Tai Ji Quan

TAI JI QUAN

Like most of Chinese martial arts, trying to establish and determine the genesis of Tai Ji Quan is yet another challenge. Although there are numerous different accounts and claims about its creation it is very difficult to conclude the authenticity and accuracy of available records. Considering the difficulties of translation from Chinese, the style of writing and understanding the meaning of the writing in the same way as when it was written, and trying recognize the difference between the fact and a legend are just some of the problems that we face to establish for certain and concrete supported evidence. So it seems, that the truth is still a mystery which remains to this day. However, despite the scarcity and different various interpretations about its creation, everyone agrees that Wudangshan is the home of Tai Ji Quan (Picture on the right).

Wudangshan, or Wudang mountain is situated in Hebei province in central China embracing an area of two hundred square kilometres which represents Heaven and Earth that exudes with serenity of seventy-two beautiful scenery peaks spreading across this boundless range of mountains.

Wudangshan certainly does not come as a coincidence that this location was a perfect choice to be the birthplace of Tai Ji Quan. Remote and serene place detached from earthly matters creates an Ideal place for meditation, observation the nature, practicing martial arts, studying and practicing Chinese medicine and philosophy of Daoism.

A life style and a life time pursuit to living in the harmony with the nature has been always what Tai Ji Quan differentiated from other martial arts. It is rather universal paradigm and practice how human life should be harmonised with all different aspect of the life rather than a singular direction of one discipline, whether we talk about philosophical aspect, martial, ethical or any other. Understanding this to be the essence of Tai Ji, it is impossible to approach partially as it would lose its real value and meaning. In addition to this, it would be very disrespectful to ignore already a bestowed and pure equilibrium for us to live in and at the same time to be part of it. Therefore, we shall strive to continue to nourish this way of life and continue fulfilling our duty towards the nature and the universe.

HISTORY

Although it is said that Tai Ji Quan history starts with a legendary monk Zhang Sanfeng there is more than sufficient evidence showing that its roots go back as far as 2.500BC as Paul Unshuld postulates in his book “Medicine in China” History of Ideas, after his extensive research on medicine in China and benefits of physical exercises on health, where he finds first evidence of Qi Gong practice. Most likely those exercises and movements were not the same as what we know nowadays, which were shaped during the flourishing Ming dynasty from 1460 – 1730AD, but the systematic approach had already been well established and practiced as we shall see later. Certainly, and definitely most solid evidence of the existence of such exercises can be found in the book “Huang Di Nei Jing Su Wen” or “Cannons of the Yellow Emperor” written around 300-400BC. during the Warring states period. From this remarkable book or “The Bible of Chinese Medicine”, we learned that already at that time the whole system of Chinese Medicine, Qi Gong, Daoism philosophy, importance of diet and regular exercising were all established and well practiced. Perhaps later evidence and written records come from the famous and respected physician Hua Tou (c.140-208AD.), who maintained and explains the importance of physical exercises for the health benefits as he himself was a Tai Ji Quan practitioner.

TAI JI QUAN DOCTRINE

It is fascinating to observe that such a complex and all-embracing system was discovered and understood so far back, and therefore, before we start talking about Tai Ju Quan it would be more appropriate to explain and decipher the name “Tai Ji Quan