Tai Chi Chuan
A Northern style of Chinese kung-fu; it cultivates chi as the power and force behind the techniques it employs. Characterized by a series of long flowing movements (forms) performed in an almost slow motion manner.
The forms of tai-chi do not look at all like self-defense. Indeed, most westerners who practice tai-chi consider its martial aspects as minor in comparison with its beneficial effects on health, spiritual development, inner peace and long life.
However, upon closer scrutiny, tai-chi reveals a large array of strikes, pushes, blocks, kicks, evasive techniques and circular throws, locks and twists. When applied in this way, tai-chi can be a powerful form of self-defense.
In tai-chi there are two principal exercises other than forms. They are usually known as pushing hands and sticking hands. Pushing hands consists of bringing two people into contact at the wrist of one hand. One person pushes in a straight line toward the other and he or she fends off the push by curving it away and to the side of his or her body, turning the hips and upper torso to the side of the same time and deflecting the attack.
In sticking hands, one person places one hand on top of his or her partners and the later then moves that hand freely in any direction. The first persons hand must remain on top of the partners throughout the movement.
Uprooting is a third exercise popular in China. Here one person challenges another to remain rooted on the ground while the other tries to push him or her backward. This is a popular game that improves timing, and the hidden benefit of making the participants focus on posture and their opponents intention.