Tai chi developed in China in about the 12th century A.D. It started as a martial art, or a practice for fighting or self-defense, usually without weapons. Over time, people began to use tai chi for health purposes as well. Many different styles of tai chi, and variations of each style, developed. While accounts of tai chi's history often differ, the most consistently important figure is a Taoist in 12th-century China named Zhang San-Feng Chang. He also brought flexibility and suppleness in place of strength to the martial arts, as well as some key philosophical concepts.
What Are the Health Benefits of Tai Chi?
Improved strength and better balance.
Reduced pain and stiffness.
Increased immunity to shingles.
Eight Piece(section) Brocade/ Ba Duan Jin
Eight Section Brocade is a form of Qi gong. Many theories abound about the origin and development of the Eight Section Brocade Qi gong. Ancient dances, medical theory, military drills and exercises, Buddhist and Taoist practices were all sources for the specific and formal movement routines of Dao-yin or Qigong. The ancient terms for these types of Qigong fitness exercises were Dao Yin (guiding, breathing and stretching) or Yang Sheng Fa (Longevity Practices).
Literature going back nearly 2,500 years reveals health and fitness exercise postures or routines, with some movements quite similar to movements in the Eight Section.
Five Animal Play/ Wu Qin Xi
The "Five Animal play"/ Wu Qin Xi is a set of qigong exercises developed during the glorious and peaceful Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E - 220 C.E.). Some claim the author of this Qi Gong sequence to be Huatuo, however Yang Jwing-Ming suggests it was the Taoist Master Jiun Chiam and Huatuo merely perfected its application and passed it onto gifted disciples including Wu Pu, Fan E, and Li Dangzhi. Hua Tuo was a famous physician who lived around 200AD and developed these exercises by observing nature. The five animals that he chose to pattern his exercises on are the Crane, Bear, Deer, Monkey, and Tiger. Practicing these exercises helps to harmonize the flow of internal energy in the body, strengthen the internal organs, and fortify the body.