Tai Chi Chuan in Buffalo, NY


Tai Chi is an art that embraces the mind, body, and spirit, and helps bring them into harmony with one another, and with nature (the environment around you) itself. While there is great depth to tai chi in knowledge and skill, it is very easy to learn, and you can get started even if you aren’t in tip-top shape or the best of health. Tai Chi is a low-impact, slow-motion exercise that you go (without pausing) through a series of motions. It’s continuous movement, and as you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention on how your body feels.

As such, it has aptly been called “Meditation in Motion”.

Tai Chi differs from other types of exercise. The movements are often circular and are never forced. The muscles are relaxed, not tensed, and the joints are neither fully extended nor bent. Connective tissues like ligaments are not stretched. Tai Chi doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness:  muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning. Tai Chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people who may struggle otherwise and/or have disabilities or are recovering from an illness or other.

According to Harvard Medical School, some of the documented and well-studied benefits include:

  • Muscle strength. In a study by Stanford and cited by Harvard, people who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength which was almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.
  • Tai Chi boosts upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.
  • Aerobic conditioning

Falling is a key concern as we age. A single bad fall can lead to longer term health and often serious implications. Tai Chi addresses the following:

  • Balance: Tai chi improves balance and according to some studies reduces falls.
  • Proprioception is how you sense the position of your body in space. It declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments.
  • The fear of falling can make you more likely to fall; some studies have found that tai chi training helps reduce that fear in part because of your increased balance and strength, but also confidence in yourself.
  • If you do fall, Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover if a stumble does occur.

Also according to Harvard Medical School, when combined with standard medical treatment, tai chi appears to be helpful for managing several medical conditions such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • Hypertension
  • Helps manage issues caused by Parkinson’s disease
  • Sleep problems
  • Stroke

For more information on these conditions and the help Tai Chi may offer those afflicted with them, please see “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Healthy Mind” (2013) by Peter M Wayne, MD and Mark L. Fuerst.


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About Shyun Style Tai Chi

We teach Shyun Style Tai Chi in Buffalo, NY. The full name of this ancient Chinese martial art is Tai Chi Chuan (Wade-Giles romanization, “Tajiquan” in Pinyin). In English, the correct pronunciation is usually “Tie” (as in bow tie) “Chee” (as in cheetah) “Chwan” (with a long “a” sound, as in want). It is most often translated as “Grand Ultimate System” or “Supreme Ultimate Fist.”

Tai Chi Chuan is most often referred to as an internal martial art, indicating that the emphasis is placed on strengthening the mind, circulating the Chi or vitality, and relaxing the body so that it is free to move. Beyond its martial applications, however, Tai Chi is also a complete system of physics and philosphy, best characterized by the Tai Chi symbol known to Americans as the Yin-Yang circle.

In the Tai Chi symbol, two semicircles of dark (Yin) and light (Yang) make a complete circle as they constantly merge into each other, symbolizing the spirit of “moving harmony.” This harmony of motion succinctly describes the laws of Yin and Yang which assert that in the phenomenal world (both physical and energetic) all existance is a relationship between complimentary but opposing pairs. This can be observed daily in the relationship between night/day, winter/summer, female/male, negative/positive, and countless others. In this system, Yang represents all that is expressive, productive and strength-oriented. Its opposite, Yin, is receptive, yielding and internal.


In the martial aspect of Tai Chi, the relationship between the yeilding force of Yin and the unbending force of Yang forms the core of the fighting technique. The yeilding force is used to avoid or redirect an opponent’s attack, while the unbending force is used to counterattack. This change from yeilding to unbending is acheived in the form of a circle. Therefore, the main pattern of Tai Chi Chuan is like many circles spiralling continually without end. In application, these principles lead to a force which Tai Chi master Ching Man Ching once described as “repelling 2,000 pounds with four ounces.”