Benefits of Taiji Soft Strength Ball Exercise

by Rennie Chong

(find Taiji Soft Strength Ball classes here)

Taiji Soft Strength Ball exercise (Taiji Rou Li Qiu also known as Taiji Bai Long Qiu) was invented by Prof. Bai Rong at the time when he still was studying in Shan Xi University, China. Once during a physical exercise lesson he got an idea of using Taiji Quan theory for a ball play. After a year of research and continuous modification, absorbing some techniques from badminton and tennis, Prof. Bai Long developed Taiji Soft Strength Ball exercise, a gracious set of dance-like movements with a special ball balancing on a racquet.

Despite light, carefree look, the exercise was based on a strong foundation of Taiji theory and was meant for the people who are more interested in Taiji for improving their health, stamina and body coordination.

During the next decade the exercise was officially recognized in China, became part of various competitions, promoted nation-wide and got lots of publicity in the Chinese media.

More information about Taiji Soft-Strength Ball can be found at http://taijiball.com.

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Taiji Soft-Strength Ball is a multifaceted exercise for the whole body. As it is based on profound Taiji theory, it can improve and develop function of the neck, shoulders, waist, legs, brain and internal organs. The exercise is neither restricted by where it is practised nor age of the person.

As it is “led by curves” composed of different, changing movements, it can enhance function of our central nervous system and develop creativity. After some time, the practitioner's ability to co-ordinate his movements and respond will be raised.

Many of its movements are accomplished through turning, making curves, circling; thus one's energy must be concentrated, one’s mind, eyes and four limbs must be coordinated to control the route of the ball and reduce interference from the environment; in this way, the mind and ball can be one.

When one enters old age, the bones and muscles will degenerate; e.g. the bones will lose density, the muscles will shrink, lose elasticity, and there may be pains in the joints. Thus, the elderly should not do aggressive and explosive kinds of exercises.

Taiji Softball exercise is well suited for the elderly. It is aerobic and within, the hard and soft meet; each movement continually flows into the next and the postures are elegant. Normally after 10 mins, the body will heat up and perspire slightly; after15-20 mins, a lot more perspiration will occur, and after 30 mins, pulse will reach 20 beats per 10 seconds. The practitioner will not feel tired though blood circulation has increased. The practitioner may also lose weight and tone up in the process further preventing some ailments associated with obesity. From the experience of those who are fond of this exercise, 3-5 kg may be lost after 3 months of 1 hour daily practice.

Almost all muscles of the body are exercised since its movements are curved/circular following from the natural relaxation of joints. Not only the bigger muscles but also the smaller groups of muscles participate and are trained in the curving, circling, turning movements; and long term practice can reduce muscle shrinking and degeneration of bones and joints.

Shoulder pain is a common phenomenon among the elderly. The main cause of this is the lack of exercise and hardening of ligament. It gives great pain and discomfort to the elderly. In Taiji Soft Strength Ball, the shoulder joint is the hub for curved and circular movements. Further, the shoulder muscles are relaxed while waving the arms since the mind should be in control of the ball. As a result, relevant channels may be unblocked and muscles massaged; so that after a few months of practice, shoulder pains may be relieved. One can also hold a racquet in each hand during practice, which may stimulate right brain function.

Sports experts have pointed out that a healthy body and mind is the goal of all sports. Taiji Soft-Strength Ball practice has positive effects on improvement of the whole body and has been a popular exercise in China in the last ten years. It can create beauty, develop interest and give satisfaction to the practitioner.


Taiji Soft-Strength Ball demonstration at Bishan East Martial Arts Nite in May 2005



Benefits of Taiji Soft Strength Ball Exercise © 2005 Rennie Chong

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