Martial Arts Essay, Research Paper
To most martial arts is about the hard-style, external arts such as Karate and Maui Thai. Tai Chi Chuan however, developed out of Taoist ideology and the concept of universal balance. Primarily it was committed to physical fitness and spiritual progress, but over time, the monks needed protection against growing warlords and thugs and so, the external aspect of Tai Chi Chuan evolved and an usual mixture of a healing art, exercise and meditation developed. A teacher taught his students, “The man who does not seek to struggle with others will find that others are not able to struggle with him. Think if still water. You push it, and, yielding, it finds its original place.” You cannot hit anything if there is nothing to hit.
Tai Chi Chuan originally developed out of Tai Chi, a similar concept that began around 2000 BC partly influenced by yoga. In China, yoga came to be developed into what is called Saolin chuan (”chuan,” means boxing). Around 13th AD Chang Seng Feng developed what is known as Tai Chi. Different families studied Tai Chi and developed their own unique styles giving them different names. Tai Chi styles practiced today came from the Chen family. Yang studied the Chen style and modified it to form the Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan, which is the style commonly practiced today.
Tai Chi Chuan is part of a larger concept, Taoism. The Tao means the Way or a Path. According to Tao-te Ching, the core Taoist texts, the feeling of being one with the “Way” can only be experienced and not just known. One must coordinate all the body, the brain, the breathing to realize the feeling of being connected to everything. In Tai Chi Chuan, movement with meditation is done with the purpose of realizing connectivity by feeling in tune with the omnipotent force Chi, or in Japanese, Zen. Chi is everything everywhere; we are all a part of it and so, are connected to each other. Once in tune with Chi, one must apply those principles in daily life to be one with the Tao.
The Taoist philosophy of Yin and Yang, soft and hard or “the opposites” arises from the Taoist belief that humans view the world in terms of opposites, right or wrong, dislike or like. And those beliefs are changing all the time, if a person we dislike does something nice, then we start liking them. We fail to realize that something is just “is”. FSU is good and bad. It might not be as good as Harvard, but when compared to a University from a third world country, it is quite good. However, for us, it is one or the other and this prevents us from realizing and incorporating the Tao. We have to be “empty” of such preconceived notions in order to be one with Chi, to comprehend the true nature of things.
Emptiness of the mind leads to understanding of the only constant, change. It allows for constantly changing thought processes and a constant sense of inquiry needed to understand that “life is a matter of change” and “If you try to make yourself secure at all costs in life then you cling either the Yin or the Yang.” “Any fixed idea, when it conflicts with what we call the flow of life, is bound to lead to a loss of balance. It is related to what the early psychologists called a complex.” The ability to manipulate thought strengthens one’s concentration is referred in martial arts as centering one’s mind and the idea is central to Tai Chi Chuan as it allows for change, correction and healing.