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Encyclopedia > T'ai Chi Ch'uan
T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Enlarge
Yang Chengfu in a posture from the Tai Chi solo form known as Single Whip, circa 1918
Chinese Name
Hanyu Pinyin Tàijíquán
Wade-Giles T'ai Chi Ch'üan
Simplified Chinese 太极拳
Traditional Chinese 太極拳
Cantonese taai3 gik6 kyun4

T'ai Chi Ch'uan or Taijiquan (Chinese: 太極拳; pinyin: Tàijíquán; literally "supreme ultimate fist"), commonly known as T'ai Chi, Tai Chi, or Taiji, is a nei chia ("internal") Chinese martial art which is known for the claims of health and longevity benefits made by its practitioners and in some recent medical studies. T'ai Chi Ch'üan is known as a soft style martial art, an art applied with as complete a relaxation or "softness" in the musculature as possible, to distinguish its theory and application from that of the hard styles which use a degree of tension in the muscles. Yang Chengfu, 1933 Yang Chengfu (Hanyu Pinyin), or Yang Cheng-fu (Wade-Giles) ( 楊澄甫, 1883-1936) has been considered by many to be the best known teacher of Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) to have ever lived. ... 1918 was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar). ... Chinese (written) language (pinyin: zhōngw n) written in Chinese characters The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: H nyǔ, Hu yǔ, or Zhōngw n) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... Pinyin (拼音, Pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin used in the... Wade-Giles, sometimes abbreviated Wade, is a Romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration) system for the Chinese language based on Mandarin. ... Simplified Chinese characters (Simplified Chinese: 简体字; Traditional Chinese: 簡體字; pinyin: jiǎntǐzì; also called 简化字/簡化字, jiǎnhuàzì) are one of two standard character sets of printed contemporary Chinese written language. ... Traditional Chinese characters are one of two standard character sets of printed contemporary Chinese written language. ... Cantonese (廣東話/广东话, lit. ... Chinese (written) language (pinyin: zhōngw n) written in Chinese characters The Chinese language (汉语/漢語, 华语/華語, or 中文; Pinyin: H nyǔ, Hu yǔ, or Zhōngw n) is a member of the Sino-Tibetan family of languages. ... Pinyin (拼音, pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin used in the... The Taiji diagram or Taijitu , 太極圖 of Zhou Dun-yi. ... Nei chia (內家, pinyin nèi jiā Internal Family) denotes the internal, or soft style family of Chinese martial arts, in distinction to the wai chia (外家, wài jiā) or hard style school, which is associated especially with Shaolin Chüan (Shaolinquan) and its many derivatives. ... Chinese martial arts, often abbreviated as CMA, refers to the enormous variety of martial art styles native to China. ... Health can be defined negatively, as the absence of illness, functionally as the ability to cope with everyday activities, or positively, as fitness and well-being. ... Longevity is long life or existence. ...


T'ai Chi Ch'uan is best known as the slow motion routines groups of people practice every morning in hundreds of parks across China and, increasingly, other parts of the world. In T'ai Chi classes one is taught awareness of one's own balance and what affects it, awareness of the same in others, and appreciation of the practical value in one's ability to moderate extremes of behavior and attitude at both mental and physical levels.

Contents

Overview

While its practitioners have historically considered it primarily a style of martial art, T'ai Chi Ch'uan is also called an art of moving meditation. T'ai Chi theory and practice is formulated in agreement with many of the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Besides general health benefits and stress management attributed to beginning and intermediate level T'ai Chi training, many therapeutic interventions along the lines of traditional Chinese medicine are taught to advanced T'ai Chi students in traditional schools. T'ai Chi Chuan as physical training is characterized by its requirement for the use of leverage through the joints based on coordination in relaxation rather than muscular tension. The slow, repetitive work involved in that process is said to gently increase and open the internal circulation (breath, body heat, blood, peristalsis, etc.). Over time, proponents say, this enhancement becomes a lasting effect, a direct reversal of the physical effects of stress on the human body. This reversal allows much more of the students' native energy to be available to them, which they may then apply more effectively to the rest of their lives; families, careers, spiritual or creative pursuits, hobbies, etc. Meditation usually refers to a state in which the body is consciously relaxed and the mind is allowed to become calm and focused. ... Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) also known simply as Chinese medicine (Chinese: 中醫學 or 中药学, zhōngyào xŭe) or traditional Oriental medicine, is the name commonly given to a range of traditional medical practices originating in China thousands of years ago. ... A cluttered environment with too many tasks can lead to stress. ...


