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T’ai Chi Chih® is a new form of ‘Chi Kung’ discipline; that is, one that is concerned with the development, circulation and balance of the Vital Force that is the body’s intrinsic energy (Chi).
It is called “Joy Through Movement,” and this moving meditation is a means of spiritual cultivation, and an aid to greater health and longevity. T’ai Chi Chih® is literally ‘Knowledge of Reality’ or ‘Knowing the Supreme Ultimate.’ T’ai Chi is a synonym for ‘Tao,” which is usually translated as ‘Supreme Ultimate’ or ‘The Way’— and the Chinese word ‘Chih’ means ‘Knowledge’ or ‘Knowing.’
In the early 1970’s, after some years of studying Eastern philosophies and disciplines in the East, the originator of T’ai Chi Chih®, Justin Stone, taught T’ai Chi Ch’uan at the two universities in New Mexico and at other suitable places. He also taught Comparative meditation, Background of Zen, and Eastern Philosophy and Religion. He realized that the American students were challenged by 108 movements, and was able to create a series of 19 forms and one pose at the end without minimizing the effect of the discipline. Shortly after the T’ai Chi Chih® book was published in 1974, the first beginner’s class was introduced in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Justin Stone said “As the Chi is circulated and balanced, habit energies tend to fade and one no longer feels compelled to follow dubious path of action. One feels more in control of his/her actions.”
Six principles of how to move in T’ai Chi Chih® are as follows: 1) Flowing from the Center/Core that is moving from Tantien, 2) Softness and Continuity, 3) Yinning and Yanning (Shifting the weight fully on the soft knees, Substantial and Insubstantial), 4) Focus on the soles of the feet, 5) Polarity (energy and warms felt between the palms of the hands), and 6) Circularity (as in nature, T’ai Chi Chih® flows in circular patterns).
T’ai Chi Chih® is a spiritual discipline. It is not an exercise, although the internal organs are massaged. Of course, physical, mental and psychic benefits can be great, but essentially there is a spiritual power behind T’ai Chi Chih. Noticeable benefits were reported: reducing stress, lowering blood pressure, increasing energy, reducing weight, improving immune system etc. Those who do other forms of meditation, or even Hatha yoga, will find the practice may improve their performance in those other disciplines. There is a definite energy build-up that increases with regular practice.