Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tai chi chuan in Beijing

Tai chi chuan
Originally uploaded by jhuijding

What is Tai Chi Chuan?

Most people think of the slow sequence of movements known as the hand form when they think of Tai Chi Chuan, says a British site called five However, there is much more to it than this: it is a Chinese martial art, and a complete system provides a comprehensive method of self-defence as well as an excellent method for maintaining health.

These pages present the art of Tai Chi Chuan as seen from the perspective of Wudang Tai Chi.

What Does the Name Mean?

The first character is "tai"; the literal meaning of this word is "extreme" or "great". The second character is "chi" whose meaning is best taken to be "pole", as in "an extreme point". Thus, the phrase "tai chi" is translated as "great pole".

Tai Chi Diagram This phrase is a reference to the fundamental polarity of yin and yang, as represented in the well-known symbol shown on the left. Yin and yang represent the basic pair of complementary forces in the universe: yielding and firm, empty and full.

The third character is "chuan"; literally, "fist". Within the context of Chinese martial arts it is used to mean a style of fighting.

The name "Tai Chi Chuan" may, then, best be translated as "the style of fighting based on the principles of yin and yang".

Qi Note that the character for "chi" in "Tai Chi Chuan" is not to be confused with a different word, also written "chi" in the Wade-Giles system (see Romanized Chinese Names below), which is used in the term "chi kung". "Chi" in that context means "breath" or "energy", and its character is shown on the left.

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