Tai Chi is a “soft internal” martial art. It’s slow, meditative practice makes it suitable
for students of any age, in any physical condition. The Chinese characters for Tai Chi
Chuan can be translated as the 'Supreme Ultimate Force'. The notion of 'supreme
ultimate' is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one
can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding,
etc.) in all things. 'Force' (or, more literally, 'fist') can be thought of here as the means
or way of achieving this ying-yang, or 'supreme-ultimate' discipline.
Tai Chi Yang style, which we practice can perhaps best be understood as a moving
form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of forms - empty hand
and with weapons (swords and fan), which consist of a sequence of movements.
Many of these movements are originally derived from the observation of the natural
movements of animals and birds. While Tai Chi can also be viewed as martial art, the
emphasis is on its health aspects nurturing within each person their own chi (energy).
One of its aims is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution
of exercises and forms. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for
learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm,
and the flow of movement from the body's vital centre. Tai Chi is performed in
slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them.
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Yushinkai Kubujutsu is a martial arts that originates from Ryukyu, a small island of
Okinawa where for hundreds of years, islanders were subjected to Chinese and
Japanese domination. Because they were not allowed to carry weapons, the islanders
developed a very high degree of skill in using farm implements, which they integrated
into their empty hand martial arts practice. The style is divided into Karate – empty
hand arts ; Emono Jutsu (weapon arts).
The founder is Mtokatsu Inoue O’Sensei from Japan, who spent his life learning and
mastering a number of traditional martial arts forms. The ethos of Kobujutsu is
contained in what he said once, “The warrior must be a scholar and the scholar a
warrior. The pen and the sword are not separate. We train to educate the mind and a
healthy mind will in turn teach the body. This is a lesson of balance.”
Many of the weapons – bo (staff), sai, tonfa, nunchaka can be seen as farm
implements that were adapted. By learning empty hand (including aikojitsu), weapon
training and a holistic approach to martial arts you develop kokoro (heart, mind and
spirit). The style is different from many more popular forms of modern martial arts
around the world in that it stresses the practice of traditional martial arts and does not
promote competitions or contact forms.