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Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art practiced for its health benefits, self defense and as a form of meditation. The art is making some gentle waves on Kenya and we got the chance to dibble and dabble in it recently. Here’s what we learnt:

When you think of martial arts I’m sure you think of kung fu, fighting and Bruce Lee movies. This is true but Tai chi takes a unique approach to the martial art system. It primarily infuses balance of the body and mind. It’s based on the theory that everything balances out through the laws of Yin and Yang.

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Yin and Yang: The principle that nothing exists without it negative. Yin is positive (e.g. darkness, cold, hard). While Yang is positive (e.g. light, warmth, softness).

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The Yin Yang symbol

Our beginner Tai Chi class was learning about its circular movements. If someone throws a punch at you, you absorb the energy, deflect it and re-direct it. The greater the force exerted by an opponent, the greater the chance a skilled Tai Chi practitioner can foil. You have to physically practice this to experience the outcomes.

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Practicing Tai Chi at Pan Asian Yao recently

Although developed for self-defense, it is now used for its psychological and physical benefits. It is especially encouraged for older people and those with heart problems and athritis. what’s more it can be practiced while sitting. Its gentle and flowing movements bring about serenity and tranquility.

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In Nairobi, Tai Chi can be practiced at the Creative Nest in Karen and with master Li in Lavington.

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