The study of T'ai Chi Ch'uan involves three primary subjects:

  • Health - an unhealthy or otherwise uncomfortable person will find it difficult to meditate to a state of calmness or to use Tai Chi as a martial art. Tai Chi's health training therefore concentrates on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind.
  • Meditation - the focus meditation and subsequent calmness cultivated by the meditative aspect of T'ai Chi is seen as necessary to maintain optimum health (in the sense of effectively maintaining stress relief or homeostasis) and in order to use it as a soft style martial art.
  • Martial art - the ability to competently use T'ai Chi as a martial art is said to be proof that the health and meditation aspects are working according to the dictates of the theory of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.

The Mandarin term "T'ai Chi Ch'uan" translates as "Supreme Ultimate Boxing" or "Boundless Fist". T'ai Chi training involves learning solo routines, known as forms, and two person routines, known as pushing hands, as well as acupressure-related manipulations taught by traditional schools. T'ai Chi Ch'üan is seen by many of its schools as a variety of Taoism, and it does seemingly incorporate many Taoist principles into its practice (see below). It is an art form said to date back many centuries (although not reliably documented under that name before 1850), with precursor disciplines dating back thousands of years. The explanation given by the traditional T'ai Chi family schools for why so many of their previous generations have dedicated their lives to the study and preservation of the art is that the discipline it seems to give its students to dramatically improve the effects of stress in their lives, with a few years of hard work, should hold a useful purpose for people living in a stressful world. They say that once the T'ai Chi principles have been understood and internalized into the bodily framework the practitioner will have an immediately accessible "toolkit" thereby to improve and then maintain their health, to provide a meditative focus, and that can work as an effective and subtle martial art for self-defence. Homeostasis or homoeostasis is the property of an open system, especially living organisms, to regulate its internal environment so as to maintain a stable condition, by means of multiple dynamic equilibrium adjustments controlled by interrelated regulation mechanisms. ... This article is on all of the Northern Chinese dialects. ... Pushing Hands is also director Ang Lees first film, released in 1992 Pushing hands, (推手, Wade-Giles tui shou, pinyin tūi shǒu), is a name for two-person training routines practiced in Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) and a few other soft style Chinese martial arts such... Acupressure is a traditional Chinese medicine bodywork technique based on the same ideas as acupuncture. ... For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ...


Teachers say the study of T'ai Chi Ch'uan is, more than anything else, about challenging one's ability to change oneself appropriately in response to outside forces. These principles are taught using the examples of physics as experienced by two (or more) bodies in combat. In order to be able to protect oneself using change, it is necessary to understand what the consequences are of changing appropriately, changing inappropriately and not changing at all in response to an attack. Students, by this theory, will appreciate the full benefits of the entire art in the fastest way through physical training of the martial art aspect. Physics (from the Greek, φυσικός (physikos), natural, and φύσις (physis), Nature) is the science of Nature in the broadest sense. ... This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Wu Chien-ch'üan, co-founder of the Wu family style, described the name T'ai Chi Ch'uan this way at the beginning of the 20th century: (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999 in the...


"Various people have offered different explanations for the term T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Some have said: 'In terms of self-cultivation, one must train from a point of movement towards a point of quiescence. T'ai Chi comes about through the harmony of yin and yang. In terms of the art of attack and defense then, in the context of transformations of full and empty, one is constantly inwardly latent, not outwardly expressive, as if the yin and yang of T'ai Chi have not divided apart.' Others say: 'Every movement of T'ai Chi Ch'uan is based on circles, just like the shape of a T'ai Chi symbol. Therefore, it is called T'ai Chi Ch'uan.' Both explanations are quite reasonable, especially the second, which is fuller." 1) 殷 (pinyin: Yin). ... Yang is the one of the two opposing forces in Chinese philosophy, it associates with the bright Sun, represents masculine nature. ... Taoists Taijitu The concept of Yin Yang originates in ancient Chinese philosophy, most likely from the observations of day turning into night and night into day. ...


T'ai Chi training and techniques

As the name T'ai Chi Ch'uan is held to be derived from the T'ai Chi symbol, the Taijitu or T'ai Chi t'u (太極圖, pinyin tàijítú), commonly known in the West as the "yin-yang" diagram, T'ai Chi Ch'uan techniques are said therefore to physically and energetically balance yin (receptive) and yang (active) principles: "From ultimate softness comes ultimate hardness." Pinyin (拼音, pīnyīn) literally means join (together) sounds (a less literal translation being phoneticize, spell or transcription) in Chinese and usually refers to Hànyǔ Pīnyīn (汉语拼音, literal meaning: Han language pinyin), which is a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Standard Mandarin used in the... Taoists Taijitu The concept of Yin Yang originates in ancient Chinese philosophy, most likely from the observations of day turning into night and night into day. ...


