I have been a student at the Ji Hong Tai Chi school for a year, and I would like to share my thoughts and feelings about the school and Tai Chi in general.
Before I started taking classes here, I researched and tried a few other schools to see which one could better offer what I wanted. I was looking for a systematic approach, a real school experience. I wanted to start as a novice, gradually learn and grow, and expand my knowledge together with my peers. Here, I found what I was looking for, and much more. When I started this journey, I could not have ever predicted what I would discover about myself or about the role that Tai Chi would play in my life.
I absolutely love the school. I am always looking forward to my next class and I am ready to come here as often as possible. I am grateful to all my teachers and everyone who helps me learn and understand, when that is what I need, for being patient and nonjudgmental, and not to mention, very knowledgeable. I love the friendly atmosphere here and feel at home.
Tai Chi is very diverse. It can address your various needs and wants. Whether you need gentle exercises, want to improve your memory and concentration, or challenge yourself with learning new things. For me, studying Tai Chi provides all of the above and more. From the beginning, I felt that I was entering a new world, and I was amazed by how great, beautiful, and intricate it was. Every time I come to class, I am excited about learning new forms, improving my
technique and gradually, step by step, going further and deeper. The most important feeling, though, is that for a while I leave my hectic life outside the room, and there is nothing here except for this slow, gracious movement and me. It evokes a sense of harmony, creates inner balance, and at that moment I realize what stillness in motion means.
I would also like to say a few words about the health benefits of Tai Chi. I am not a medical professional, so I can only share my experience. I always assumed that a person can truly feel the effects of Tai Chi only after achieving a much higher level than I have, a level I might even never reach. I know, that I have a long way to go. For now, I am just trying to learn the forms, to refine them, and I find this to be very interesting and rewarding. Furthermore, I have a chronic medical condition, and my blood tests repeatedly showed that. It could have been dangerous, but I decided not to dwell on that. It is what it is. To my surprise the latest test results were negative, which was hard for me to believe. Thinking about this, I decided that if my health problem started after a period of severe stress, why couldn’t my current, happier state affect me in such a positive way. Learning Tai Chi gives me so many positive emotions that it is only logical to attribute my health improvement to it.
I like to think of Tai Chi as my companion, my friend, whom I can always rely upon. It will be with me as long as I want it to be; loyal, patient and wise, and always by my side. I have a long journey ahead of me, and I am looking forward to every step of it!
I am a Psychiatrist and the modern approach to Mental Health considers three domains of the human being. This model is called: Bio-Psycho- Social.
Bio is for Biological and pertains the brain and the body in general, tissues and cells with their intricate chemical components and interactions.
The Psychological area relates to the Mind, the way we are shaped by our history and the way we feel about ourselves and construct a future.
The Social sphere, which overlaps in a good degree with the Psychological, focuses on how individuals relate to others, their communities and societies. How personal principles and values interact with their world.
Tai Chi practice holds very similar principles. The Body learns the moves of the form, the muscles relax to reach a combination of soft and strong. Grounding gives the body roots. The body aligns to maximize power. The Psychological aspect relates to concepts of intention, grounding and self confidence. The Social is represented by the relationship the Tai Chi practitioner relates to it’s space, the surroundings, and the relationship to others as shown in it’s greater extent in “Pushing Hands” but also in the group practice.
I can see how Tai Chi can have and influence in health in general and Mental heath in particular. Emerging research shows positive effects in balance, preventing falls. On osteoarticular problems, perhaps through the moving the energy and the body, and reaching a proper alignment.
Psychological benefits may be extracted by the student gaining self confidence, developing a sense of purpose and the discipline to achieve it.
The Social benefit is to learn to perceive, negotiate and gain mastery in our own space and how it relates to the space close and beyond the body, and the presence and energy of others.
I’ve been practicing Tai Chi for many years under Sifu Bao Sen Liang’s wise guidance. I’ve learnt (and keep learning) that beyond the mechanical form, his teachings help me relate better with my body, with my mind and with my surroundings. I find this powerful and extremely helpful for my physical health my psychological wellbeing and my effectiveness at work.