What is Tai Chi Chih
By Michael S. Isaacs,
January 2004

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You may not realize this. There is a simplified form of t'ai chi. It is called t'ai chi chih® (pronounced tie-chee-cha), often referred to as "joy thru movement". T'ai chi means "the supreme ultimate energy". T'ai chi chih means the knowledge of this supreme ultimate energy.

T'ai chi chih is relatively easy to learn, since it consists of only twenty movements. Its sole goal is to accumulate, balance, and circulate this internal energy called "chi". It is not a martial art. It can be done in the sitting position and no special clothing or equipment is needed. With practice, the moving of this energy through the meridians (energy pathways) often leads to profound physical, mental, and spiritual benefits.

The movements of t'ai chi chih were originated in 1974 by an American, Justin Stone. He is a successful and accomplished businessman, composer, and artist. He traveled many times to India, Japan, and China where he experienced and learned much about martial arts, meditation, and philosophy.

Among his various endeavors, he taught the traditional martial art of t'ai chi chuan for many years at the University of New Mexico. However, he found that most students were not obtaining the benefits because the form was too difficult to learn. So he originated twenty substantially easier movements. Stone is now 78 and still is leading a productive and creative life as a writer, lecturer, artist, and advisor to the t'ai chi chih organization of more than 1000 accredited teachers.

What is "chi"?  It is the universal energy that creates and sustains life in the external world and in our bodies. It moves the planets and the waves in the ocean. It propels the seed to grow vegetables, fruits, and trees. It causes the heart to beat and the lungs to breathe. This invisible entity has been called such names as vital force, cosmic energy, intrinsic energy, life force, and divine consciousness.

The Chinese discovered thousands of years ago that if the chi in the body is accumulated, circulated, and balanced, one will experience health and harmony. Conversely, if the energy in the body is unbalanced and blocked, one will experience the opposite- disease and disharmony. Acupuncture is based on this theory.

Balanced chi means an equal portion of yang (positive, assertive, masculine) energy and ying (negative, yielding, feminine) energy. Circulated chi means a free flow of energy through the meridians, countering stagnation. Accumulated chi means energy drawn from the earth, the air, and from the infinite storehouse of power
in the abdomen. This storehouse of energy in the abdomen located two inches below the navel is called the "t'an t'ien" (pronounced "dantienne"). 

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