Skip to content

Why practise Taijiquan?

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

In the 12th century, the Shaolin Monk Chang San Feng witnessed a battle between a snake and a crane, during which the snake managed to conquer its opponent with its grace. The monk went on to formulate a set of movements, which have become the basis of Tai Chi, a martial art based on the pillars of Taoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. Taoism upholds the importance of being one with nature and the universe.

Taijiquan shares concepts with Confucianism, a system of philosophical teachings that stresses that all under the sky is one family. Everyone can be part of this great family regardless of their social status, political or religious creed. By practising Tai Chi together and sharing knowledge, participants learn and develop respect and obedience; qualities stressed by Chinese teacher and founder of Confucianism, Confucius.

During my Tai Chi classes, I like to first develop the technical aspects of a student’s movements in order for them to have a solid foundation. This is then followed by an emphasis on self-expression through movement and concentration on these movements. In the film Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee tells his apprentice ‘like a finger pointing away to the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.’ At first a movement is just a movement. However, after constant practice and analysis, the practitioner realises that the movement has a rhythm behind it and this charges them with feeling, a process that resembles the way a musician feels the beat/the rhythm when performing.

The benefits of Taijiquan 

Taijiquan is a good method to alleviate stress and achieve good health. Rather than going to a gym, where a lot of energy and effort are required, with Tai Chi, a lot can be achieved without any force, and like Taoism, Tai Chi is based on the principle, known as Wu Wei (effortless effort). This means that those who practise Tai Chi should be soft and flexible in the same way that water flows smoothly. Water can take the form of any container yet on its own it is formless and shapeless.

Some scientific studies have shown Tai Chi’s benefits. One study concluded that moderate Tai Chi practice helps older people maintain fitness, while other studies showed that Tai Chi was good for a healthy and well-functioning heart, as well as to regulate blood pressure levels.

Taijiquan is based on the principle of Yin and Yang, an element of Chinese philosophy that describes how two contrary forces can be complementary. Building on this belief, those who practise the discipline try to achieve harmony which in turn brings with it good health.


More to Explore

Fostering Creativity and Community: The ART Connect Project at the University of Malta Library

The Library is, in many ways, the beating heart of the University of Malta (UM). The pulse of intellectual life can be felt most profoundly amongst the quiet shelves lined with books and the many students and academics lining the Library’s work desks with their noses deep in their projects. In this sense, the Library is also symbolic of the University’s overall health and vitality, so it is important to balance serious work with serious play.

The evolution of the ART Connect Project has been a journey of dedication and transformation. Inspired by the vision of new librarians and a desire to revamp the Library’s decor, what was once a seed of an idea has now matured into a vibrant platform for artistic expression, collaboration, and community building.

The ART Connect Project aims to connect people through creativity, foster collaboration, and transform spaces, inviting artists and art enthusiasts to celebrate the power of art.

Meeting Challenges Halfway at the Malta Book Festival 2023

Malta boasts 58 registered publishing entities, hosting hundreds of authors writing books across a wide swathe of genres and formats. These numbers emerge from an NSO survey into the book industry, conducted on the basis of the year 2021. Effectively, we could say that there are ‘more authors than churches’ in Malta, with over 700 authors populating the National Book Council’s database.

This hints at a varied industry, the stakeholders of which all fall under the remit of the National Book Council, which seeks to assist, support, and represent Maltese authors and publishers, as well as related industry stakeholders such as translators and illustrators. While the Maltese context does have its own particularities, neither is it immune to the industry’s wider, global realities, a case in point being the price hike on paper caused by the war in Ukraine, which continues to be felt across the board. Maltese publishers must also bear the brunt of this unfortunate phenomenon.

The National Book Council continues to advocate for increased governmental support to aid publishers, whether in this particular challenge or others, and it also offers direct financial aid through the Malta Book Fund, which last year issued a grand total of €120,000 to various industry stakeholders, targeting projects of high cultural value which may not have a straightforward route to market success.

But while some challenges may be met halfway through financial incentives, others require a systemic — or cultural — shift in attitude from all parties involved, which takes a certain degree of workshopping to be borne out. The slow uptake of ebooks bears pondering (the NSO survey saw 146 new ebooks issued in Malta in 2021, contrasted with printed counterparts of 418 in the same year), as does the worryingly high number of authors published without adequate contracts in place.

Maximising Solar Panel Efficiency: The DustPV Project

The DustPV project, led by Prof. Ing. Joseph Micallef, aims to determine the optimal timing for cleaning solar panels using innovative sensor technology and weather data analysis. By addressing the challenges of dust accumulation on photovoltaic panels, the project seeks to enhance solar panel performance and contribute to Malta’s renewable energy goals.

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment