What is Tai Chi Chuan?

Originally developed as a Chinese internal martial art based on Yin/Yang philosophy, Tai Chi has evolved into a graceful exercise which involves a series of movements accompanied by deep breathing creating a moving meditation. It teaches proper posture; improves balance, memory, circulation, concentration; strengthens legs and core control; reduces stress; among many other benefits. All in all, Tai Chi Chuan is a wonderful body, mind, and spirit exercise.

The Chinese translation for Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan (both are pronounced the same) is in need of a little background. Tai Chi comes from Taoist philosophy. Taoism is the ancient spiritual, nature-based philosophy native to China. Simply put, “In the Beginning” there was wu chi (wuji) which means “ultimate nothingness”, “void” or “no polarity”. When there is a change, or movement in wuji, there is “tai chi”. Tai chi means “grand ultimate”, or “great polarity”. On the opposite poles of this polarity are yin and yang. Chuan means “fist”. So tai chi chuan means “grand ultimate fist”.

There are 5 styles of Tai Chi: Yang, Chen, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun. They are all connected to each other. Their outside movements are a little different, but the inside energies are the same. Yang style is the most popular style of tai chi taught around the world today.

In Yang Family Tai Chi, you will first learn the 103 hand form. From there, if you like, you can learn push hands, sword, saber, fan, short staff, long staff, the essential form, and many others. Push hands teaches how to apply the 8 energies taught in the hand form with an opponent/partner. It, also, teaches ‘listening’ or ‘awareness’ skills and how to stick, connect, adhere, and follow your partner, neither resisting nor separating.

Tai chi can be practiced at any age and health condition, inside or outside, with no extra equipment….just you. As with any physical activity, consult your doctor before starting a new program.