Tai Chi is a form of martial art that has many known benefits, including helping people cope better with their feelings of anxiety. In addition to fighting stress, several recent studies have shown that tai chi improves balance, flexibility and coordination.
If you look at all of the above, you can easily understand why this can improve your survival skills: you will learn how to cope better with your stress, while improving the physical skills you need in the desert. We will deal with these problems below, but first we will start with what is tai chi.
The ancient Chinese martial art.
Tai chi is an ancient Chinese practice of self-defense, but now it is considered that there are better forms of self-defense than martial arts with fixed movements. But we will get there. The main recognized advantage of Tai Chi today is to minimize stress and help people cope better with other health problems they may have. The reason is that Tai Chi uses meditation along with its fixed forms, which makes people feel more at peace while they move.
Basically, your body and mind move at the same relaxed but controlled pace. Many people find it difficult to meditate while sitting perfectly still, and it has been argued that doing some automatic movements in thinking will actually increase our problem-solving mentality. That’s why some top-notch students do scribbles when they listen to lectures: it’s easier to concentrate.
But going back to the not so lost art of tai chi, you should know that it can also be called tai chi chuan. Since it uses only slow and slow movements, deep breathing and meditation techniques, it is considered a low impact exercise, suitable for almost anyone.
This type of physical exercise or exercise was once used to fight, but now the rules of engagement have changed. This is the reason why Tai Chi is also considered a non-competitive martial art. It is rather a kind of fluid exercise that promotes relaxation of the mind and body through stretching.
On the other hand, you should know that there are other styles of Tai Chi that are based more on the principles of martial arts than on the aspects of health. As such, the plethora of styles and adaptations of Tai Chi each has its own methods, movements and variations.
Is Tai chi for you?
Tai chi is a form of low impact physical exercise that makes it suitable for almost everyone, regardless of whether they exercise regularly or not. Age is not an important factor when it comes to Tai chi, since it is considered excellent for both younger and older people.
As such, you may think that if you are an active hiker or a survivor, you do not need Tai Chi. After all, you are doing other high-impact activities that are more challenging, that generate muscle and, therefore, more satisfying.
On the contrary, Tai Chi will help improve your flexibility and balance. The stretches he uses and the new movements are key factors when it comes to stretching the muscles. That will only help you give more when it comes to your high impact physical state.
Another advantage is that Tai Chi does not cost a lot of money, and it is not necessary to buy expensive equipment either. In fact, you can do it anytime and anywhere if you need a quick stretch combined with meditation. What is more relaxing than being on the top of a mountain ridge that has only climbed for 14 hours and then doing a Yun Shou? In the translation, Shake your hands like clouds, a movement that helps you to refresh and recover, becoming one with the nature that we all love.
That said, if you have had a rock climbing accident and are now recovering your strength, the smooth movements of Tai Chi can help you regain your range of motion and prepare your body for higher impact exercises. However, it is a good idea to consult your doctor before taking some Tai Chi lessons if you have:
- A baby in your belly.
- Rear paint
- Joint issues
It does not mean that you are no longer allowed to do Tai Chi, it’s just that you probably have to find some modifications for some of the postures that challenge you a lot. So, no white crane spreads its wings and moves if you have back problems, okay?
If you want to learn more about Tai Chi and other martial arts, take a look at bookmartialarts.com.
The advantages of Tai Chi for survival.
There are many well-known benefits of Tai Chi, and many of them are derived from ancient Chinese traditions, which affirm the fact that this martial art can help:
- Increase the lifespan of people who want to live longer and healthier.
- Improve flexibility
- Give you stronger muscles
- Make you less prone to a lot of diseases, such as heart problems, cancer and arthritis.
- Improve your tone and lift your spirits, helping you to prevent and / or treat depression.
Most of these advantages can be better explained through intuition rather than well-documented studies. This is because the research regarding Tai Chi does not address these issues comprehensively, since the research groups are not very large or similar. However, any form of exercise that uses meditation will make you feel more relaxed, and stress is considered the root cause of many of our health problems today.
The advantages of Tai chi, which actually have enough evidence to sustain themselves in the medical community, are the ones we will talk about next.
First, most of the studies that refer to balance and tai chi have been done for older people, because falling is a major problem for that age group. As such, the fall leads to injuries such as hip fractures, and is one of the most important reasons why older people die or suffer lifelong disabilities.
But if Tai Chi improves the balance of the elderly, why not improve the balance of a strong and healthy individual in its heyday? In addition, everyone has different goals, and if the goal of an older person would be to prevent hip fractures and death, yours can be a better climber.
We all know that survival activities are actively dependent on our balance and the strength of our core muscles.
But all people who have a strong survival survive a muscle at least once, and that really does not help keep the balance in a dangerous place. The movements of tai chi that coordinate the way you move your legs with the way you move your upper body will help you achieve better long-term coordination, and thus overcome the tension of a stretched muscle.
If he manages to improve his balance, the obvious conclusion is that he realizes that and, ultimately, improves confidence levels, with less fear of falling.
Imagine what it is to be alone in the desert. It’s winter, low temperatures and you’re just having to cross a river. You find some stretches of water, but you still have to keep your balance pretty well, since falling into the icy water due to the currents of the rivers is a sure way to die. Most likely, if you do not think you can do it, you probably will not.
Fortunately, Tai chi helps you get a better balance and coordination that improve your chances of crossing that river from a physiological and psychological point of view.
Although that was an extreme example, there are many other more common cases that show why Tai Chi is important in the conditions of day-to-day survival.
