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The Genius Of Tai Chi

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posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 07:47 PM
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I'll keep this short and relatively simple.

Tai Chi is an ancient chinese art which practices slow movements.

Since I was a kid, I thought Tai Chi was the strangest of all the martial arts. Why is it so slow? What's the intention of these slow actions?

Tai Chi is brilliant because it pays attention to something that so many other thinkers in the ancient and modern world amazingly lost awareness of: the body.

When people are angry, upset, anxious, or if they suffer from bodily effects of emotional trauma, what is really happening is surprisingly lost on the person. Psychodynamics, behavioural dynamics, etc, are often emphasized, but what is of the greatest importance, is the body.

When we get upset, something happens in our physical bodies that enable the emotional flare-up. Meditate on that for a moment.

What is happening when I say the body "tenses"? Before that emotional flare up, the dorsal tract of the vagus sends out signals to the heart to speed up heart rate; the lungs are also signalled to increase breathing so as to support the oxygen needs that the "angry" brain needs to support its flare up. In addition to this, muscles are clenched. With every change in our emotional life, particularly when we experience negative affect (feelings), our physical muscles become tense.

If you are one of the many people who deals with trauma, generalized or social anxiety, monitor your muscle tone during a period of high arousal. You'll notice that you've become very tense. In fact, your muscular state UNDERLIES your emotional state of anxiety and your cognitive thought patterns.

Become aware of your muscles, and relax them. Feel the warmth in your arms, your legs, your chest. Notice a shift in your emotional state?

The key to emotional and mental healing lies in the very body.

Tai Chi has ritualized this fact by developing routines where the body moves through time in slow, mindful actions. In effect, Tai Chi rewires the brains motor networks by associating physical action with a feeling of muscular and bodily ease.




posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


This sounds very familiar as in basic yogic exercises, (aligning energy points within the body poses) breathing, stretching/stressing the internal organs to reposition themselves (balance), (liver,adrenals,stomach etc); astral body discovery (meditation), relaxation; conquest of death and the training thereof. There is a corrolation of a similar technique resulting in the same goal no? Tai Chi seems to be the child of the greater parent wisdom existing (all disaplines good and devine in natural form) the interesting thing here is that these disaplines are PURE and UNCORRUPTED.
edit on 16-12-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 08:14 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Alright, since you're doing this. Tensing and relaxing muscles is, in one form of practice pioneered by Harold Schroeppel, called effort and counter-effort. Practice tensing only specific muscles, then unclench. Clench your left hand and your right foot. Your right arm and your left foot. Then relax. Muscle after muscle, you can tense, then untense. Tense the muscle just above the knee and also your shoulder. Then relax. Tense them again, then relax.

You can practice this for 15 minutes at a time, being able to clench and unclench any muscle in your body at will. After practicing, extrovert for awhile (take a walk, do some exercise, etc). The importance of learning effort/counter effort spreads into all areas of physical and mental exercises.

I took Tai Chi long ago, and it mixed well with the data above, with the Alexander Technique, and the Feldenkrais Method, all of which I took as well and getting some good memories back as I think about them. Thanks for a good thread and for allowing space to jump in and play.
edit on 16-12-2013 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 16 2013 @ 08:26 PM
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Once you've mastered it in slow form you can speed it up, (doing it slowly teaches the body the unconscious movement) then it becomes a really deadly art, most of the really deadly techniques reside in families that carry the lineage of teaching and most are taught on swearing a death oath from what I've heard.

Some of the energetic circuits are pretty awesome in Chi Kung and really a great one to learn alongside.




posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 01:00 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Good post. Great info.

One question:



The key to emotional and mental healing lies in the very body.


Where else besides the body might healing have been? I am curious if this is a common misconception I am unaware of.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:07 AM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 





Tai Chi is an ancient chinese art which practices slow movements.


almost correct in my opinion

instead of "slow movements" I would use flowing movements.





Why is it so slow? What's the intention of these slow actions?


It is not slow, however the higher speed of the movements is mainly for strength growth.


The get into flow one must start slow.


The balance one needs in their health is easier to attain while going at a pace that is considered slow if comparing movements and speed of those movements against another martial art or style of combat that is more fast paced.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 11:46 AM
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TheSubversiveOne
reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Good post. Great info.

One question:



The key to emotional and mental healing lies in the very body.


Where else besides the body might healing have been? I am curious if this is a common misconception I am unaware of.

Some people go to a psychotherapist and get their heads fixed but unless body work is used, the body tensions will put the issues back into the mind again.
When the body cannot relax neither will the mind.


