Welcome to Wood Dragon - the tai-chi chuan (taijiquan) information portal. Our aim is to provide an information source for people who study or are thinking of studying tai-chi (taiji). To explain exactly what tai-chi is, why it is justly famed and to facilitate the separation of truth from myth.
But it's a big subject and with much of it shrouded in mysticism and folk lore it can be hard to get to the core truths. Yet understanding these core principles is pivotal to making progress irrespective of whether you aspire to improving health or to martial prowess.
It's our hope that this site will help to unravel the mystery surrounding tai-chi and add to your understanding of this art.
Tai-chi (taiji) literally means supreme-ultimate which is a reference to a Taoist philosophical concept from which yin and yang are derived. Tai-chi chuan (taijiquan) can be defined as an internal martial art that embodies yin and yang in its movements. It is often referred to simply as tai-chi or taiji. Its unique characteristics have made it especially renowned for its health benefits which has given rise to its immense popularity.
Tai-chi can be a gentle exercise that is beneficial to all but the very young. It utilises the ancient Chinese wisdom of internal movement techniques (six harmonies motion) which are derived from an understanding of natural movement. This 'whole body movement' develops a balanced, relaxed and coordinated body structure. Tai-chi uniquely adds to this the characteristically slow 'silk reeling' motion. These slow movements impart a calming quality that aids relaxation, improves concentration and helps to develop the necessary control of the body that is required to achieve the core skills.
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Tai-chi chuan and taijiquan are the same thing. The different spellings have arisen due to a change in the convention used when translating from Chinese to English. Taijiquan is the more modern convention (pinyin) but the old colonial spelling of tai-chi chuan remains in common usage throughout the west.
The Yang in 'Yang style' is a family name and not a reference to the yang of yin-yang.
"Tai-chi comes from wu-chi and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion it separates, in stillness they fuse.
It is not excessive or deficient; accordingly when it bends, it then straightens."
Wang Tsung-yueh C.1750