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T'ai chi ch'uan or Taijiquan , often shortened to t'ai chi , taiji or tai chi in English usage, is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. It is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: its hard and soft martial art technique , demonstration competitions, and longevity . As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims. Some of t'ai chi ch'uan's training forms are especially known for being practiced at what most people categorize as slow movement. Today, t'ai chi ch'uan has spread worldwide.
Zhang Sanfeng was a legendary Chinese Taoist priest who is believed by some to have achieved immortality , said variously to date from either the late Song Dynasty , Yuan Dynasty or Ming Dynasty . His name is said to have been Zhang Junbao before he became a Taoist . Zhang's legend is that of indifference to fame and wealth. After declining official position and dispatching his property to his clan, he traveled around China to live the life of an ascetic . Zhang spent several years at Hua Mountain before settling in Wu Tang Mountain . [ 1 ]
Zhan zhuang , literally "standing like a post", is a qigong training routine often practiced by students of neijia (internal kung fu ), such as t'ai chi ch'uan . Zhan zhuang is sometimes translated as standing-on-stake , standing qigong , standing like a tree , post-standing , pile-standing . Contrary to the most common notion of cardiovascular exercise necessitating vigorous movement, it is said that zhan zhuang confers significant physical conditioning [ citation needed ] . Postures used vary among martial arts and styles, with many schools using postures according to their own traditional forms (though the basic structure and principles of zhan zhuang practice largely do not vary) [ citation needed ] . Those unfamiliar with zhan zhuang can experience severe muscle fatigue and subsequent trembling at first.
Neigong , also spelled nei kung , neigung , or nae gong , refers to any of a set of Chinese breathing , meditation and spiritual practice disciplines associated with Daoism and especially the Chinese martial arts . Neigong practice is normally associated with the so-called "soft style", "internal" or neijia 內家 Chinese martial arts, as opposed to the category known as waigong 外功 or "external skill" which is historically associated with shaolinquan or the so-called "hard style", "external" or wàijiā 外家 Chinese martial arts. Both have many different schools, disciplines and practices and historically there has been mutual influence between the two and distinguishing precisely between them differs from school to school.