Tai Chi

Tai Chi Ch’uan (also spelled Taijiquan in modern Chinese Pinyin, and often shortened to Tai Chi or Taiji) is a martial art originating in China.

The name of the Art translates freely to “Grand Ultimate Fist”, meaning an integrated system of fisticuffs – Ch’uan (empty hand and traditional blade and pole arms) based on the “Grand Ultimate” principle of universal dualism, Tao. A simpler translation may be “Yin/Yang Boxing”.

In modern times, Tai Chi is practiced both as a high level martial art and as a system of developing health and self awareness in a fashion similar to Yoga. Practitioners are encouraged to “major” in one side of the system while “minoring” in the other, which mirrors the dual nature of the Art itself.

Each class will include lessons in the structure, elements and philosophy of Tai Chi, and incremental steps in the acquisition of a traditional Tai Chi formal exercise.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the semester students will have knowledge, experience and/or ability in one or more of the following areas:

  • The basic principles of Tai Chi Ch’uan
  • The relationship of Tai Chi to other martial arts
  • The role of martial arts in broader society, and connection of martial art principles to other disciplines
  • At least 12 movements in either the Yang Family 24 movement form (Beijing 1957) or the Yang Family Traditional Form (late 19th/early 20th century) , which is variously counted as 81 or 108 movements
  • A set of 6 breathing/movement exercises that simultaneously address personal health and Tai Chi techniques.

Recommended Readings

  • Tao Te Ching – Lao Tsu (many translations available)
  • The Tao of Tai Chi Chuan – Jou, Tsung Hwa
  • Tai Chi Touchstones – Douglas Wile