The training is gentle and graceful, and there is no need for special apparati. It is a gentle approach for developing power and stamina, as well as calmness and mental freshness. Taijiquan is a very effective martial art, where physical size and mechanical strength are not necessarily winning factors.
AKA: Tai Chi Chuan (T'ai Chi Ch'üan)
This system of practice has been recorded through a series of short essays, written by a few of the founders, bundled together and known collectively as the "T'ai chi classics." These writings serve as a "how to" manual, illustrating the proper way in which tai chi should be practiced.
My impression is that the slow movement training in Taijiquan feels similar to the "slow sparring" found elsewhere.
"Push hands" seems close to "Hiden" in Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu.
Meaning of the word ∞
- Tai menas "grand" or "supreme"
Ji means "ultimate"
- Taiji means "the grand ultimate", or the cosmos
Quan is the short form for quan fa which means fist techniques
Often, Taijiquan is translated as grand ultimate boxing.
I think it's pronounced Tai ji ch'uan, but I'm not certain.
The Pinyin page breaks this up into three words each with a beginning and an end which have a pronunciation key:
- Tai -- t in tai, a, i as the ee in beet
- Ji -- j as the g in genuine, i as the ee in beet
Quan -- q as the ch' in chew, an as the un in bun
Benefits of Taijiquan ∞
- lowering high blood pressure
- improving immune function
- increasing lung capacity and oxygen utilization
- improving mobility
- expanding range of joint motion
- relieving arthritis symptoms
- increasing bone density
- fortifying cardiovascular strength and conditioning
- building greater leg and knee strength
- expanding flexibility
- reducing stress hormones both during and after practice
- elevating moods
- augmenting overall sense of well-being.
- improved posture
- spiritual cultivation
There was no single founder as Taijiquan has been developed over many centuries by countless people. From historical records, the earliest mention of the term Taiji in martial arts was made during the Tang Dynasty (618-906) in China. The earliest use of the term Taijiquan was during the subsequent Later Liang Dynasty (907-923).
The master usually credited to institutionalize Taijiquan as a comprehensive system of martial art was Zhang San Feng who lived towards the end of the Song Dynasty in the 13th century. Zhang San Feng is regarded by many as the First Patriarch -- not the founder -- of Taijiquan.
Zhang San Feng was the first person to "systematize" the practice of tai chi and is the author of the first entry in the "Tai Chi Classics."
He created tai chi by applying the Daoist principles of the Taiji diagram, and those found in the Yijing, and incorporated them into his gongfu.
Styles of Taijiquan ∞
Because of different needs and environments, different styles of Taijiquan have developed.
Guang Ping Style.
- Wang Jiaoyu (1836-1939)
- Wang Lanting, a court official, who taught Li Rui-Dong.
- Created during the Cultural Revolution by the Chinese government, mostly from Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan.
- These forms are 24 Yang Short Form, 48 Combined Form (mostly Yang, but contains elements of other styles), 88 Yang Long Form.
- Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932), a Hsing Yi and Pa Kua Chang Master
- This form is a derivative of the Wu/Hao Style form and combines elements from Taijiquan, Baguaquan and Xinyiquan.
- In addition to long forms, many of the traditional short forms and weapons forms also branch out from one of the three main families.
Zhao Bao Style
- Created by Chen Ching Ping from Wudang Style Taijiquan and Chen family New Frame.
- The style is named after Zhao Bao village where Chen Ching Ping resided and taught. This style is unknown outside of China.
Wing Chun vs Taijiquan ∞
Sam told me a good story about Master Lee's way of seeing how one uses one's body in T'ai Chi. Sam was asking him about studying some Wing Chun and Mr. Lee said, "No". Then he showed him the body use where the hips are thrust forward and said, "Do you walk down the street like this? Why would you want to practice like this?" As Sam said, "You can see what his thinking was in T'ai Chi, which was always from what one does naturally. I can also see the usefulness of the Wing Chun approach in some ways. It helps one to wedge into the feet. But then again, it does close off the hips".
- Designed for the beginner, it is based on the Yang style, selecting the major movements combined into 24 forms. Its basic and easy to grasp.
- Again based on the yang style, it preserves the order of traditional Taijiquan's movements, while expressing the character of the Yang style in a more concentrated form.
- Also for the practitioner with some experience, it is again, based mainly on the Yang style, though incorporating features from some other styles. Lively, balanced and graceful, it breaks with the traditional order of movements.
- Shuai jiao includes principles of Taijiquan.
Note: Individual Taijiquan style pages will also contain style-specific resources.
Primary Resources ∞
- Terminology, and finding the right school
Cloud Hands -- Taijiquan and Qigong, by Michael P. Garofalo
- Peter Lim's Taijiquan Resource Page
- A lot of good reading.
- Taijiquan FAQ
- Chen Style Taijiquan Notepad
- A lot of excellent reading.
- https://web.archive.org/web/20190921203309/http://www.qi-journal.com:80/Taiji.asp - Lots of great articles
Secondary Resources ∞
- Magic Tortoise: Resources
- AYMTA - American Yangjia Michuan Taijiquan Association
- Meishan Taijiquan
- Bristol School of Tai Chi Chuan
- Has a few good articles
- Chen-style Taijiquan
- Orthodox Taijiquan. I'm unsure if their title is typoed or not.
- Kai Ming Association For Taiji Quan
- Has a couple of good articles
- Some nice pictures, but nothing special.
- Has a little reading.. this is a school.