Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Chi) is an 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). Through 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 Yu Xiang (1813-1880) and Wu Chuan You (1834-1902) which further lead to the Sun style by Sun Lu Tang (1861-1932).

Tai Chi is built upon the principles of yin and yang and their never ending flow of being and nature.
It involves the development of meditative relaxation needed to learn sound movements.

As a martial art, Tai Chi involves self defense through a few basic forms of movement along with four major types of counter attack: hitting, kicking, throwing and gripping (Wong, 1996).

First one learns to crawl, then walk and then to run; likewise Tai Chi involves learning movements slowly and with good intention to master balance and efficient movement. Once the basics are acquired, one can apply these techniques at faster 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 as the Wu/Ng/Yang 108.

Nejia is also part of taichi practice, Mike Sigman has been an influential proponent of it it North America. Here he discusses Jing

For information on Tai Chi classes in Victoria contact:
TaiChi -at- rgtonks.ca

RG Tonks has been playing taichi for over 30 years and has taught at Simon Fraser University and at Camosun College. He is trained in the 108 Wu/Ng/Yang form, 88 San Shou form, Pa Gua, Chan Ssu Chin and Tai Chi Bang. My journey

Dr. Tonks also teaches psychology at Camosun College and the University of Victoria where his interests include health and culture. He teaches about the I Ching and self in Chinese thought as well as the elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine.


Video Collection


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.