Bioenergetics is a dynamic form of therapy based on the teachings of Wilhelm Reich. It links physical pain, muscle tension, and postural disorders with state of mind, demonstrating that suppressed emotions, unhappiness, and anger can block energy-flow and cause physical distress. Dr Alexander Lowen, founder and prime mover of this therapy, analyzes common complaints such as headaches and lower-back pain and shows how they can be overcome by releasing the muscular tension that creates them. Through bioenergetic exercise, physical pain can be dissolved and emotion released, leading to a new sense of confidence and well-being. The author also wrote "Depression and the Body".
www.amazon.co.uk...



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 12:08 PM
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Here is a great video about 'Bioenergetics'.


If we live in a thinking world and lose contact with the body - we lose touch with reality.
edit on 17-12-2013 by Itisnowagain because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:19 PM
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reply to post by Itisnowagain
 





Some people go to a psychotherapist and get their heads fixed but unless body work is used, the body tensions will put the issues back into the mind again.
When the body cannot relax neither will the mind.


But a head is a part of the body is it not?



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:26 PM
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reply to post by TheSubversiveOne
 


Maybe I can help with this... We will see...



But a head is a part of the body is it not?


Yes it is. It's more so to the tune of. In the chaotic world we live, staying and keeping the body/mind grounded is more the challange.

We live in a world where we are bombarded by entertainment, media, radio waves, et cetera this in itself keep everyone moving at amazing paces. The mind is literally moving a million miles an hour "theoretically".

This is also a reason to why, people themselves can't sit in silence for very long.

To slow the body down is to slow the world around you, to ground yourself in that movement, that breathing so that everything else around you slows down as well.

Man I hope I said that right....



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 03:50 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Interesting thread. Interesting perspective. A side note. Minus the tale of tai chi being started by Taoist monks in the wu dang monetary. Tai chi started in the Chen village. It was a family system. Most of its movements are derived from northern shaolin Chang chaun. Specifically tai tzu and hong chuan styles. Some of the more internal aspects were derived from Rou chaun a soft chi gong like Kung fu from the song Shan temple. The original art however was not practiced slow or for reducing stress. It was practiced in a undulating slow I fast to slow to almost explosively fast to slow again type of movement. The whole point if practicing slow was to develop correct body posture , anatomical alignment for proper kinetic transfer etc. the fact that when practiced the yang style ( a later derivative that is was you see the old folkies doing in the park ) that it was practiced all slow, a side effect is that it us calming. But that was not its intention and you are not supposed to train tai chi to simply learn his to relax.

Personally I think all martial arts should be learned slow at first. It's easier to get faster stronger quicker if you train slowest initially. Or to quote a navy seal. " slow is smooth, and smooth is fast". Very true.
edit on 17-12-2013 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:01 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


You're right it is a child of a larger body of wisdom. Tai tzu chuan was popular by the Song Dynasty military. So popular that the emperor if the time studied tai tzu almost exclusively. He became do well known for it that the system was named after him affectionately ( tai tzu- great ancestor. ). Tai tzu was developed out if lo jia hong chuan. To see sone if this style look up xiao hong and da hong chaun. Another notable addition to tai chi came from a routine called pao chui chuan. Look up that specific routine and you will see early tai chi development. Excellent excellent routine btw.

As for the internal it was influenced by shaolin Rou chuan. Rou chuan combines yoga movements with chi gong and early lo Han chuan ( shi ba shou). So yes it is influenced by a larger body of work.

edit on 17-12-2013 by BASSPLYR because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:05 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Basically relaxation is a nice side effect but not the purpose of the art never was actually. Should look up what the Chen household was known for back in those days and It wasn't relaxing.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:45 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


Yoga as well.

I have a few books that detail how Yoga can facilitate the healing of emotional trauma. Again, it's about going into the body, relaxing and loosening muscle tone, staying aware of breathing rate, etc.

Also interesting. Most people who've experienced trauma have IBS. The body's enteric system - controlled by the vagus nerve (all sub-diaphragmatic viscera are regulated by the dorsal tract of this nerve) basically regulates digestive function in coordination with heart/lung and emotional function. The body is exquisitely integrated. It's absolutely astonishing - though thank God that that is coming to an end - that psychotherapy has payed so little attention to the role of the body in causing emotional and cognitive dysfunction.