The core training involves two primary features: the first being the solo form or quan or ch'uan (拳), a slow sequence of movements which emphasise a straight spine, relaxed breathing and a natural range of motion; the second being different styles of pushing hands or tui shou or t'ui shou (推手) for training "stickiness" and sensitivity in the reflexes through various motions from the forms in concert with a training partner in order to learn leverage, timing, coordination and positioning when interacting with another. Pushing hands is seen as necessary not only for training the self-defense skills of a soft style such as T'ai Chi by demonstrating the forms' movement principles experientially, but also it is said to improve upon the level of conditioning provided by practice of the solo forms by increasing the work load on students while they practise those movement principles.


The solo form should take the students through a complete, natural, range of motion over their centre of gravity. Accurate, repeated practise of the solo routine is said to retrain posture, encourage circulation throughout the students' bodies, maintain flexibility through their joints and further familiarize students with the martial application sequences implied by the forms. The major styles of T'ai Chi have forms which differ somewhat cosmetically, but there are also many obvious similarities which point to their common origin. The solo forms, empty-hand and weapon, are catalogues of movements that are practised individually in pushing hands and application scenarios to prepare students for self-defence training. In most traditional schools different variations of the solo forms can be practiced; fast/slow, small circle/large circle, square/round (which are different expressions of leverage through the joints), low sitting/high sitting (the degree to which weight-bearing knees are kept bent throughout the form), for example. A weapon is a tool used to kill or incapacitate a person or animal, or destroy a military target. ...


In a fight, if one uses hardness to resist violent force then both sides are certain to be injured, at least to some degree. Such injury, according to T'ai Chi theory, is a natural consequence of meeting brute force with brute force. The collision of two like forces, yang with yang, is known as "double-weighted" in T'ai Chi terminology. Instead, students are taught not to fight or resist an incoming force, but to meet it in softness and "stick" to it, following its motion while remaining in physical contact until the incoming force of attack exhausts itself or can be safely redirected, the result of meeting yang with yin. Done correctly, achieving this yin/yang or yang/yin balance in combat (and, by extension, other areas of one's life) is known as being "single-weighted" and is a primary goal of T'ai Chi Ch'uan training. Lao Tzu provided the archetype for this in the Tao Te Ching when he wrote, "The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and strong." This soft "neutralization" of an attack can be accomplished very quickly in an actual fight by an adept practitioner. A T'ai Chi student has to be well conditioned by many years of disciplined training; stable, sensitive and elastic mentally and physically in order to realize this ability, however. Lao Zi (also spelled Laozi, Lao Tzu, or Lao Tse) was a famous Chinese philosopher who is believed to have lived in approximately the 4th century BC, during the Hundred Schools of Thought and Warring States Periods. ... Archetype is defined as the first original model of which all other similar persons, objects, or concepts are merely derivative, copied, patterned, or emulated. ... The Tao Te Ching (道德經, Pinyin: D Jīng, thus sometimes rendered in recent works as Dao De Jing; archaic pre-Wade-Giles rendering: Tao Teh Ching; roughly translated as The Book of the Way and its Virtue (see dedicated chapter below on translating the title)) is an ancient Chinese scripture...


Other training exercises include:

  • Weapons training and fencing applications employing the straight sword known as the jian or chien or gim (jiàn 劍), a heavier curved sabre, sometimes called a broadsword or tao (dāo 刀, which is actually considered a big knife), fan, staff (棍), 7 foot (2 m) spear and 13 foot (4 m) lance (both called qiāng 槍). Less commonly known weapons still in use are the large Da Dao or Ta Tao (大刀) or Bagua sabre, halberd (jǐ 戟), cane, rope-dart, Three sectional staff and steel whip.
  • Two-person tournament fighting (san shou 散手);
  • Breathing exercises; nei gong or nei kung (內功 nèigōng) or, more commonly, qigong or ch'i kung (氣功 qìgōng) to develop qi or ch'i (氣 qì) or "breath energy" in coordination with physical movement. These were formerly taught only to disciples as a separate, complementary training system. In the last 50 years they have become more well known to the general public.

