What is tai chi?

Tai Chi Chuan which stands for “Supreme Ultimate Boxing”, is a complete martial art system with a full range of bare-hand movement and weapon forms (as in the Taijijian or sword) and is essentially based on the dynamic relationship between Yin and Yang which developed somewhere in the 17th century. It is practised for self-defence, health benefits and meditation. Over time many different styles of Tai Chi Chuan were created and the art is constantly evolving. In its most basic and fundamental form it consists of 13 principles and 13 postures, but there are many different styles and forms and it is impossible to divide Tai Chi Chuan into parts without depreciating it.

Of course I did exactly that on this website, but you first need to start with small before you can do the big things in life. I aim to discuss all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan so you can pick and choose and grow your knowledge and understanding gradually during your practice. All I can hope for is that this website has helped you in some way along that path.

Tai Chi Chuan is still a practice that truly needs to be performed and experienced, no amount of reading will get you to understand it until you actually do something. Tai Chi Chuan in its essence is simple, but it does include a multiverse of elements and subjects which I tried to compile and archive here.

Why practice Tai Chi Chuan?

Tai Chi is mostly characterised by its graceful and slow movements in the Taolu or form practice. One of the reasons to perform these slow movements is to develop body awareness. Through careful, accurate and repeated practice a student will train balance and coordinationposture, increase strength and circulation throughout the body, develop and maintain flexibility, and become familiar with the martial sequences and applications of the art.

Since its creation Tai Chi Chuan forms have evolved and developed further for many different reasons; some focus on better combat preparation, some on health, others on esthetics, etc. That said, Tai Chi Chuan still remains a martial art and it would not be complete without mentioning self-defence. Behind every single movement there are tons of theories, techniques and martial applications. Therefore all these forms have variations that can be practised: soft or hard, fast or slow, small or large (motions), square or round (locks), low or high (stances), you name it!

This means that for every practitioner, young or old, big or small, there is something to be gained from such a comprehensive and complete art form.

A solid foundation

Many practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan are unaware of the history, origins and concepts of their art. The Chinese have a saying that goes ‘skyscraper sets on the base’ which means as much as ‘a good building must be built on a solid foundation.’

The foundation of Tai Chi Chuan lies in its general theories explaining the principles and the postures, but also in the its history, origins and concepts, different forms, styles and schools, applications and body mechanics, and notably; China and the country’s history, culture and philosophies.

For example, Confucianism and Taoism have been instrumental in shaping Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art and especially the Taoist philosophy and Chinese cosmology is therefore inseparable from Tai Chi Chuan as a practice.

History of Tai Chi Chuan