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Tai Chi Chuan

yin yangTai Chi Chuan, also known as Tai Ji Quan, is a system of combat which was created in China. The term Tai Chi Chuan is made of two separate ideas one rooted in taoism and the other in pugilism. The first concept, Tai Chi, dates back several thousand years and it is first found in an ancient manuscript known as the I-Ching or Book of Changes. It’s a philosophical construct which suggests that all things are in a constant state of flux between two opposite, yet complimentary energies known as yin and yang and it is often represented by the taoist yin/yang symbol.

The second term, “Chuan”, means “fist” or “boxing”. Together then, tai chi chuan refers to a system of boxing based on principles of chaos and harmony, soft and hard, fast and slow, up and down, open and closed and any other set of opposites one can imagine.  The word “tai chi” has been translated as the “Great Ultimate”, “The Supreme Ultimate”, “The Grand Terminus”.

To explain “The Grand Terminus” or the “Great Ending”, the idea of the two ends of a pole has been used. At the end of the pole, there’s no place to go. One has arrived to the ultimate point in the path—Tai Chi. Thus, one could translate tai chi chuan as the ultimate or grand boxing.

A little History

The following is a very condensed account of the historical development of tai chi chuan. The reader is encouraged to explore all literary material available on the web and book stores for an expanded history of the art. The styles of tai chi below are presented in a chronological order of development and not according to popularity.