T'ai Chi's martial aspect relies on sensitivity to the opponent's movements and centre of gravity dictating appropriate responses. Effectively affecting or "capturing" the opponent's centre of gravity immediately upon contact is trained as the primary goal of the martial T'ai Chi student, and from there all other technique can follow with seeming effortlessness. The alert calmness required to achieve the necessary sensitivity is acquired over thousands of hours of first yin (slow, repetitive, meditative, low impact) and then later adding yang ("realistic", active, fast, high impact) martial training; forms, pushing hands and sparring. T'ai Chi Ch'uan trains in three basic ranges, close, medium and long, and then everything in between. Pushes and open hand strikes are more common than punches, and kicks are usually to the legs and lower torso, never higher than the hip in most styles. The fingers, fists, palms, sides of the hands, wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, hips, knees and feet are commonly used to strike, with strikes to the eyes, throat, heart, groin and other acupressure points trained by advanced students. There is an extensive repertoire of joint traps, locks and breaks (chin na), particularly applied to lock up or break an opponent's elbows, wrists, fingers, ankles, back or neck. Most T'ai Chi teachers expect their students to thoroughly learn defensive or neutralizing skills first, and a student will have to demonstrate proficiency with them before offensive skills will be extensively trained. There is also an emphasis in the traditional schools on kind-heartedness. One is expected to show mercy to one's opponents, as instanced by a poem preserved in some of the T'ai Chi families said to be derived from the Shaolin temple: Russian Ivan Tourchine and American Weston Kelsey fence in the second round of the Olympic Mens Individual Epee event at the Helliniko Fencing Hall on Aug. ... A sword (from Old English sweord; akin to Old High German swerd lit. ... Jian (劍 Pinyin jiàn (jian4), Wade-Giles chien4, Cantonese gim, Korean kim, Japanese ken) is a double-edged straight sword used during the last 2,500 years in China. ... Chinese Saber Dao 刀 (Py dāo, Wade-Giles tao1) is a category of single-edge Chinese swords primarily used for slashing and chopping (sabers), often called broadswords in English because some varieties have wide blades. ... traditional Norse knife A knife is a sharp-edged hand tool used for cutting. ... A spear is an ancient weapon, used for hunting and war. ... The term lance has become a catchall for a variety of different pole weapons based on the spear. ... Swedish halberds from 16th century A halberd is a two-handed pole weapon that came to prominent use during the 14th and 15th centuries. ... Three sectional staff The three sectional staff (San-Jie-Gun) is a Chinese flail weapon that consists of three wooden or metal staffs connected by metal rings or rope. ... Qigong (Simplified Chinese: 气功; Traditional Chinese: 氣功; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: chi kung) is an increasingly popular aspect of Chinese medicine. ... See Qi (disambiguation) for other meanings of Qi. Qi in English is often spelled as chi or chi. ... Chin Na (Wade-Giles: chin na) or Qinna (擒拿, pinyin: q ) is a Mandarin Chinese term describing joint-manipulation techniques for self defense used in the Chinese martial arts, very often involving the study and use of acupressure points to enhance the efficiency of the techniques applied by the... The Shaolin temples (少林寺; pinyin: Shàolín Sì, Wade-Giles: Shao-lin Ssŭ) are a group of Chinese Buddhist monasteries famed for their long association with Chán (Japanese Zen) Buddhism and martial arts. ...

"I would rather maim than kill
Hurt than maim
Intimidate than hurt
Avoid than intimidate."

T'ai Chi styles and history

There are five major styles of T'ai Chi Ch'üan, each named after the Chinese family that teaches (or taught) it:

The order of seniority is as listed above. The order of popularity is Yang, Wu, Ch'en, Sun, and Wu/Hao. The Chen style (陳氏) is considered to be the senior branch of the five Tai Chi Chuan family styles and the third in terms of popularity. ... Yang style (楊家) Tai Chi Chüan in its many variations is the most popular and widely practised style in the world today and the second in terms of seniority among the primary five family styles of Tai Chi. ... The Wu style (吳家) Tai Chi Chuan of Wu Chuan-yü (Quanyou) and Wu Chien-chüan (Jianquan) is the second most popular form of Tai Chi Chuan in the world today, after the Yang style, and fourth in terms of family seniority. ...


The five family styles share much underlying theory, but differ in their approaches to training. There are also several groups teaching what they call Wu Tang style T'ai Chi Ch'üan:

