Since the days of Chang San-feng, Tai Chi has been developed by succeeding masters, each leaving their own personal imprint on the art.  


HEALTH ASPECTS

Tai Chi is a Taoist exercise, and was developed to help Taoists achieve one of their major goals, namely longevity.  Stories and legends abound in China of monks living for extraordinary lengths of time, some achieving immortality and transmogrification.  This may be possible if one devotes a lifetime to rigorous self purification, however, the average person should aim at maintaining a healthy body and mind for his or her allotted span of time.

1. Circulation  of Blood 

By utilizing the "second heart" and changing postures, this helps to prevent problems such as arteriosclerosis, thrombosis and hypertension - ailments associated with old age.

2. Circulation of Chi (breath)

According to traditional Chinese medicine, blocked Chi causes disease.  Note: Blood flow and Chi flow are very closely connected.

3. Chi Kung

Overlaps 1 and 2 above in that it is concerned with breathing and oxygenating the blood and directing the chi.

4. Meditation

To help alleviate stress and tension and cultivate alpha waves in the brain.  Relaxation of the body and mind.

5. Correct Use of the Body

Whilst teaching you to use your waist, it gently lubricates the joints, stretches the muscles and twists the spine.  It also promotes balance and reflexes, and aids in preventing accidents.

6. Assimilation and Elimination

Undigested food can cause ailments such as cramps, indigestion and constipation or, more seriously, ulcers and stomach cancer.  Deep breathing and certain postures are most beneficial here.

7. Idea, Spirit and Energy

Health is much more than taking care of the body - the mind is probably even more important.  This counters psychosomatic illness, poor self image, boredom, etc,

To obtain and maintain good health, one must have a healthy lifestyle.  Basically three factors are involved.  (i) a sensible diet (ii) regular exercise, and (iii) limiting and coping with stress.

You must take a holistic approach to both your body and your lifestyle.



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