with Taiji Sword
Some of the best balance exercises can be found in a tai chi form, including the jian forms. If you want to follow some of the best tips for a healthy lifestyle from Chinese culture, this is the page for you. Let me warn you that these exercises are not easy. However, any tai chi exercise can be performed at the ability level of the individual. Begin slowly and develop your skill as you are able. Most of the Chinese Swords Guide focuses on the martial aspects of Chinese swordsmanship. The pages in this section have more to do with health. As you will see by the video overview, even small children can benefit from the balance exercises learnt in Chinese swordsmanship.
In recent times, research has been done on cross-brain exercises for learning difficulties. Children with Aspergers and dyslexia are thought to benefit from such training. I'm not qualified to comment on that. But if you are convinced it is helpful for either yourself or your child, consider Chinese swordsmanship as a creative way of using these activities. It is well documented that older people regain health, balance and flexibility through tai chi exercises. The same can be said of practising taiji sword. If you visit China, you will notice it is a normal part of Chinese culture to exercise daily in the parks. Clearly, older people benefit, but so do younger people.
Let's take a closer look at the physical balance exercises from the short slideshow above.
The arms and legs must coordinate. The thigh rises to a position parallel to the ground as the hands reach their peak or lower point. The root changes from one foot to another so that one is always solidly attached to the ground. The energy springs up with the rising foot, while sinking down with the lower foot. Imagine a pair of electromagnets attached to the feet. Placing one foot on the ground activates that electromagnet while instantly releasing the opposite foot. And it looks so easy..... Well it is, but like everything in taiji sword, there are levels of correctness.
Ci and Zha are two of the basic cuts of the Yang Family Michuan Jian system. They are both types of thrusts. They can be performed from a standing position, with a step, or, when the duifang is escaping, in a stretched out position. In the form this can be used as a balance exercise, standing on one leg, with the other stretched out behind, parallel to the ground. This is not easy when the weight of a sword is added to the front and the whole point of doing it is reaching a retreating target with a precision thrust. The swordsman has to keep a stable balance, rooted through the standing leg.
Sometimes these movements are performed after a pivot on the ball of the foot. This is really tricky and is very good balance exercise. If the swordsman's forward momentum is too great, he will overbalance, putting him at a disadvantage. This can be countered by swinging both arms in a backward circle and kicking forward. It's all in the form, so if you want to help improve your balance, find a teacher and start learning.
Don't try to learn these squats too quickly. If you are overweight or have damage to your knees, you will cause further joint damage by forcing this position. The same principles can be achieved with a higher stance. People who learn them young are likely to be able to continue well past middle age. If you begin training in middle age, you might never achieve the low stances but you can still use the higher versions as balance exercises.
|Great Roc Spreads its wings
and Shows No Mercy
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