I'm a relative amateur at Tai Chi Chuan, less than 25 years at this point. Though it is a martial art, there are a multitude of reasons for learning Tai Chi Chuan.
I'm currently teaching classes here in Jefferson City, Missouri. We meet Thursdays at 7:00 pm. I spend time on basic Chi Kung exercises and tai chi walking as well as teaching the basic 24 form. For students who want to learn more, I can do the traditional Chen Ming Ching version of the Yang Style.
I prefer the short form because I can almost always find time every day to perform it at least once. I've met a number of folks over the years who have chastised me for not learning the long form. When I ask them to show it to me, however, they usually make some sort of excuse about not having enough time to keep in practice. If you have a day job, you are not likely to be able to spend an hour a day working on your form. But if you can spend 10 or 15 minutes doing a complete, albeit short, form, you will gain the benefits of Tai Chi Chuan.
I wrote an article discussing eight basics of Tai Chi Chuan, which was published in Black Belt several years ago. There is also a poem discussing or describing the opening move of a sword form. I also make wooden swords and sabres and have available an abundance of hickory saplings to make staves from.
I'm working on reviews of books and videos about Tai Chi Chuan.
I am into one "true" martial art, though these days it hardly counts, since it is a western martial art and not something imported from asia: Fencing. Actually, these days fencing is a sport, and has been since 1896, when it was one of the events at the first modern Olympics. It's one of the few sports which have been in every Olympics since then. There aren't many duels these days, nontheless, the traditions of this sport go directly back to the days when sword fighting was a martial art that one's life depended on.
I have found that practicing Tai Chi Chuan helps my fencing quite a bit. After nearly 20 years of not doing any fencing, but instead doing Tai Chi Chuan almost daily, I found that I was able to pick up foil, sabre or epee and hold my own.
a good link for videos of tai chi: www.taiji.de/taiji/head5e/index.htm
Last update: September 2008.
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