What is Taijiquan?

Taijiquan is a form of Chinese martial arts belonging to the Neijia (internal) school. Typified by its slow and graceful movements, Taijiquan is favored by its practitioners for its many health benefits. It is also believed that the regular practice of Taijiquan prolongs life. A literal translation of Taijiquan means “supreme ultimate fist” or “boundless fist”. Associated with the symbol of Yin and Yang, Taijiquan is deeply rooted in the principles of Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism.

According to legend, Taijiquan originated from the 13th century Chinese sage Zhang Sanfeng who was credited as the creator of the original 13 Movements of Taijiquan. Forming the core teachings of all schools of Taijiquan, the foundation of these movements can be attributed the Chinese classics known as the I Ching, and notably, the Tao Te Ching where it is written, “The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and strong.” In Wudang Shan where he stayed for the big part of his life, Zhang Sanfeng passed the art of Taijiquan to his followers in the Taoist temples. After the time of Zhang Sanfeng, his famous disciple Wang Zongyue wrote The Taiji Treatise. The five major classical family styles are known as Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu, and Sun which have their own characteristics and forms. While Taijiquan is usually distinguished by extremely slow movements, there are derivative forms which are faster in the Yang, Wu and Chen styles. The three major modern forms of Taijiquan are Cheng Man-ch’ing’s Short 37 Form, the Chinese Sports Commission’s Beijing 24 Form and the 42 Competition Form.

The practice of Taijiquan is beneficial for health, meditation, and martial arts, but can require a visit to a chiropractor from time to time. Due to its slow pace and meditative nature, Taijiquan is an effective remedy for the relief of physical and mental stress. In order to perform the movements of Taijiquan, the practitioner needs to be calm and focused. The emphasis is always on the internal, not the external. As a form of martial art, Taijiquan is unique in the sense that it is reaction rather than action. It is soft, not hard. Slow, not fast. For practice with a partner, the pushing hands technique is used. In sports, Taijiquan is included in Wushu tournaments.

Information about Taijiquan Classes in Cupertino, CA

Video of Full 24 Form Taijiquan

General Information about Taijiquan

Information on Wu Style Taijiquan Lessons

Yang Style Taijiquan

American Yangjia Michuan Taijiquan Association

History and Information on Taijiquan

Video of 42 Form Taijiquan with Relaxing Classical Chinese Music

Resource Page on Taijiquan

The Magic Tortoise Taijiquan School in North Carolina

Shadowhand Taijiquan

The Taijiquan & Qi Gong Federation for Europe

Chen Zhao Kui Taijiquan Association North America Branch

Learning Taijiquan in Nottingham, UK

International Society of Chen Taijiquan

The Northern Wu Taijiquan Research Institute (Syracuse, NY)

Around the world, Taijiquan is gaining fast popularity as a fitness activity. The best time to practice Taijiquan is in the morning as the sun is rising. Usually, Taijiquan classes are conducted in parks or open spaces. Since the health benefits of Taijiquan are many and it’s rather easy to learn, its popularity will only grow greater in time.