The designation Wu Tang Ch'üan is also used to broadly distinguish internal or nei chia martial arts (said to be a specialty of the monasteries at Wu Tang Shan) from what are known as the external or wei chia styles based on Shaolin Ch'üan, although that distinction is sometimes disputed by individual schools. In this broad sense, among many T'ai Chi schools all styles of T'ai Chi (as well as related arts such as Pa Kua Chang and Hsing-i Ch'üan) are therefore considered to be "Wu Tang style" martial arts. The schools that designate themselves "Wu Tang style" relative to the family styles mentioned above mostly claim to teach an "original style" they say was formulated by a Taoist monk called Zhang Sanfeng and taught by him in the Taoist monasteries at Wu Tang Shan. Some consider that what is practised under that name today may be a modern back-formation based on stories and popular veneration of Zhang Sanfeng (see below) as well as the martial fame of the Wu Tang monastery (there are many other martial art styles historically associated with Wu Tang besides T'ai Chi). There is also a modern T'ai Chi style going by the name Wudang as a term of convenience that is fairly well-known internationally, especially in the UK and Europe, originally taught by a student of the Wu (吳) style. Cliffside Temple at Wudangshan The Wudang Mountains (武當山; pinyin: wǔ dāng shān, also known as Wu Tang Shan or simply Wudang), are a small mountain range in the Hubei province of China, just to the south of the manufacturing city of Shiyan. ... Buddhist monastery near Tibet A monastery is the habitation of monks. ... Shaolin Quan or Shaolin Chüan (少林拳) (in Cantonese Siu Lum Kuen) is the term typically used to describe the Chinese martial arts that originate from the famous Buddhist Shaolin Temple and monastery at Songshan in Henan, founded in 495 by Tamo. ... Bagua zhang (八卦掌 in pinyin: bā guà zhǎng) (Pa Kua Chang, Bagua Quan, Pa kua chüan, Bagua, Pakua, Pakua boxing) is one of the three major internal Chinese martial arts, the other two of which are Xingyiquan (形意拳) and Taijiquan (太極拳). ... Hsing Yi, (形意拳, Hanyu Pinyin: Xíngyì Quán, Wade-Giles: Hsing-i Chüan, literally Form and Thought Boxing) all refer to a northern Chinese martial art tradition attributed to the legendary Chinese General Yue Fei (岳飛) around 1100 AD. Hsing Yi claims to specialize in deceptively soft, linear, low attacks... Zhang Sanfeng was a semi-mythical Chinese Taoist immortal said variously to date from either the late Song dynasty, Yuan dynasty or Ming dynasty. ... The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a country in western Europe, and member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the G8, the European Union, and NATO. Usually known simply as the United Kingdom, the UK, or (inaccurately) as Great Britain or Britain, the UK has four constituent... World map showing location of Europe A satellite composite image of Europe Europe is geologically and geographically a peninsula, forming the westernmost part of Eurasia. ...


When tracing T'ai Chi Ch'üan's formative influences to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, one has little more to go on than legendary tales from a modern historical perspective, but T'ai Chi Ch'üan's practical connection to and dependence upon the theories of Sung dynasty Neo-Confucianism (a conscious synthesis of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian traditions, esp. the teachings of Mencius) is readily apparent to its practitioners. The philosophical and political landscape of that time in Chinese history is fairly well documented, even if the art later to become known as T'ai Chi Ch'üan's origin in it is not. T'ai Chi Ch'üan's theories and practice are therefore believed by some schools to have been formulated by the Taoist monk Chang San-feng in the 12th century, a time frame fitting well with when the principles of the Neo-Confucian school were making themselves felt in Chinese intellectual life. Therefore the didactic story is told that Chang San-feng as a young man studied Tao Yin (導引, py dǎoyǐn) breathing exercises from his Taoist teachers and martial arts at the Buddhist Shaolin monastery, eventually combining the martial forms and breathing exercises to formulate the soft or internal principles we associate with T'ai Chi Ch'üan and related martial arts. Its subsequent fame attributed to his teaching, Wu Tang monastery was known thereafter as an important martial center for many centuries, its many styles of internal kung fu preserved and refined at various Taoist temples. For other uses of the words tao and dao, see Dao (disambiguation). ... Statues of Buddha such as this, the Tian Tan Buddha statue in Hong Kong, remind followers to practice right living. ... Alternative meaning: Song Dynasty (420-479) The Song dynasty (Chinese: 宋朝) was a ruling dynasty in China from 960-1279. ... Neo-Confucianism (理學 Pinyin: Lǐxué) is a term for a form of Confucianism that was primarily developed during the Song dynasty, but which can be traced back to Han Yu and Li Ao in the Tang dynasty. ... Confucianism (儒家 Pinyin: rújiā The School of the Scholars), sometimes translated as the School of Literati, is an East Asian ethical, religious and philosophical system originally developed from the teachings of Confucius. ... Mencius (most accepted dates: 372 BC – 289 BC; other possible dates: 385 BC – 303 BC or 302 BC) was born in the State of Zou (鄒國), now forming the territory of the county-level city of Zoucheng (邹城市), Shandong province, only 30 km (18 miles) south of Qufu, the town... Tao Yin (導引, pinyin dǎoyǐn) exercises were an ancient precursor of chi kung, specifically practised in Chinese Taoist monasteries for health and spiritual cultivation, attested from at least 500 BC. Tao Yin is also said to be (along with Shaolin Chuan) a primary formative ingredient in the martial... PY, Py or py may stand for: Pinyin, a system of romanization (phonetic notation and transliteration to roman script) for Mandarin Chinese used in the Peoples Republic of China. ... Alternative meaning: Kung Fu (TV series) Kung fu or gongfu (功夫, Pinyin: gōngfu) is a well-known Chinese term used in the West to designate Chinese martial arts. ...


