Practicing an internal martial art is a great way to maintain good health. Instead of using brute strength to overpower an opponent, the internal arts use fluid, whole body movements.
The Chinese internal martial arts include:
- Tai Chi － “Great Ultimate Fist”
- Ba Gua － “Eight Trigrams Palm”
- Xing Yi － “Form and Intention Fist”
- Wudang Kung Fu
These arts all teach the ability to use the body’s energy, breath, and intention in harmony with your movements. In this way, the body acts as a single unit and can release more power and support greater force without relying on muscle strength.
Proper Body Alignment
Many of the health benefits of internal martial arts come as a result of proper structure and alignment. Proper alignment also cultivates and stimulates Qi energy flow within a person. With correct body posture, the spine is aligned and the tension and pain caused by previous bad posture will be released.
Smooth Controlled Movement
Smooth controlled movements can result in improvements in:
- Joint mobility
- Muscle and ligament strength
- Bone density
- Coordination and balance
- Cardiovascular health
Entering your martial arts school can be your opportunity to leave behind the stress of day-to-day life. Whether you are practicing martial arts for self-defense or to improve your health, your body and mind will be relaxed, calm, and centered. When you are relaxed you can respond to problems faster and more appropriately than if you were tense. Having faster reflexes can help you fight an opponent, or just help you respond to stress and conflict in a more centered way. Relaxation and physical activity release endorphins to create a happy mood naturally.
Anyone can practice internal martial arts. You can get started even if you aren’t in great shape or the best of health. However, you need to be willing to work hard and be patient with your body. The longer you practice internal martial arts, the more profound the effects will be.