If you practice Tai Chi, you will notice greater flexibility and balance. It is common sense that this can not be achieved without developing stronger muscles and, therefore, increase your resistance. Studies show that 12 weeks of Tai chi is all that is needed for older people who practice Tai Chi to moderately notice these benefits.
Now, imagine what your diligence can do about it. If you add Tai Chi to your weekly exercise routine, complementing other high impact exercises, you will reap the benefits even faster. Remember that these test subjects are over 60 years old and do not have a regular exercise routine.
It goes without saying that resistance is very important in survival conditions. You may have to walk for long periods of time, so having stronger muscles is a strong point for you. After a strenuous walk, you may have to climb a rock face, and having strong, flexible upper body muscles that do not pull easily is what Tai Chi promises.
Improved aerobic capacity
This ancient Chinese practice has also been shown to increase your aerobic capacity. This is due to the fact that there are no high impact movements (due to the breathing techniques that accompany the movements) and you will learn to meditate.
Now, the greater aerobic capacity means that you can flee faster and longer after discovering a nest of spiders in your store. Leaving jokes aside, making your heart work better and your lung capacity is an important advantage in survival conditions that require effort and endurance on your part.
Being able to better coordinate your movements, have greater flexibility, strength, endurance and aerobic capacity are all reasons why your walking speed will also increase.
If you have stronger leg and core muscles, a greater lung capacity and a stronger heart, you can try harder without your body noticing.
Walking faster is great when it comes to surviving in nature, because it helps you shorten the duration of your trip and get faster to your wonderful destination.
Reduction of stress levels.
Living in today’s world means that most of us are prone to stress because we live in a busy environment that does not allow us the time to think and be with ourselves.
But Tai Chi reduces stress because it promotes:
- Deep breathing.
- Smooth movements
- Greater concentration.
These are not simply techniques that you learn to do with your low impact Tai Chi routine, but they create reflexes and create neural pathways that remain forever in your brain.
It is especially significant because Tai Chi creates a link between your mind and your body with the help of these reflexes. In fact, if you adjust your breathing to the way you move your body, your brain will enter a state of increased alpha waves, which will make you more vigilant and calm.
Surviving in nature is an activity that requires a lot of mental balance, peace and greater attention, so Tai Chi can also help you in that department.
How can you use Tai Chi?
What happens if you are in nature and someone attacks you? Tai chi is a form of martial art, as we have already mentioned, which means that it uses certain positions known as katas. These postures are generally considered useless in a street fight where there are no rules. And if you want to fight a furious wild bear, there is little chance that you will fight with the spirit of Tai Chi.
However, these postures create some reflexes and instincts, which can help you stay calm in a fight and act on your subconscious so that you can defend yourself using your opponent’s strength.
Acting without delay, in a precise and controlled way can make the difference between life and death. Therefore, it can generate a large amount of energy from a distance, for example, with the Push Hands movement. Basically, you are using your core and balance to take advantage of the wild bear’s strength and defeat it. Or you can just play dead.
Modern Tai Chi fighting forms that have emerged recently only use the basic principles of this martial art, but they also employ strikes of street fighting.
That said, it’s obvious that you will not be Jackie Chan in the short term, but let’s review three Tai Chi combat katas that help improve your survival skills.
Rooting is one of the most basic principles you will find in tai chi. It almost says it all on its own: you have to maintain your balance and posture by imagining that your feet grow roots that anchor you deeply on the ground. That makes you one with nature and very stable. You are becoming more focused and focused, the more you imagine yourself as a tree with deep roots in the ground.
Let your mind go even further and imagine your hands as branches of trees, which move freely but controlled.
All this improves your balance, but also your confidence levels. Repeating this exercise during your warm-up will create neural connections and reflexes that will help you always look for your inner balance. You will not be afraid when crossing unstable terrain or when climbing a steep wall that does not have many holds.
To make this work better, do not stay rigid, but allow yourself to move freely and calmly.
The single kata whip
This is one of the most incredible positions of Tai Chi, because it has many benefits to train your muscles. Basically, you’re just going to stand in a balanced position, with your arms straight out from your shoulders, parallel to the ground. The fingers of one arm are held in such a way that they resemble the beak of a bird. His legs are also separated, about twice the width of the shoulders, and one knee is bent.
- Work the muscles of your fingers, tendons and ligaments when you make the bird’s beak.
- It maintains its strong core of maintaining this position. This improves the overall balance.
- Open your hip flexors and gain range of motion.
- Stretches your inner thighs, which makes you more flexible.
- Exercise your quads, making them stronger. This helps you walk faster and faster.
- Strengthen the muscles of your shoulders, helping to improve rock climbing skills.
The white crane extends wings kata.
Your arms are in a position similar to the previous kata, but now you are standing on one leg. Try to move your weight gently back and forth, but keep balance on one leg. In addition, it is assumed that one of the arms moves faster than the other, and in a different plane.
- Develop muscles in your legs because you are only standing on one. This helps you travel long distances without getting tired.
- Build muscles in your arms, getting stronger for a better grip. You will also become stronger for camp activities, such as chopping wood.
- Create a stronger core to improve your balance.
- Since your arms move differently, you coordinate better and learn to use your limbs independently.
Making Tai Chi work for you
As a conclusion, Tai Chi has a lot of benefits that you can easily notice by just studying some of the most common kata you use. Even if you do not end up being a martial arts expert who can fight the bad guys with his hard look, you’ll still learn to be more grounded, relaxed, strong and focused. And it can not be denied that all these are important skills in the desert.
In this article we have only reviewed three Tai Chi movements, but there is much more for you to experience. Let us know what your favorites are and how you feel them working in your body.