Family tree

 LEGENDARY FIGURES | Zhang Sanfeng* circa 12th century NEI CHIA | Tai Yi Zhenren* | Ma Yun Cheng* | Wang Zongyue* TAI CHI CHUAN | Zhang Song Xi* | THE 5 MAJOR CLASSICAL FAMILY STYLES | Chen Wang Ting 1600-1680 9th generation Chen CHEN STYLE | +---------------------------------------------------+ | | Chen Changxing Chen Youben 1771-1853 14th generation Chen circa 1800s 14th generation Chen Chen Old Frame Chen New Frame | | Yang Lu-ch'an Chen Qingping 1799-1872 1795-1868 YANG STYLE Chen Small Frame, Zhao Bao Frame | | +---------------------+-------------------------+ | | | | | Yang Chien-hou Yang Pan-hou Wu Yu-hsiang 1839-1917 1837-1892 1812-1880 | Yang Small Frame WU/HAO STYLE | | | Yang Ch'eng-fu Wu Ch'uan-yü Li I-yü 1883-1936 1834-1902 1832-1892 Yang Big Frame | | | Wu Chien-ch'üan Hao Wei-chen | 1870-1942 1849-1920 | WU STYLE | | 108 Form | | | Sun Lu-t'ang | | 1861-1932 | | SUN STYLE | | | | MODERN FORMS | | | lineage to Chen Old Frame | | | | Cheng Wing-kwong Qi Min-xuan | ????-???? | ????-???? | | | +----+-------------+ | | | | | | Cheng Man-ch'ing | Cheng Tin-hung 1901-1975 | 1930 Short (37) Form | Wudang style | Chinese Sports Commission 1956 Beijing 24 Form . . 1989 42 Competition Form (Wushu competition form combined from Sun, Wu, Chen, and Yang styles) 

Notes to Family tree table Zhang Sanfeng was a semi-mythical Chinese Taoist immortal said variously to date from either the late Song dynasty, Yuan dynasty or Ming dynasty. ... Nei chia (內家, pinyin nèi jiā Internal Family) denotes the internal, or soft style family of Chinese martial arts, in distinction to the wai chia (外家, wài jiā) or hard style school, which is associated especially with Shaolin Chüan (Shaolinquan) and its many derivatives. ... The Chen style (陳氏) is considered to be the senior branch of the five Tai Chi Chuan family styles and the third in terms of popularity. ... Yang style (楊家) Tai Chi Chüan in its many variations is the most popular and widely practised style in the world today and the second in terms of seniority among the primary five family styles of Tai Chi. ... The Wu style (吳家) Tai Chi Chuan of Wu Chuan-yü (Quanyou) and Wu Chien-chüan (Jianquan) is the second most popular form of Tai Chi Chuan in the world today, after the Yang style, and fourth in terms of family seniority. ... 24 Form (Simplified Form) Tai Chi Chuan The Chinese Sports Committee brought together four Tai Chi experts who truncated the Yang family hand form to 24 postures in 1956. ... Wushu (武術 or 武术; pinyin: wǔshù) literally means martial art. It is commonly used much the same way as the popular term kung fu, referring specifically to Chinese martial arts, but is in China also used as a general and formal term for any martial art. ...

  • Short (37) Form (http://www.patiencetaichi.com/aspects.htm)
  • Wudang style [1] (http://www.taichichuan.co.uk/information/wudang_tai_chi.html)

Names denoted by an asterisk are legendary or semi-legendary figures in the lineage, which means their involvement in the lineage, while accepted by most of the major schools, isn't independently verifiable from known historical records.


The Yang Pan-hou lineage is considered senior to the Yang Chien-hou lineage (as reflected by their respective ages), although it may appear otherwise in the formatting of the Family tree table above.


The Cheng Man-ch'ing and Chinese Sports Commission short forms are said to be derived from Yang family forms and appear to be in the Yang family transmission above, but neither are recognized as Yang family T'ai Chi Ch'uan by current Yang family teachers. As well, the "Wudang style" isn't recognized as representative of their style by the Wu family organisation. The Chen, Yang and Wu families are now promoting their own shortened demonstration forms for competitive purposes.


