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FITNESS AND FUEL

Relaxing Martial Arts?

"Tai chi for the elderly"
By: Jose Maria M. Villarama IIRelaxing Martial Arts?

T’ai chi ch’uan, literally translated as “grand ultimate boxing,” or simply tai chi was initiated in China between 1000 and 2000 BC as a martial art and therefore, a type of sport or a form of self-defense. As a martial art, tai chi was centered on the use of internal power and soft movements or strokes to overcome brute force.

Over time, it became clustered with the inner or esoteric forms of martial arts, which were used more for meditation rather than for fighting. As a form of meditation, tai chi is said to encourage the proper flow of qi or energy force through the body and to balance the opposing elements of yin and yang in the universe as well.

Knowing their needs for physical exercise, can this brand of martial arts be good for the elderly? Tai chi beginners or the elderly will most likely be inclined to follow the Yang style of tai chi, being the most popular and most widely practiced around the world. Considering the physical limitations of most elderly persons, however, a simplified tai chi form, known as Ezy Tai Chi, has been developed by researchers. This style follows the conventional and natural characteristics of the Yang style, but has been reduced to eight simple forms. This style makes the forms easier to remember and perform. Practiced twice a week for 30 minutes to an hour, tai chi can improve the overall health of the elderly and persons with low fitness levels, making them less fragile and dependent on others for mobility, among other concerns.

Depending on the need, however, one must first seek advice from masters or practitioners and most especially medical doctors to determine which style is best for a person. In this regard, the saying “different strokes for different folks” is very much applicable, when choosing the right tai chi style.  

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