T’ai chi ch’uan (taijiquan)

Literally means “Supreme Ultimate Fist” and is one of the Chinese internal martial arts. It contains both hard and soft techniques. Taiji (“supreme ultimate”), which is the opposite of wuji ( “without ultimate”) are concepts from Taoist and Confucian philosophy’s. Ying and Yang represent opposites. In taiji they are combined to form a single ultimate. This is symbolized in the taijitu (yin -yang symbol).

Taiji training involves five elements, nei kung (breathing/meditation), tui shou (two man drills/push hands), san shou (free fighting/ defense techniques), weapons, and solo routines/ forms.

The martial art that is referred to today as taiji didn’t have a specific name before the mid 1800’s. The name is attributed to Yang Luchan who was the first person to be taught Chen style taji as an outsider at Chen village. He is the founder of Yang style. As a note his forms were Chen style or strongly resembled Chen forms. It was his grandson that is credited with the forms that are taught to the public today.

Taiji history is unverifiable until the 17th century. Chen style taiji is the taiji system from which all others trace lineage. Chen Wangting 9th generation Chen martial arts (1580 – 1660) is credited with the defining of Chen village martial arts into taiji. As a side note Chen Fake 17th generation lineage holder (1887 – 1957), brought Chen style to Beijing in 1928. He didn’t refer to his martial art as taiji until others in the martial arts community insisted on categorizing it. During that time frame there was a push to define martial arts as either internal or external. Much of that may have been based on the writings of Sun Lutang between 1915 and 1928.

Today there are five main taji systems. They are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu/Hao, and Sun. There are also many off shoots from these systems.

Here we practice Chen style, and Cheng Man Ching style taijiquan.

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