Chen Tai Chi - Yang Tai Chi
Daoist taiji simply refers to a form of martial arts practiced by Daoists. Former television broadcaster and life-long martial artist, Emma Sproul practices her Daoist taiji or wushu in Toronto, Ontario.
Wushu simply means 'martial arts'. The more commonly used term gongfu (kungfu) is less precise in meaning but basically refers to a skill refined through training.
Daoism is one of China's great philosophical gifts to the world. The Dao (referred to in the West as The Way) is some form of ultimate reality the nature of which we cannot really know. In the beginnning, according to Daoist philosophy, there was the One - the Dao. The substance of the Dao was Qi (Chi), a kind of breath or spiritual energy. There were two kinds of Qi - Ying Qi and Yang Qi. At some point eons ago, there was a kind of dispersal of Qi throughout the universe (think: Big Bang). Later the two kinds of Qi (Yin and Yang) re-formed to make all things - you, me, the rocks and trees.
In traditional Chinese thinking, life is the coming together of Qi and death is the dispersal of Qi and the objective in life is to maintain the Qi you've been given and gather more Qi if you can. Qi is in everything. Illness is a blockage in the flow of Qi that may be fixed by acupuncture, certain natural substances like herbs, or certain types of exercise like qigong (chikung) or taiji (tai chi) or even by the manipulation of one's living environment (feng shui). If you can live your life without wasting your Qi and if you can enhance the smooth flow of Qi though your body, then you can live a long and healthy life.
Tai chi (taiji) or tai chi chuan (taijiquan) is both exercise for your Qi and a form of martial arts used for self-defence. Yang-style tai chi is the most popular style of tai chi practiced in the streets and parks of Toronto. Generally, the primary objective of those who study Yang-style tai chi is to enhance health by improving circulation and flexibility.
The original style of tai chi - Chen Taiji - is less commonly seen in Toronto and has more martial or combat applications. It is particularly appealing to males who want to more easily see the martial relevance or application of their taiji.
Sifu Emma Sproul has practiced martial arts since she was six years old in China. She has practiced several forms including Daoist Bagua, Yang tai chi, and Chen tai chi. She has taught martial arts to young and old, to individuals and to corporate groups like BMW.
* A note about spellings. There are two main ways of rendering Chinese into English, the older British Wade-Giles system developed in Hong Kong and the Chinese Pinyin system developed in mainland China in the 1960s. Peking is Wade-Giles; Beijing is Pinyin system. Most of us have accepted the somewhat more phonetially proximate Pinyin system when it comes to words like Beijing or Chongqing but still use the Wade-Giles system for Tao, Taoist, Chi, Tai Chi, Taichi, Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Kung Fu. Eventually libraries and the rest of us will catch up with Pinyin and amend our spellings (and pronounciation) accordingly: Dao, Daoist, Qi, Taiji, Tai Ji, Taijiquan, Qigong, Gong Fu.
NOTE: EMMA IS NO LONGER REGISTERING STUDENTS AT THIS TIME DUE TO OTHER COMMITTMENTS. HOWEVER, IF YOU ARE IN THE MISSISSAUGA AREA, SHE RECOMMENDS IRINA BENOIT WHO TEACHES TAI CHI AND CHI KUNG.
Chen and Yang Taichi In Toronto
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CHEN AND YANG STYLES TAI CHI - SIFU EMMA SPROUL.