T'ai Chi in the present

Recently there has been some divergence between those who say they practise T'ai Chi primarily for fighting, those who practise it for its aesthetic appeal (as in the shortened, modern, theatrical "Taijiquan" forms of wushu, see below), and those who are more interested in its benefits to physical and mental health. The wushu aspect is primarily for show, the forms taught for those purposes are designed to earn points in competition and are mostly unconcerned with either health maintenance or martial ability. More traditional stylists still see the two aspects of health and martial arts as equally necessary pieces of the puzzle, the yin and yang of T'ai Chi Ch'üan. The T'ai Chi "family" schools therefore still present their teachings in a martial art context even though the majority of their students nowadays profess that they are primarily interested in training for the claimed health benefits. T'ai Chi has become very popular in the last twenty years or so, as the baby boomers age and T'ai Chi's reputation for ameliorating the effects of aging becomes more well-known. Hospitals, clinics, community and senior centers are all hosting T'ai Chi classes in communities around the world. Aesthetics (or esthetics) (from the Greek word αισθητική) is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty. ... Wushu (武術 or 武术; pinyin: wǔshù) literally means martial art. It is commonly used much the same way as the popular term kung fu, referring specifically to Chinese martial arts, but is in China also used as a general and formal term for any martial art. ... A baby boom is defined as a period of increased birth rates relative to surrounding generations. ...


Along with Yoga, it is one of the fastest growing fitness and health maintenance activities, in terms of numbers of students enrolling in classes. Since there is no universal certification process, and most Westerners haven't seen very much T'ai Chi and don't know what to look for, practically anyone can learn or even make up a few moves and call themselves a teacher. Relatively few of these teachers even know that there are martial applications to the T'ai Chi forms. Those who do know that it is a martial art usually don't teach martially themselves. If they do teach self-defense, it is often a mixture of motions which the teachers think look like T'ai Chi Ch'uan with some other system. This is especially evident in schools located outside of China. While this phenomenon may have made some external aspects of T'ai Chi available for a wider audience, the traditional T'ai Chi family schools see the martial focus as a fundamental part of their training, both for health and self-defense purposes. They claim that while the students may not need to practice martial applications themselves to derive a benefit from T'ai Chi training, their teachers at least should know the applications well enough to ensure that the movements they teach are done correctly and safely by their students. Also, working on the ability to protect oneself from physical attack (one of the most stressful things that can happen to a person) certainly falls under the category of complete "health maintenance." For these reasons they feel that a school not teaching those aspects somewhere in their syllabus cannot be said to be actually teaching the art itself, and will be much less likely to be able to reproduce the full health benefits that have made traditional T'ai Chi Ch'uan's reputation in the first place. Hatha Yoga posture Yôga, meaning union or yoking in Sanskrit, is the primary focus of Hinduisms diverse darshans or points of view. Yôga is a science of the body, the mind, the consciousness and the soul. ...


Modern forms

In order to standardize T'ai Chi Ch'uan for its citizens' daily exercise, and because many of the family T'ai Chi Ch'uan teachers either moved or stopped teaching after the Communist regime was established in 1949, the Chinese Sports Committee brought together four T'ai Chi experts who truncated the Yang family hand form to 24 postures in 1956. They wanted to somehow retain the essential principles of T'ai Chi Ch'uan but make it less difficult to learn than longer (generally 88 to 108 posture) classical family T'ai Chi Ch'uan hand forms. Because shorter forms don't have the conditioning benefits of the classical forms, they wanted more difficult forms for the purposes of further studies and demonstration that didn't have the demanding martial requirements of the traditional family forms. In 1976, the Combined 48 Forms were created by three T'ai Chi experts headed by Professor Men Hui Feng. The combined forms were created based on combining and condensing elements of the classical forms of four of the major styles; Ch'en, Yang, Wu, and Sun. The idea was to take what they felt were distinctive features of these styles and to express them in a short space of time. The Chinese Civil War was a conflict in China between the Kuomintang (the Nationalist Party; KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC). ... 1949 is a common year starting on Saturday. ... 1956 is a leap year starting on Sunday. ... 1976 is a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar). ...


