Taiji Quan

CF asks: “What is Taiji Quan?”

Taiji Quan (Tai Chi Chuan), which means supreme ultimate boxing, is a martial art developed in the 17th century by a Taoist monk named Zhang San Feng. It is designed to teach the practitioner to relax the mind and body when confronting an attack so as to neutralize the attacker. There are many forms of Taiji Quan, but all of them have the same philosophy of relaxation of the mind and body so the body’s natural energy can flow freely.

The Taoist philosophy is very important to the practice of Taiji Quan. ” . . . Taiji Quan is more than physical exercise; it develops the inner faculties of essence, vital energy, and the mind,” says one practioner’s website. (http://www.pittsburghkungfu.com/taichi.htm#Q2)

The vital energy being discussed here refers to “chi” – a universal life force energy for which there is no scientific evidence. The word taiji refers to the yin-yang of Chinese philosophy.

The Center for Daoist Studies  explains it this way: “Taiji refers to the cosmogonic moment when the Dao (a “way” of life) through a spontaneous, impersonal process of self-unfolding, moved from Wuji (Primordial Undifferentiation) to Taiji, the manifest universe based on yin-yang interaction. Taiji quan is thus a form of martial arts based on yin and yang differentiation.”

Each Taiji Quan movement has an underlying mental component. As is the case with all eastern physical regimens, the meditative aspect of the practice is considered to be very important, and it is here that Christians are likely to be introduced to Chinese philosophical principles that are not compatible with Christianity.


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