Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan is a traditional Chinese soft martial art. Soft martial arts are usually characterized by focus on natural movement and the development of fine motor skills over speed and raw physical strength. Many times is even takes the form of a focus on slow solo forms, meditation, and cooperative rather than combative two-person forms.
Because of this focus, the “internal martial arts” which Tai Chi Chuan is the best-known have been used in China for generations the same way we use personal training and physical therapy and are being studied for their health benefits in the West. The scientific study of these arts has shown an increase in brain mass, range of motion, ability to balance, and a decrease in subjective stress level and blood pressure.
Of great note is a recent study that shows that older practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan are healthier and fitter overall than their peers even in their peers are involved in the other form of exercise, and many professional health organizations and doctors’ groups now list Tai Chi Chuan as a valuable intervention.