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Tai Chi


Tai Chi Chuan, T'ai Chi Ch'�an or Taijiquan (Traditional Chinese: 太極拳; Simplified Chinese: 太极拳; pinyin: T�ij�qu�n; literally "supreme ultimate fist"), commonly known as Tai Chi, T'ai Chi, or Taiji, is an internal Chinese martial art. There are different styles of T'ai Chi Ch'�an, although most agree they are all based on the system originally taught by the Chen family to the Yang family starting in 1820. It is often promoted and practiced as a martial arts therapy for the purposes of health and longevity, sometimes even to the point of being taught exclusively as an exercise technique ignoring martial applications entirely (some recent medical studies support its effectiveness). T'ai Chi Ch'�an is considered a soft style martial art, an art applied with deep relaxation or "softness" in the musculature as possible, to distinguish its theory and application from that of the hard martial art styles which use a degree of tension in the muscles.

Variations of T'ai Chi Ch'uan's basic training forms are well known as the slow motion routines that groups of people practice every morning in parks across China and other parts of the world. Traditional T'ai Chi training is intended to teach awareness of one's own balance and what affects it, awareness of the same in others, an appreciation of the practical value in one's ability to moderate extremes of behavior and attitude at both mental and physical levels, and how this applies to effective self-defense principles.

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