Tai Chi is a form of soft style martial arts that involves the mind-body. Originating in China, it has developed from self-defense to graceful forms of exercise using flowing movements. Incorporating the main elements of Martial Arts, Meditation and Health, it is practiced as a stress reducer while promoting serenity and clarity to bring about a calmness of mind.
There are 5 main branches of Tai Chi Chuan: Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun being the most popular with a number of variations. Some focus on the more physical martial art, others focus on health maintenance and stress reduction. With the many different possible positions and movement found among the various forms, tai chi is connected through rhythm, movement and breath.
The tai chi philosophy centers on the yin and yang – the Chinese concept of opposing forces within the body, and qi – life force or vital energy. Practicing tai chi aids the flow of qi with its healthy balance of yin and yang. Used as a meditation, Tai Chi harmonizes body and mind, allowing the practitioner to focus on the present.
- How did Hawkins Cheung learn Tai Chi?
- Hawkins began his studies in Tai Chi Wu style under instructor Wu Ta-k’uei, a descendent from the original founder Wu Chien Chuan, in Hong Kong in the 1950s. He was curious about “pushing hands” and its difference in variation to Wing Chun’s “sticking hands”. In his research and findings, he learned Wu style application first while still in Hong Kong under Wu Ta-k’uei. This is unlike the traditional means of learning tai chi, applying the application (how to fight) before learning each form and pose. However, after coming to the US, Hawkins studied the traditional Wu Long Form in the Park from instructors. Today he has learned to relate them all as one.