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Tai Chi and Core Training (Bruce Lee)

Jul 24, 2008
Many may ask, 'How does Tai Chi relate to Bruce Lee?' At first glance, it does appear that Tai Chi - a practice of slow and smooth movements - does not run parallel to Bruce Lee's lightning lethal moves of martial arts fighting. But after little research, I found that there are vast similarities as Bruce Lee's emphasis on functional strength or core strength in his physiology of exercise studies in regards to Tai Chi's teachings.

Tai Chi is a gentle physical training system and stretching that can be practiced by anyone regardless of gender and age at their own pace. It is more commonly practiced by senior adults because young, energetic teenagers or young adults prefer faster and stronger physical trainings as opposed to Tai Chi's slow and steady movements. They did not realize that Tai Chi techniques may increase power, (strength) more efficiently than dumbbells or gym facilities could offer.

Tai Chi is said to be beneficial in stress reduction, increase in power (strength/energy), speed (agility) and stamina (fatigue resistance).

Firstly, let's define power or you may refer it to strength or energy depending on your preferences. Is power the ability to lift something repetitively such as lifting dumbbells or weights as many times as possible using the maximum weights? Power, as Bruce Lee himself defines it, is the ability to utilize strength efficiently. For example, a person who is stronger in terms of having bigger muscles may not be able to utilize those muscles efficiently if they do not use the right technique. On the other hand, a person who could be much smaller in size but lean and strong enough with the right technique may be able to turn his strength into power efficiently. The result, the actual power that was brought out by the bigger person might not be as much as the power brought out by the smaller person.

You may witnessed such an example before, maybe in the wrestling ring (real, not entertainment based) where a smaller individual could out throw a much bigger opponent, or in athletic events such as shot put where a smaller participant could deliver a better and further throw than his/her opponent.

The same can be said for speed and stamina. Not exactly a small person will be faster than a bigger person. Sammo Hung, which is considered fat or chubby by most people, could perform martial arts in the most agile and speedy manner. And sometimes a big person could also have better fatigue resistance and stamina compared to his smaller and lighter counterparts.

Tai Chi trains the core strength of an individual by series of non-pausing movements and postures. Try it out right now! Those of you who consider yourselves as good athletes, try one-foot squatting - balancing your weight on one foot and slowly squat down, then use your thigh core strengths to lift yourself up again, slowly. Repeat as many times as possible. Feel the core strength building? That is what Tai Chi practitioners do! So get started today!
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