The softer side of martial arts - Metro US

The softer side of martial arts

The first thing Kim Grant wishes to establish is that T’ai chi Chih is not a martial art, but instead a practice developed as a more accessible and calmer side kick to T’ai Chi, whose 108 moves are difficult for many to remember.

“In a nut shell, the difference between the two is like looking at T’ai Chi as war and T’ai Chi Chih as peace, where one is very a combat sport the other is softness at its core.”

In essence, T’ai Chi Chih stands for knowledge of the supreme ultimate.

The aim is for you to be able to activate, circulate and balance the “chi” also known as your vital force, intrinsic energy and intuition.

Grant explains how most people suffer from a chi that is out of balance and not circulating efficiently around the body.

The very simple sets of 19 moves, and the way they are carried out —whereby the body weight is slowly shifted in controlled direction — help drive the circulation of the chi around the entire body.

Most moves are done nine times on the left side of the followed by the right to get the correct balance and the act of repetition solidifies them in your body.

“The 19 moves are performed one after the other for 40 minutes, with a resting pose in between each one in order for all the energy to come back together as when we move, the energy separates,” explains Grant. “A simple but deceptively powerful set of moves.”

Grant says that the great thing about T’ai Chi Chih is that you don’t have to understand it mentally to get it.

“Put away all your thoughts about that it’s supposed to be and just let your moves be all about flow, grace and slowness. The mix of mediation and movement that focuses on balance and the circulation of energy brings spiritual, physical and psychological benefits.”

Dr. Helen Lavretsky, professor of psychiatry at U.C.L.A found that adding weekly T’ai Chi classes to the standard treatment of depression improved mood, anxiety, resilience, physical functioning, but also cognitive performance and inflammation. “All of these areas are very important in daily functioning of older adults with depression who may not respond well to the antidepressant drugs alone.”

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