Tai Chi Theory
Skill Level: 1 2 3
Use these streaming video lessons to understand the deeper theory of Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan), which translates to "˜Grand Ultimate'. Learning this ancient Daoist philosophy will help your Tai Chi practice, and also your search of enlightenment.
Tai Chi Chuan is a slow and relaxed moving meditation. Through practicing Tai Chi you are able to calm down the mind, locate your spiritual center, and consequently find your entire being. From the relaxed moving exercise, you can bring your physical body into an ultimate level of relaxation and natural ease, resulting in smooth Qi (inner energy) and blood circulation. This is a key to maintaining health and recovering from sickness.
Originally, Tai Chi Chuan was an ancient internal Chinese martial art, incorporating deep Daoist philosophy. Today, most people practice Tai Chi slowly to develop their balance, strength, and vitality, and the martial applications of the art are often ignored. 'Grand Ultimate Fist' is a highly effective form of combat specializing in short and middle-range fighting.
In China, t'ai chi ch'uan is categorized under the Wudang grouping of Chinese martial arts, which are applied with internal power (jing), using Qi (energy). The history of the basic postures in the Yang form can be traced back through Wudang mountain to Shaolin Temple, developed from a series of movements originating from "Chang Quan" (Long Fist, a reference to the winding Long River, another name for the Yangtze). Around 800 AD, a philosopher named Xu, Xuan-Ping is credited for developing a long Kung Fu of 37 forms, which included these common Tai Chi movements:
- Play the Guitar
- Single Whip
- Step Up to Seven Stars
- Jade Lady Works the Shuttles
- High Pat on Horse
- Phoenix Flaps Its Wings
"Taiji Chang Quan" existed in many variations, and eventually evolved into Taijiquan. Other forms of the same era such as "Heavenly-Inborn Style", "Nine Small Heavens", and "Acquired Kung Fu" also show similarities to what later became Taijiquan. The principles of softness, sticking, adhering, and using the opponent's own momentum against himself were established in these precursory martial styles. Bodhidharma's teaching at the Buddhist Shaolin Temple around 550AD, which detailed the theory of using the mind to lead the Qi to energize the physical body, is widely considered the origin of all Internal Martial Arts, including Tai Chi.
Dr. Yang's tai chi can be traced back to the Yang family through Grandmaster Kao, Tao and his teacher Yue, Huanzhi , an indoor disciple of Yang, Chengfu.