What is Tai Chi?

 

According to one legend, a man by the name of Chang San-Feng, who lived sometime between the ninth and twelfth century, created tai chi chuan after witnessing a fight between a snake and crane. Other researchers propose that tai chi began as a Taoist monk meditation called chi kung (Taoist alchemy), and then later developed into a martial art around the time of the Han dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD).

During the warring periods of ruthless warlords, the Taoist monks decided to develop their skills to include techniques for self-defense by mimicking the forms of certain animals. After time, these monks became well known for their skills in warding off aggressors. They were called "warriors for peace," however, they still adhered to strict principles of non-violence. It was right to defend one’s self and others, but unnecessary aggression was to be avoided. The Taoist belief was that all life is sacred – that it does no one any good to take another’s life.

In times of peace, tai chi was taught for its health benefits alone. The Taoist way was to overcome hard with soft, strong with weak; this was in accordance with the philosophy of yin and yang (the law of opposites).

Tai chi is many things to many people. No matter how we perceive tai chi, one thing is for sure; that the regular practice of this ancient art form will greatly benefit our physical, mental-emotional, and spiritual life.

Tai chi is a survival skill.
Tai chi is a flowing dance of nature.
Tai chi is a moving meditation.
Tai chi is the progressive unfoldment in letting go of our resistance to change.
Tai chi is a way to reconnect with the subtle energies within and around us.
Tai chi is a system of self-defense and self-healing.