Keeping calm and performing at an optimal level under stress is a goal of tai chi and this calm and focus can carry over into any activity we perform throughout the day. Because of this and the many other benefits that occur naturally through dedicated practice, tai chi has become a global phenomenon.
As tai chi becomes more popular, some misconceptions will naturally occur until people become more educated about the nature of the original practice. One of those misconceptions is that tai chi is an exercise for older people, but traditionally in China, it is a martial system which advances from slow to fast, from soft to hard, from individual to interaction with others (yin and yang opposites) and training begins at the age of 3. It is only now slowly catching on in the west as an exercise that can benefit anyone of any age, even young people.
Another misconception is that tai chi is slow kung fu. This is incorrect. There are internal principles of the mind and subtle, body mechanics that are inherent to tai chi which makes it essential to practice the movements slowly and with mindful exploration. Although tai chi is described as meditation in motion, it really is more about exploring how the body moves and getting the structure in proper placement for optimal strength and support as well as transforming the nervous system to react counterintuitively. A healthy side effect of this kind of training is the natural buildup of vital energy or "qi." A tai chi practitioner will notice over time that they will build a relaxed but lively kind of energy which lasts throughout the day and makes life a little bit easier. It is also great for cross-training and can benefit other martial artists, athletes, or even musicians.
See what others are saying about tai chi. The links below will take you to an article and video on cnn.com.