The brain is structured hierarchically: the "reptilian" brain" i.e. the brain stem, regulates basic automatic body procesess, most of which remain unconscious to the mind (via the nucleus ambiguus tract of the vagus, the mind can become aware of the body by coopting the vagus' dorsal tracts). When emotional trauma happens, the brains autonomic networks instantiates metabolic responses so as to support increased emotional activity and cognitive awareness i.e. the vigilant response. But for some people, the body never returns to normal. The body remains tightened, the muscles contain the undischarged energy from an unfinished behavior (i.e. the fight/flight). Unbeknownst to the trauma victim, this tightening is "hidden" by the emotional and cognitive representations we create in order to relate in the world.

The only way to overcome trauma is to go into your body, become aware of the tightening in the muscles and viscera, and regulate it from there. You should also pay attention to the myriad interactions between body, emotion and mind. How a simple shift in the body - a tightening - will induce emotional and cognitive shifts; and conversely, a "tense" shift in an intersubjective communication, where some "break" in connection has occurred, will induce changes in the body (cause a tightening in the muscles).

Yoga and Tai Chi, essentially, East Asian contemplative practice, has payed attention to this fact and has utilized it to bring healing to countless people. Thank God psychology and neuroscience has caught up; its giving psychotherapists far more effective techniques to help people with depression, trauma and anxiety issues, find balance and peace in their lives.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:47 PM
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reply to post by Aleister
 


Sounds interesting. I know there are plenty of western therapeutic schools of thought which emphasize the role of the body. But people like Pat Ogden, Bassel Van der Kolk, etc, have given neuroscientific explanations for why this approach works.

Brain science truly is revolutionizing the practice of psychotherapy.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:51 PM
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reply to post by InhaleExhale
 


My mistake.

The fact that it's "sped up" also makes good sense. Practicing slow is to get the body in a relaxed and balanced condition. Speeding it up is like attuning the practice to living; living doesn't happen in slow motion, but in bursts.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by BASSPLYR
 


Thanks for the historical info.

Whether it was developed or not for relaxing the body - and so the mind - is interesting. I think intuitively, people needed ways to stay grounded, and slow movements and slow pace, whether theoretically recognized as a way to integrate the mind with the body, still had that effect.

Today it is practiced by countless people mainly for those purposes.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 07:39 PM
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reply to post by Astrocyte
 


Don't get me wrong i agree that tai chi does do exactly what your op described and it does it very well. Yang style and wu/ sun to a karge degree are practiced for just the reasons you prescribe. And yes I too enjoy some nice peaceful tai chi on a sat morning in the park. But man you gotta see some old school Chen style. It's superb. Also the applications of tai chi are very practicle. Studying the movements and meditating on their applications can be very fruitful too. Opens up a lot if how one thinks if both martial arts and the duality if the universe. It's very elegant.

Also I applaud you for looking deeper into the martial arts than what's just on the surface. It's one of those things developed for a specific purpose that turned its self into so many tools for life. It's like a Swiss Army knife that keeps growing new tools the more you look into it.

Star and flag.



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 07:53 PM
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Astrocyte
reply to post by Aleister
 


Sounds interesting. I know there are plenty of western therapeutic schools of thought which emphasize the role of the body. But people like Pat Ogden, Bassel Van der Kolk, etc, have given neuroscientific explanations for why this approach works.

Brain science truly is revolutionizing the practice of psychotherapy.


Thanks. I don't know those gentlemen, but all body work leads back to brain chemical shifts and emotions stored in the trauma-filled muscle and nervous systems. Break those knots of tenseness loose (and here Wilhelm Reich's stuff works wonders) without bothering to stare at, obsess over, and run the memories (they are secondary to the muscle and other body systems storing the stuff, read out as emotions - both subtle and major - lots of it in the head and where it's all run from).

The technique I was describing in my first post is one way to get the muscles under conscious control, being able to tighten and release, tighten and release, two or more separated areas of the body while keeping the rest of the body relaxed.

As for psychotherapy, so long as they rely on looking at and moaning about memories while not working the underlying chemical responses enough for someone to get a handle on them, they are just spinning 50 minute gold for themselves for the decades that the person will come in and moan about their lives, or try to find some answers when that particular field isn't providing right now. Tai Chi, on the other hand, is doing something about the body image and control and play with various flows within and just outside of the body.
edit on 17-12-2013 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 17 2013 @ 07:59 PM
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It's been twelve years since I first saw Tai-Chi. I didn't understand it then and even after reading this thread, I still don't get it. Guess I never will.

I'm not knocking it, if it works for you then great, it just seems weird to me. At least I read the thread and tried to understand but I missed it. To me it just looks like useless movement.





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