太極拳
Taijiquan

Dong Yingjie Demonstrates Taijiquan

Taijiquan (or Tai Chi) is likely the most famous of the Internal arts, and can be found in nearly every corner of the world. It is renowned as a health building and maintaining exercise, though its martial applications have become somewhat obscured as it has spread.

Its name means "Supreme Ultimate Boxing" and refers to the "supreme ultimate" Taiji principle (commonly referred to in the West as Yin-Yang). The core principles of Taijiquan were described by Sun Lutang as "centered harmoniousness" and "continuousness" with "expanding and contracting," and by Chen Weiming as "sticking, yielding, and following."

The origins of Taijiquan are somewhat disputed. Commonly, it is credited to the possibly legendary figure Zhang Sanfeng, but this is generally considered to be due to the practice of not crediting oneself for the creation of a new martial art, which would have been considered to be in bad taste at the very least and would certainly have resulted in a string of challengers.

Another theory has the Chen family of Chenjiagou as the creators of Taijiquan, going back to Chen Wangting. A third has Yang Luchan and Wu Yuxiang as the de facto founders, applying the principles of Wang Zongyue's Taiji Treatise to the Chen Family Martial Arts.

As Taijiquan is a theoretical style, there are many styles of Taiji and none can be said to be the "correct" one (as long as the principles of the Taiji Treatise are followed, the style would be considered correct, regardless of its appearance). The Mainland Chinese government officially recognizes five styles, being Chen, Yang, Sun, Wu, and Hao. There are of course other styles that have reached prominence, but these are the major schools in our current day.

We begin Taijiquan education with Yang style. Due to its large frame and slow speed, it's an ideal starting point for newer students to develop Internal structure and mechanics. Following Yang style, students who wish to continue can then progress to an overview of the major Taijiquan schools, as well as learning push hands and Taiji Sword.

 

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