What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a common sight every morning in the parks and gardens of the Chinese speaking world, where these graceful flowing exercises are practiced by groups and individuals. The Tai Chi form is a dance-like sequence of moves and postures looking sometimes like slow motion martial arts with an invisible opponent, which is what it actually is or at least was originally meant to be.
Why Tai Chi and Martial Arts?
Tai Chi is indeed derived from Chinese Martial arts and still is a system for self defence. All martial artists recognise the need to remain calm and focused. We will also talk about finding our root or being grounded, put simply remaining on our feet and not getting pushed over, which is some thing everyone wants, literally and metaphorically, Tai Ch does precisely this, which is why it has been shown to reduced falls and slips, in older civilians and alleviate arthritic conditions, whilst at the same time is practised by more athletic martial artists looking to hone their fighting skills. Push Hands (Tui Shou) >>
What does it mean?
The phrase T'ai C'hi Chuan or Taijiquan depending of systems of transliteration, means, starting with the "T'ai C'hi" bit, literally the supreme or grand ultimate and figuratively meaning the cosmos. The familiar Ying-Yang circle symbol is also known as the Tai Chi symbol, as it sums up the cosmos with the contrasting yet complimentary yin and yang aspects of all things. The chuan part refers to a method or balancing and usually relates to the use of the fist, and therefore can be translated as pugilism or boxing. So Cosmic fists, yin-yang boxing, the fists of the supreme ultimate, take your pick. Chinese Philosophy >>
The origins of Tai Chi Chuan
The story told of Tai Chi's origin, is usual the one regarding the hermit and alchemist Zhang San Feng, in about 1300 AD. He retired to a life of seclusion and contemplation on Wudang Mountain, here he witness or dreamt a fight between a snake and a crane or sparrow or magpie (the stories vary). Zhang was apparently a master of Shoalin Kung fu and the graceful movement of the snake evading the sharp beak of the bird and visa-versa, the crane evading the snakes bite, inspired him to create a new method of fighting based on soft and yielding moves as opposed to hard and quick attacking. Historical corroboration for this story is very thin on the ground, it does however resonant T'ai Chi Ch'uan principles and is adopted as a creation legend. More >>