This is were you can find information on what T'ai Chi is.

From the perspective of a beginner, who did not have any experience with T'ai Chi until a few years ago, here is how I see T'ai Chi.  To the observer, T'ai Chi is a series of slow movements performed in a relaxed state.  To the participant, T'ai Chi is much more.  It is a vehicle by which to relax and be energized, to improve your health through reduced stress, increased balance, and the movement of areas of your body not normally exercised. 

The perspective of those much more experienced can be found in this excerpt from an article by Peter Thorne III, published in Fitness Plus magazine, May 1998.

"An ancient exercise has been gaining popularity. This ancient exercise helps people reduce stress, gives them a low intensity workout and lowers blood pressure. Is this a new discover? No, This exercise has been around for 300 years. Originally it was a Martial Art. Today it is done for good health and combating stress. This exercise, what travel writers used to call Chinese Shadow Boxing, is T'ai-Chi Ch'uan.
T'ai-Chi Ch'uan translates to English as "grand ultimate boxing". It is the most popular form of Chinese Martial Art and exercise in the world. T'ai-chi Ch'uan (pronounced tie jee chyun) is a subtype of Kung-fu which dates back to the 1700's. It is a relaxing, low intensity exercise that also has Martial Art potential. In the 1930's, the Martial version was modified and popularized as a health promotion exercise.

T'ai-chi Ch'uan is primarily practiced to promote good health, improve coordination, balance and body awareness, calm the mind, reduce stress and practice "dynamic relaxation" which harmonizes the mind and body. It is practiced as a functional movement based, low intensity, exercise, an esoteric Martial Art and for sport and competition."
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The benefits of T'ai Chi are documented in excerpts from an article by Carol Krucoff, published in the Washington Post on April 14, 1998. 

"But tai chi's graceful movements are so slow and deliberate that researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore assumed it wouldn't have much impact on blood pressure. So in a study of the effect of moderate exercise on hypertension, they assigned the control group to learn tai chi. To their surprise, tai chi appeared to lower blood pressure in older adults nearly as much as moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.
"We were expecting to see significant changes in the aerobic exercise group and minimal changes in the tai chi group," assistant professor of medicine Deborah R. Young reported at a recent American Heart Association conference. After 12 weeks, however, the tai chi group's average systolic blood pressure had fallen by 7 millimeters of mercury, compared with an average of 8.4 millimeters of mercury in the aerobic exercise group."

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