Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Taichi in Beijing

Thousands of mostly older people begin their day with a session of taichi (taijiquan) in Beijing's parks and other open spaces.

Taichi in Beijing

taijiquan - which can translate as "boundless fist" or "supreme ultimate fist" is a soft-style martial art, with obscure historical roots, which became more formalized and widely practicised in 19th century China.

A group of older people practicing taichi in a Beijing park

The poses in taichi would seem to be based on the natural and graceful movements of animals and birds and the practice of this martial art aims to promote the circulation of "chi" energy around the body, improve concentration, balance and calm the mind for meditation and reflection.

As a means of defence, taichi emphasizes re-directing violent blows aimed at the practitioner.

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