Showing posts with label Martial Arts. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Martial Arts. Show all posts

Friday, May 18, 2018

Tai Chi History

Tai Chi - Photo: Pixabay
Tai Chi, also known as Tai Chi Chuan, was handed down from different generations since its creation by Chang San-Feng. It was during the Sung Dynasty that this was introduced and from that moment on, there were numerous accounts of the form. 

The form, or Kung chia in the Chinese language, are the different movements made through Tai Chi. One of the most common and famous forms is the manipulation of the snake and the crane fighting. Master Chang, one of the advocates, copied this kind of fighting style and transformed it into a softer version of their coiling movements. The form that was developed had 13 postures that correspond with the trigrams and the Five Elements.

Master Chang’s lineage was not clear but what historians know is that he is a certain Chiang Fah. Chiang’s form was taught to a young man named as Chen Wang Ting. Chen was known to practice the art of Tai Chi in 1644. Descendants of Chen Wang Ting practiced their family form. Some of the characteristics of their form are done with an emphasis on low stances, a silk-reeling move, and fast movements and were practiced periodically.  

Tai Chi that was formed by the Chen family was secretly practiced and no one was allowed to use it outside of their home. But during the time of Chen Chang Hsin, which was in the year 1800, the tradition broke. He taught all of his family Tai Chi secrets and styles to his student, Yang Lu Chan.

The modern-day Yang style came from the grandson of Yang Lu Chan named Yang Cheng Fu. This paved the way to introduce one of the longest accounts in the history of Tai Chi. Its form consists of 128 postures. It is characterized by the warding off of energy using leaning movements with slow-motion techniques.

The generation of the Yang family taught their students the techniques on Tai Chi. The masters chose their earnest students and made a lineage that gave birth to other styles namely Sun, Wu, and Hao. These styles may differ in the way they are portrayed and the performance differs as well but the principles that were observed by Chang San Feng remains the same. 

There was this one student of Yang Cheng Fu named Cheng Man Ching. Cheng became the master of his own generation because of the revisions that he made with Tai Chi Chuan. One of the most famous changes that he made was shortening the form to a 37-posture Tai Chi. This is a change made by Cheng is now the most famous form of Tai Chi that is practiced to this day. 



When Cheng came to the U.S., he tried to teach and took on the interest of some students in all aspects of life. By doing so, he made the form popular to every men and woman. This new form introduced by Cheng is originally known as the Yang Style in the shorter form. It becomes widespread, today, it is more popular with the name Cheng Style of Tai Chi. 

The form of Cheng’s Tai Chi is characterized by an upright spine position, rolling back of energy and a softness that has its powerful attitude. 

Taoism is the main contributor to the idea why, in the first place, Tai Chi was formed. This is because Taoism reflects teachings that fundamentally contribute to the reflective, mystic and serene view of the world and the nature we live in. 



Thursday, March 1, 2018

Knowing the basics of AIKIDO

Martial Arts - Photo: Pixabay
Aikido is one of the oldest forms of martial arts. Founded by Morihei Ueshiba, aikido came about through the studies of many different kinds of traditional martial arts. In fact, is often perceived as a form of exercise or a dance because of some of its forms. It is also viewed by some quarters as some form of martial mesmerism. 

Aikido is even confused with Daito Ryu Aikijutsu, it is different in its essence. Still, its founder attributed his creation of aikido to the way, his master Sokaku Takeda, grandmaster of Daito Ryu, opened his eyes to the nature of Budo.

What is aikido?

Despite its many perceived forms, aikido is a Budo or martial arts. It is the refinement of the techniques that are being taught in traditional martial arts and is combined with a philosophy that calls on for the power of the spirit. In its essence, it is a blending of the body and the mind. 

Its philosophy is basically derived from the belief that deceptions and trickery or brute force will not make us defeat our opponents. Instead, a concentration that involves the spirit will be enough to strengthen us. 

Aikido is also used as a way to discover our true paths so that we can develop our individuality. It also teaches its practitioners to unify their body and their mind so that they will become in harmony with the “universe” and with nature. Their power and their strength will come from this balance and harmony.   

The word “universe” in aikido is not some obscure concept that one cannot achieve. It is actually quite concrete and is even within the grasp of the person. In aikido, “universe” can be achieved through actual experiences and everyday life. 

Aikido’s movements and techniques are circular. When a circle is created in aikido, the person is said to be protected from a collision from an opposing force. A firm center, however, is needed to create this circle. An example of a firm circle is a spinning top that turns at fast speed. Without a firm center, the speed of movement will only create an imbalance. The stillness of the spinning top while in speeding motion is what is called sumikiri in Aikido language. This is achieved only by what Aikido founder calls “total clarity of mind and body.” However, this is not so easily achieved. It takes a long time of study and practice in order to find this intense concentration and centeredness. 

Training is important in aikido as well as concentration because while it may be easy to create a centered being when inside a martial arts gym, the same cannot be said of situations and circumstances outside. It will not be easy to keep one’s composure when faced with extraordinary circumstances. This is actually one of the goals of Aikido training. It aims to teach its practitioners to maintain their composure and their centeredness even in panic situations such as danger and calamities.     

   

One method taught in aikido is to breathe with what is called the Seika tanden point. This is the part of the body that can be found two inches below the navel. Controlled breathing is one key to being one with the universe and to center oneself with nature. When a person learns to do this, he or she will feel the extraordinary calmness that they can use in the practice of aikido.