The graceful and powerful spear 长枪.
Ranked as one of the top 3 weapons of classical China, together with the sword 剑 and sabre/broadsword 刀, these 3 weapons were the main fighting tools of war and the wulin 武林.
Kelvin on Competition Set 56
Mr Foo on Chen Style Sword
Taijicise Mt Kiara, together with our sister branches Connaught and Pandan Indah, we took part in this event on 30th & 31st May 2015
just like keanu reeves on jimmy fallon's show, this happens to me all the time...
friend: can you really fight with taichi? like attack people and stuff?
me: yes of course, it is a type of martial arts, for self defence.
friend: how do you fight with slow-motion movements? surely you'll get your ass kicked! i see all the old aunties and uncles doing taichi in the park, so lembik (soft, no power), probably can match a tortoise only....
me: *roll my eyes*
in a very simple manner i will explain the "slow" movements:
the slow movements in taichi has many purposes and benefits, firstly with benefits to health - it helps with muscle control, toning, and strengthening which is similar to yoga, this is especially good for people with joint problems. it is also designed to help us control our breathing better as we synchronise the movements with slow and deep inhale/exhale repetitions.
from a fighting point of view it is also with purpose - much like when you first learn to ride a bike, or swim, or play badminton, you start practicing with slow controlled movements to build up your muscle memory, and when you actually engage it in a serious/competitive manner, your body will react naturally within split seconds.
these are just a few simple purposes and benefits to the "slow" movements, there are many others which requires very advanced and deep understanding of the art itself. i will try to cover them in the future.
even neo from the matrix had his ass kicked by taichi! hehe...check out the movie "man of tai chi" starring keanu reeves if you want to see some kick ass taichi
there are many schools of taichi, or styles. i'll try to list out the more common ones here. the diagram here shows the family tree of the original (chen style) taichi grand masters and the inception of the other styles.
1) Chen Style
2) Yang Style
3) Wu Style 武氏...
4) He Style (pronounced as "her")
5) Xun Style (or more commonly spelled as "Sun")
6) Wu Style 吴氏
as it all started with the chen style taichi, the other styles are only variants of the original with different interpretation and focus, however the fundamentals are similar. hence it can also be argued that chen style is more holistic and rigorous.
be that as it may, each style brings different benefits to its practitioners as it differs in focus and requirements.
one of the strongest appeal of taichi is its mysticism - its mythical fighting and healing prowess. this has a lot to do with its romanticisation from wushu novels, most notably by 金庸 in 倚天屠龙记.
like everything else, to better understand taichi, one would benefit a lot from understanding its history. however this can be a bit tricky as the "authentic" history is still being debated hotly in the wushu circle today.
there are 2 major camps - wudang taoist vs chen villagers....
the lengendary taoist 张三丰 (who is immortalised in the novel above, and arguably my most favourite wushu character of all time) who had an epiphany from watching a crane fighting a snake, and combining his intimate knowledge of taoism/daoism, developed taichi as a form of meditation as well as fighting art during the song dynasty (960 AD - 1279 AD). unfortunately this version is generally folk lore and is unable to substantiate by empirical evidence.
the chen villagers version however is less eloquently portrayed as its counterpart, however it is strongly supported by factual evidences of written texts, training manuals, practicing diagrams, and a long lineage of disciples still continuing today (currently 21st generation). although it did not point to a specific time of invention, however the evidences point to the ming dynasty (1368 AD - 1644 AD) in a small village in the henan province. due to the rampaging bandits and outlaws, the villagers would practice martial arts to protect themselves from pillaging. initially named the "chen family fist", the art form was not so much invented overnight as developed over generations into what we know of it today - tai ji q'uan, by combining the teachings of taoism/daoism and classical chinese medical knowledge.
so which version is real? that choice is ultimately yours. but no matter who is the real founding father, both versions also teache the same core values and fundamentals of a well balanced life through meditation and practicing taichi.
still not really convinced taichi is beneficial for people of ALL ages? here is an article from Harvard Medical School about the benefits of taichi for everyone.