As T'ai Chi again became popular on the Mainland, competitive forms were developed to be completed within a 6 minute time limit. In the late 1980s, the Chinese Sports Committee standardized the many different competition forms. It had chosen the four major styles and combined forms. These five sets of forms were created by different teams, and later approved by a committee of T'ai Chi experts in China, but not by direct representatives of most of the T'ai Chi families themselves. All sets of forms thus created were named after their style, e.g., the Ch'en Style National Competition Form is the 56 Forms, and so on. The combined forms are The 42 Form or simply the Competition Form, as it is known in China. In the 11th Asian Games of 1990, wushu was included as an item for competition for the first time with the 42 Form being chosen to represent T'ai Chi. It is likely to be the official form in the 2008 Summer Olympics. [2] (http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/short.htm) [3] (http://www.ohioshaolin.com/China%27s%20Arts/history_of_tai_chi_42_competitio.htm) Events and trends The 1980s marked an abrupt shift towards more conservative lifestyles after the momentous cultural revolutions which took place in the 1960s and 1970s and the definition of the AIDS virus in 1981. ... The Asian Games, also called the Asiad, is a South Korea and Japan. ... 1990 is a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar. ... The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, will be held in Beijing in the Peoples Republic of China from August 8, 2008 to August 24, 2008, with the opening ceremony to take place at 8 PM on August 8, 2008 (the number 8...


Representatives of some of the traditional families do not necessarily agree with the assessments of the Chinese Sports Committee, however. T'ai Chi Ch'uan has historically been seen by them as a martial art, not a sport, with competitions mostly entered as a hobby or to promote one's school publicly, but with little bearing on measuring actual accomplishment in the art. Their criticisms of modern forms include that the modern, "government" routines, being what they see as a mostly random combination by committee of some external elements of the traditional styles, have no standardized, internally consistent training requirements. Also, that people studying competition forms rarely train pushing hands or other power generation trainings vital to learning the martial applications of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and thereby lack the quality control traditional teachers say knowing the martial aspect of the art is essential for. In engineering and manufacturing, quality control or quality engineering is a set of measures taken to ensure that defective products or services are not produced, and that the design meets performance requirements. ...


T'ai Chi as a form of traditional Chinese medicine

Researchers have found that long-term T'ai Chi practice had favorable effects on the promotion of balance control, flexibility and cardiovascular fitness and reduced the risk of falls in elders. The studies also reported reduced pain, stress and anxiety in healthy subjects. Other studies have indicated improved cardiovascular and respiratory function in healthy subjects as well as those who had undergone coronary artery bypass surgery. Patients also benefited from Tai Chi who suffered from heart failure, high blood pressure, heart attacks, arthritis and multiple sclerosis (See research citations listed below).


Citations to medical research

  • Wolf SL, Sattin RW, Kutner M. Intense tai chi exercise training and fall occurrences in older, transitionally frail adults: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Dec; 51(12): 1693-701. PMID 14687346
  • Wang C, Collet JP, Lau J. The effect of Tai Chi on health outcomes in patients with chronic conditions: a systematic review. Arch Intern Med. 2004 Mar 8;164(5):493-501. PMID 15006825

See also

精 Jīng (pinyin) or ching1 (Wade-Giles) is the Chinese word for essence, more specifically the kidney essence or semen. ... Nei jin, Wade-Giles: nei chin or Pinyin: nèi jìn, 內勁, is an internal power or coordination said to be acquired through the practise of Chinese martial arts. ...

External links

  • A Chen Family Website (http://www.chenxiaowang.com/)
  • Yang Family Website (http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/)
  • Wu Chien-ch'üan Family Website (http://www.wustyle.com/)
  • Dong Tai Chi home page (http://www.dongtaichi.com/)
  • The World of Taijiquan (http://www.chen-taiji.com/mambo/)
  • Lee Scheele's Links to T'ai Chi Ch'uan Web Sites (http://www.scheele.org/lee/tcclinks.html)
  • Salud y Longevidad (http://www.taijiquan.info) All about the spanish World of Taijiquan
  • Modern Forms (http://www.taiji.de/taiji/head4e/index.htm) applications, videos, and music from Taiji (http://www.taiji.de/) German site
  • Tai Chi and Taiji 37 from Dr Shen Hongxun (http://www.buqi.net/gb/)
  • Member of the International Plum Blossom Federation (http://www.chinatown-taichi.com/)

  Results from FactBites:
 
Tai Chi - Crystalinks (1659 words)
Tai Chi is a centuries old Chinese discipline for health, relaxation, balance, flexibility, strength, meditation, self-defense and self-cultivation.
Tai Chi is change and you should follow and respond naturally to the opponents every subtle move and situation.
Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined.
The Physician and Sportsmedicine: Tai Chi Chuan (938 words)
Tai chi offers health benefits that are particularly attractive to older adults, and classes have sprung up all over the United States in recent years.
Tai chi, therefore, should generally be practiced along with, rather than in place of, regular moderate aerobic exercise.
To perform tai chi correctly, students should be supervised by an instructor trained to monitor their posture and movement.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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