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Tai Chi for relaxation

Sword Practice

Every morning on my way to work while living in Hong Kong I would pass a group of people practising Tai Chi Chuan with double edged swords. It always seemed odd that such a gentle, flowing and meditative practice should use weapons, but before it gained popularity for health reasons it was a martial art used by the Chinese military. Tai Chi is comprised of 182 complex movements although most people practice a simplified version of 33 moves.  Apparently only more advanced practitioners use the swords. To use Tai Chi as a method of self defence requires intensive training with the aim of teaching you how to breathe and relax so thoroughly that force passes straight through you.

Tai Chi encourages deep, relaxed breathing and gentle movements said to enhance the flow of life-force energy. The benefits are widely documented and include reducing stress and anxiety, helping alleviate depression, and improving balance, joint pain and immunity.

Taoist Tai Chi Society and New Zealand Tai Chi.