Strengthen Your Back with Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan)

There are a few traditional exercises which you can still do to strengthen your back, namely, sit ups, cross sit ups, leg raises and back extensions. However, many who eventually develop the “6 pack”, or the front abdominal muscles, may not be able to demonstrate coordinated spinal control. As always, the rule of them of thumb is to do these exercises in moderation. Having a strong back will improve your spinal stability. This stabilisation is achieved by working on your deeper trunk muscles. Hence, we need to turn our attention to exercises that require the control of deep abdominal muscles and good mind-body co-ordination.

And what about us? Normal people who simply want to just strengthen that back without ending up looking like Incredible Hulk?

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What is Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan)?

Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan – Shadow Boxing) forms one of the three primary disciplines within the Neijia group of martial arts, or Internal Martial Arts. They are Taijiquan, Ba Gua and Hsing I. The concept of Neijiaquan encompasses a person’s internal development. This involves the incorporation of Daoyin, Tu Na and Jingluo theories from Chinese medicine studies. Daoyin and Tu Na (literally, breathing out forcefully) are methods of deep breathing, whilst Jingluo refers to the human body”s meridian lines in Acupuncture.

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Why do we say Chenjiagou Taijiquan and not Chen Style Taijiquan?

Why do we say Chenjiagou Taijiquan and not Chen Style Taijiquan?

There are many variants of Chen Style Taijiquan being practised all over the world. Chen Style 56 movement-competition routine, Chen Style 83 movement, Chen Style 37 movement particular to the Beijing/Shanghai area just to name a few. However most of these which are taught – are quite different in characteristic in comparison to what is passed down within Chenjiagou (Chen Village). So in order to differentiate ourselves from the commercialized (or ”sport”) versions out there, the “Chenjiagou” (Chen Village) tag is used here to single ourselves out, in deference as well as in concurrence with the wish of our teacher, Master Zhu Tian Cai. 

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Differences between External and Internal Pugilistic Forms

The basic difference is that “external” pugilistic forms cultivate a person”s physical prowess in terms of strength, dexterity, motor coordination etc, much like any other sporting exercise like aerobics, except that there is an obvious martial focus. This is why this type of pugilistic form becomes unsuitable eventually for people reaching into their old age, as with any other vigorous activity.

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