Updated: Feb 2
Through the practice of Kung Fu and Tai Chi you will learn forms (patterns of prearranged movements) that will develop an awareness of yourself and your body. These prearranged movements or patterns will help you develop coordination and natural reflexes.
Coordination is the ability of the mind to direct the body to move efficiently. This process is developed by doing movements in a continuous manner while focusing your mind directly on the movements. This will allow the mind to engage with the body and coordinate the mind and body to perform each movement.
Reflexes are spontaneous responses to situations and occur without conscious thought. These natural pathways will result after sufficient repetition of movements are done over an extended period of time. Because the practice of kung fu and Tai Chi requires a continuous mental involvement in all movements, the receiving, processing, and sending of neural impulses will be developed to a high degree.
The practice will also help your memory and focus. This is the philosophical concept central to the training called “being in the moment.” This concept means controlling and focusing your attention in the here and now rather than allowing the attention to be diverted or scattered. By increasing your powers of observation, you can increase your ability to learn. This will, in return, improve your memory. According to memory experts, a major cause of poor memory is inattentiveness. Memory improves when proper attentiveness is achieved. In Kung Fu and Tai Chi, the memory is challenged and improved by continuously learning various movements. Because you are highly attentive during class and practice, your focus, memory and learning of individual movements will improve.
Another important factor about the practice of Kung Fu and Tai Chi is that it helps you build perseverance to get you through stress, anxiety and frustrations. Through the practice you will develop an important element needed in life known as “mental toughness.” The definition of mental toughness according to Wikipedia is “a measure of individual resilience and confidence that may predict success in sport, education and the workplace.” Through consistent practice you can gain greater tolerance for everyday people and challenges as you grow to be more patient and focused.
A longer life maybe...a better life absolutely! The practice of Kung Fu and Tai chi may very well increase your longevity, but the real value lies in the increased wellness and enjoyment of life right now. None of us know whether we'll be here tomorrow, so the important question is, "What are you doing for yourself today?" Now is the time to start living better through the practice of Kung Fu and Tai Chi.