Tai Chi for Children – Part 2

In Tai Chi for Children – Part 2, we discuss the virtues children learn through tai chi martial art training and their value in daily life.  (Please see Tai Chi for Children – Part 1 for a discussion on the health benefits of tai chi for children).

Tai chi is a martial art, and as such, develops special virtues and human qualities through its regular practice.

It should be noted that the purpose of martial art training is not to become a bully or showoff, but rather to cultivate balance in all aspects of life – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  It is for this reason I believe wholeheartedly that tai chi needs to be incorporated into the public school system’s curriculum as a required subject.  The lessons that children will learn from tai chi training will prepare them for life’s ongoing challenges, and give them the tools to deal with any situation in a balanced and healthy way.

Wude: Martial virtue

Historically, martial arts have been used to train warriors – individuals who had the responsibility to protect their communities and the citizens living in them.  These individuals were chosen at an early age based on their exemplary behavior and character traits.  They were trained in their family style martial art for years, day and night, and with time they achieved the highest level of skill.

Today we still have a handful of these arts remaining as a result of a few dedicated masters who very painstakingly and generously passed on their knowledge and skills.  We can be thankful and express our gratitude for this, and do our very best to continue this tradition, and not allow these priceless arts to die out or be replaced by modern oversimplified ones with little value other than for show.

Virtues Cultivated through Tai Chi Martial Art Training

  • Self Discipline
  • Self Control
  • Self Respect
  • Self Esteem
  • Mental Concentration
  • Leadership Skills
  • Emotional Balance
  • Patience
  • Positive Outlook on Life
  • Community Service
  • Dedication
  • Inner Strength
  • Integrity

The list goes on. Suffice to say here that tai chi training for children builds many positive character traits that prepare them for life in so many ways.

Cooperation not competition

Possibly the greatest lesson learned through tai chi martial art training is the concept of cooperation rather than competition.  Tai chi is an art.  The purpose of art is to cultivate the higher things in life.  This cultivation is within the practitioner.  It is what makes one strong and balanced.  This has nothing to do with competing with others, but rather working together, helping each other develop and grow…

Personal experience

Having invested many years to learn tai chi in Chen Family Village, China (the historical birthplace of the art), I can say confidently that the children’s overall behavior, concentration, mind body coordination and especially  their demonstration of respect for elders, teachers, and parents was quite impressive. The tai chi kids seemed much happier and content than the kids who did not practice tai chi. A lesson we can surely learn from in the western society!

It is my goal to see tai chi introduced as a required subject in our public school system.  I will appreciate your comments and suggestions to accomplish this goal.

Click here to read about the positive effects of tai chi for children with autism.

Little girl performs Chen tai chi.

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