Origins Of Tai Chi Chuan
One traditional legend has it that the stances of Tai Chi were discovered by Chan Sang Feng, who was born in China in the 13th century. He was taught Kung Fu by Shaolin Monks and went to the Wudang mountains where he stayed for 9 years to discover his Tao (way), during that time he witnessed a white crane attacking a snake. It was the fluidity of the battle that impressed Chan Sang Feng with the snake always maintaining a circle but able to avoid the pecks of the crane (who eventually gave up and flew off hungry). He noted how they each yielded at times to be in a better position to strike, he decided to modify his Kung Fu from hard training (kicking trees, punching bags of sand) to using his internal energy (Qi) along with Qigong breathing exercises.
The idea of a circle is important to tai chi, particularly as it relates to the concepts of yin and yang. Qi is made up of Yin (left hand, feminine) and Yang (right hand, male). All things have Qi, you can live for 3 days without water but you can’t live for 3 seconds without Qi.
For around five centuries the original form went to ground then in the 18th century in the Henan province of China Chen Chang Hsing began teaching the first known Tai Chi form. From this Chen style form all the other major forms were derived i.e. Yang, Wu (Wudang), Sun, and Woo .
The literal translation of Tai Chi Chuan is Ultimate or Supreme Fist or Boxing the style of Tai Chi I practice is Wudang Tai Chi Chuan which is a classical form of Tai Chi incorporating the learning of fighting applications and weapons associated with the forms of Tai Chi. Wudang style Tai Chi has five basic forms which are: Square hand, Round hand, Sword, Sabre & Spear. In addition to this there are other exercises to promote skill, health and sensitivity such as applications & Qigong.
The forms of Tai Chi were derived to enable students to practice there fighting skills in a slow controlled manner so that when they were needed to be used in combat the skills practiced would be precise and powerful.
Tai Chi also has a number of health giving benefits such as:
Bodily co-ordination and optimum usage of the physical skills of the body (body).
Development of relaxation, calmness of spirit and stress reduction (mind).
Establish deep healing, rejuvenation & longevity of one’s life span.
Self defence skills effective for women and men well into old age
Tai Chi is one of the most comprehensive Chinese Martial Arts ever created which includes psychological and spiritual development and is sometimes referred to as moving meditation.
MQP, Cert KHT
For more information on my classes click on the links below:
Thursday – Military Museum Scotland (Wilkieston).