Tai Chi Chuan


 


Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art that is primarily practiced for its health benefits, including a means for dealing with tension and stress. It emphasizes complete relaxation, and is essentially a form of meditation, or what has been called "meditation in motion." Unlike the hard martial arts, tai chi is characterized by soft, slow, flowing movements that emphasize force, rather than brute strength. Though it is soft, slow, and flowing, the movements are executed precisely.

The history of Tai Chi Chuan dates back to the 14th century when Chang San Fung, a Taoist monk, witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake. He noticed how the soft circular movements of the snake overcame the hard movements of the bird and he devised a system of self-defense based on that principle. The evolution of the art has followed the styles of many masters with a variety of forms. At one time these forms were guarded secrets among certain families in China. The secrets of Tai Chi were revealed when Ying Kit Tung opened schools in Peking during the first half of this century.

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