Fire over wood:
The image of THE CALDRON.
Thus the superior man consolidates his fate
By making his position correct.

The fate of fire depends on wood; as long as there is wood below, the fire burns above.
It is the same in human life; there is in man likewise a fate that lends power to his life.
And if he succeeds in assigning the right place to life and to fate, thus bringing the two
into harmony, he puts his fate on a firm footing. These words contain hints about the
fostering of life as handed down by oral tradition in the secret teachings of Chinese yoga.

I Ching - 50. Caldron

Included on this page

What is Tai Chi?
Mechanics and Body Alignment
Health Benefits
Martial Applications and Self Defense
The 'Art' in 'Martial Art'

What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a Taoist system of exercise for health, meditation, and self defense.

The name "Tai Chi" is a technical term from Taoist cosmology and is often translated 'supreme ultimate.' Tai Chi refers to the state of the universe when it first came into existence and yin (receptive) and yang (active) energies had just been differentiated. The familiar "yin yang symbol" is the symbol of this state, and is called the "Tai Chi T'u."


Tai Chi Chuan (Supreme Ultimate Fist, or Supreme Ultimate Boxing) is the most widely practiced form of Taoist exercise. It's origins in China date back over 1,000 years. There are four contemporary styles of Tai Chi Chuan: Chen, Wu, Yang and Sun. The Yang family style of Tai Chi Chuan being taught by Elizabeth Wenscott's Tai Chi Center is known for its focus on smooth power, alert relaxation, and its ability to relieve a variety of health concerns while developing self-defense skills.

Tai Chi Chuan is a series of postures (called a "Form"), linked together by meditative movement, which is done slowly and precisely. This pace allows the practitioner to relax and clear the mind while moving through the form. Each of these postures and transitions have a martial application which is taught throughout the program.

Tai Chi Chuan is suitable for all ages (over 18) and varying levels of physical ability. It is a perfect complement to other activities (sports, dance) and other forms of exercise.

Tai Chi is an art form, a gift from the past that was caringly and thoughtfully developed by centuries of experimentation, reflection, and scholarship. It is an art that can be practiced at any stage of life because it relies on internal strength versus external strength. It is portable; it can be practiced anywhere.

Whatever initially draws you, health, self-defense, or spirituality, Elizabeth Wenscott looks forward to helping you attain your goals by guiding you up the generations-old path of Tai Chi.

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Mechanics and Body Alignment
Part of Tai Chi Chuan's uniqueness as an exercise is that it engages core muscles smoothly, while relaxing the outer muscle layers. This gives it it's grace and fluidity. Tai Chi Chuan is also low impact, so it can be done during injury recovery and post surgery.

The meditative pace of Tai Chi Chuan allows the practitioner to relax and work on physical alignment issues that cannot be addressed in other forms of exercise due to the quickness of those movements. This is a great way for an athlete to work on refinement or correction of particular mechanics. Tai Chi Chuan is a sophisticated and time-tested method for organizing and developing mind-body awareness and self analysis through motion.

Elizabeth concentrates with gentle precision on her students' alignment of knees, hips, spine, shoulders and other joints. The resulting awareness often extends beyond Tai Chi class to result in improved posture and even pain relief.

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Health Benefits
Among the many health benefits Tai Chi Chuan is known for are:
  • muscle toning and strengthening
  • oxygenation of the body and stimulation of the circulation of blood and lymph
  • a soft massage of the internal organs
  • relief of stress and anxiety
Consistent practice has been documented to help the body repel illness and help people live longer. Tai Chi Chuan is part of the officially prescribed health regimen of millions of patients in China.

Tai Chi Chuan has been recommended for the alleviation of:
  • various neurological conditions
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • hypertension
  • high blood pressure
  • anemia
  • tuberculosis
  • diabetes
  • digestive problems
If you have specific health concerns, see your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.

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Martial Application and Self Defense
As a martial art, Tai Chi Chuan is a subtle, yet effective, form of self defense. It can be used by people of varying size and ability because it is based upon:
  • positioning, not hard force
  • relaxed agility, not raw speed
  • using an opponent's power and weight against himself
  • the physics of body mechanics
  • perception (seeing ahead, "radar")
Philosophically, Tai Chi Chuan embraces these principles:
  • Defensive, not offensive
  • Modest, not showy
  • Relaxed and toned, not clenched and musclebound
  • Blending, not collision
  • Observant and perceptive, not controlling and overbearing
  • Maturity and self control, not anger and carelessness
  • Awareness, not distraction and confusion
  • Patience
As a practical system, Tai Chi Chuan is based on the following conceptual sequence:
  • Huan (avoid)
  • Na (connect)
  • Da (express energy)
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The 'Art' in 'Martial Art'
As a spiritual practice, Tai Chi Chuan is profound yet simple. Its goal is to harmonize the internal world with the external. As a moving meditation, Tai Chi Chuan can be used as a transition from the hectic pace of daily life to a more humane mode, and is often a supplement to (or a bridge to) sitting meditation.

Tai Chi Chuan is based upon natural laws or cycles, and ushers practitioners from the unwanted stimulation and artificial influences of the industrial electronic world and returns them to the rhythms of nature. A session of Tai Chi Chuan is like a walk in the mountains ... it charges the internal battery.

Observers often remark on the beauty of Tai Chi. It is quite beautiful to see calm, relaxed, vigorous human bodies moving with maximum efficiency and maximum stability. Tai Chi bodies are deeply in harmony with gravity, deeply motivated by humanity, and stand tall with awareness of the big picture. They move in a way as simple and unaffected as a river discovering the path to the sea.

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