Tai chi is a martial art that has been practiced for centuries in China and is becoming increasingly popular around the world. The Chen style of tai chi is the oldest of the five primary styles and is renowned for its dynamic and energetic approach.
Learning Chen-style tai chi for beginners can be an excellent way to improve strength, balance, and flexibility, while also reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
In this article, we'll explore the benefits of learning Chen style tai chi for beginners and provide some tips on how to get started. Let's get started!
An Introduction to Chen-Style Tai Chi For Beginners
Chen-style tai chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that has been practiced since the 17th century. It's one of the oldest and most dynamic forms of tai chi, with its unique combination of hard and soft movements that emphasize balance, power, and grace.
It's a powerful and energetic martial art, based on the principles of yin and yang, as well as the five elements. It is also a form of martial qigong and incorporates elements of qigong, standing meditation, and martial applications.
Chen-style tai chi for beginners is most commonly practiced solo, although some forms of the art can be practiced in groups. It uses fluid movements that are powerful, yet gentle and relaxed.
It's a low-impact form of exercise that helps to improve the body’s balance and strength, while calming the mind and improving mental focus. It's an excellent form of exercise for all ages, and can be adapted for practitioners of all levels.
Benefits of Practicing Chen-Style Tai Chi
Practicing Chen-style tai chi for beginners can bring a variety of physical, mental and emotional benefits. It is a low-impact form of exercise that helps to improve balance and strength, while calming the mind and improving mental focus.
It can help to reduce stress and anxiety, while increasing energy levels and promoting overall well-being. Regular practice can help to improve breathing, posture and coordination, and also reduce discomfort from certain physical conditions such as arthritis and chronic pain.
The practice of Chen-style tai chi for beginners can also help to improve clarity of thought and emotional balance. It's a great form of exercise for practitioners of all levels, and it can be adapted even for those with physical limitations.
The martial aspect of the art can be beneficial for self-defense, as well. It isn't quite as pronounced and there are loads of other, better options, like BJJ or muay Thai, but it still serves that purpose decently well.
Get Ready to Learn the Basics
As the oldest of the five primary tai chi styles, Chen-style's rich and insightful history dates back to the 17th century in Chen Village, Henan Province of China.
As per the extensive historical tai chi research by the famous Chinese martial arts historian Tang Hao, the Chen family was practicing their unique form of martial arts, which became the Chen family style of tai chi.
Before your practice of Chen-style tai chi for beginners, take the time to learn the basics. It is recommended to find a qualified instructor who can guide you through the movements and introduce you to the principles of the art.
Beginner classes are generally available at most martial arts schools, or you can look for a private instructor.
Don't forget to make sure that you have the right clothing and equipment too! You'll need loose-fitting clothing that allows free movement of the arms, legs and body. Great supportive footwear is also a must, like specially-designed martial arts shoes or low-profile sneakers.
Mastering the Movements
Once you have the basics down, you can get right on down to mastering the movements. Chen-style tai chi for beginners incorporates a variety of movements that range from simple and slow, to complex and powerful, and it'll take a lot of dedication on your part to really get the gist of them.
Forms, or Taolu, as they are commonly known, are choreographed movements that imitate actual martial arts moves and serve as a means of training. This method of training is prevalent in many martial arts and allows individuals to practice alone when they do not have a training partner.
Chen-style tai chi for beginners is lush and full of insight, but it's actually not as detailed as it once was. It started with seven different forms, but now only two forms remain: the First Routine and the Second Routine.
The Second Routine, also known as Cannon Fist Fist, is less popular than the First Routine, but it's also more complicated and much harder, often suitable only for more advanced practitioners.
Practice each of these forms slowly and accurately, making sure to apply the correct posture, alignment and balance.
It may be difficult at first to remember the movements and to coordinate them into a smooth, flowing sequence. With practice and patience though, they'll become easier and more natural.
Building Balance and Strength
One of the main benefits of practicing Chen-style tai chi for beginners is the improvement in balance and strength. The movements require the practitioner to balance and center the body, while engaging the core muscles and strengthening the legs.
As the movements become more comfortable and natural, the balance and strength will improve.
Practice each movement with full awareness of the body and proper alignment. With each practice session, the body will learn how to coordinate the movements and become more balanced and powerful.
Chen-style tai chi for beginners is known for its powerful and energetic movements. To achieve the full dynamic potential of the art, inject energy into your practice.
This energy, also known as "chi," is an essential part of the art and can be cultivated through proper breathing and focusing on the movements.
Take time to focus on the flow of the movement and the sensation of the energy as it flows through the body.
Breathe deeply and slowly, and focus on the movements while maintaining a relaxed and natural posture. With practice and patience, you will be able to feel the energetic flow and power of the art.
Enjoying the Flow of Chen-Style Tai Chi
Chen-style tai chi is comprised of two main routines, each with their own distinct variations: Old Frame and New Frame.
Old Frame, as the name implies, is the older system of the two. Its movements are characterized by larger circles and less visible movement in the waist. This style emphasizes the importance of relaxed movements, and it is considered a great foundation for beginners.
New Frame, on the other hand, focuses heavily on movements that initiate from the dantian and waist. Its spirals and circular motions are more compact, making it a more challenging variation.
This style emphasizes the importance of controlling the body's energy flow, and is therefore more commonly practiced by advanced practitioners.
Remember, Chen-style tai chi for beginners is a powerful and energetic art, but it can also be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.
As you become more comfortable with the movements and the flow of the practice, you will be able to enjoy the sensation of the energy that flows through the body.
So take the time to appreciate the beauty of each movement and to experience the harmony of the body and mind. When practiced with awareness and focus, the practice of Chen-style tai chi for beginners can be a deeply rewarding experience.
Achieving Success with Your Practice
Once you've mastered the basics of Chen-style tai chi for beginners, continue to practice and develop your skills. Take the time to focus on each movement and to cultivate the energy that flows through the body.
With regular practice, you'll be able to experience the full power and potential of the art.
Chen-style tai chi for beginners is an excellent practice for improving balance, strength and overall well-being. With patience and dedication, you can experience its many benefits and enjoy the flow of the art.
Curious about other martial arts? Check out BJJ here!