Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi) is a ancient practice that involves the promotion of health and wellness, concentration and relaxation, and the integration of mind and body as one performs martial art applications.
Historically it is reported that Tai Chi began as Wudang Kungfu with Zhang San Feng (b.1247). Throug the teachings of Tai Yi Zhenren and Ma Yun Cheng it is said that Wang Zong Yue developed Tai Chi Chuan. From Ma Yun Cheng the practice of Pakua Kung also arose from the teachings of Dong Hai Chuan.
The Chen style, oldest tradition today was developed by Chen Wang Ting (~1600-1680) and the Yang style was developed by Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872) which lead to the later development of the Wu and Sun styles.
Wu style originates with both Wu Chuan You (1834-1902) and Wu Yu Xiang (1813-1880) which lead to the Sun style by Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932).
Tai Chi is built upon the principles of yin and yang and the never end flow of nature and being. It invovles the development of mediative relaxation needed to learn sound movements. As a martial art, Tai Chi involves defense through a few basic forms of movement along with four major types of counter attack: hitting, kicking, trowing and gripping (Wong, 1996).
First one learns to crawl, then walk and then to run; likely Tai Chi invovles learning movements slowly and with good intention to master balance and efficent movment. Once the basics are acquired, one can apply these techniques at fater speed in everyday life situations (Lee, 1976).
Learning Tai Chi is best done with learning other related practices such as the I Ching,and understanding Taoism along with Traditional Chinese Medicine and Feng Shui. These practices are all integral for developing a comprehensive practice of Tai Chi Chuan.
One Can begin with the Basic Eight movements and Silk Reeling exercises as a foundation from which to develop work on one of the principle forms such at the Wu/Ng/Yang 108.
Lee, D. (1976). Tai Chi CHuan: the philosophy of yin and yang and its application. Burbank, CA; Ohara Publications.
Wong, K.K. (1996). The complete book of Tai Chi Chuan: A comprehensive guide to the principles and practice. Rockport, Mass: Element.