Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi is one of the ancient concepts, ideas, or philosophies that explain the creation of the universe.
At the beginning of time, it was a complete emptiness, silence or “Wuchi”.
Somehow in this complete void, two forces emerged; one being positive called Yang and the corresponding called negative or Yin.
The atom, electricity or computers are based on this binary system, positive –negative, one or zero.
When these two forces fuse for the first time, they produced a tremendous expanding force, like a big bang and the whole universe started.
Yin and Yang, regenerating themselves ad infinitum; these original forces are still moving, and in their path, have been creating planets, stars, life, and this reality.
These Yin and Yang connection always generate some kind of creative, new and vital reaction call Tai Chi.
The characteristic of these 2 forces is to be equal or balanced, and if any lacks equilibrium manifests then the forces diminish, disappear and transform.
Tai Chi embodies the supreme harmony between opposite forces; it is the creative order, the subtle law of the universe.
Yin and Yang are omnipresent in anything you lay your eyes on, what your senses grasp and what your mind tells you.
When Yin is manifested, Yang will follow, high follows the low, while the black, male, female, there is an expected, concerted, and vital antagonism.
According to Taoism, in the beginning, this antagonism, this attraction, and repulsion created the second dimension, the space dimension.
The two dimensions fill this void with infinite galaxies and celestial objects, in a transition of, frenetic activities and rest, so the manifested world began.
We live in a three-dimensional world; the fourth dimension is the time dimension.
Tai Chi put emphasis in the silence, the void, as a generating force, and like Taoism, tries to explain how the phenomena, manifested in front of our eyes, has roots, in the no existed realm, in the unmanifested world.
Tai chi is the ultimate balance, the subtle edge between increasing and decreasing, without excess or deficiency.
Taoism, which is the oldest tradition in China, adopted the Yin and Yang concept, as a correct model of living; humans and the universe both share the same principles, a macro, and microcosm.
The Tao, (the truth, the way) is manifested in humans, to the creative expressions of art, the contemplation of reality of the present moment; the transcendent thoughts that make us vibrate.
Tai Chi Chuan is the corporal expression of the philosophy of Taoism.
Dances through the ages have tried to reflect matters of primal importance for people’s survival. They sometimes express joyful and transcendental events in history. Some are the prelude of fertility.
Tai Chi Chuan is the expression of the ineffable subtle law of the universe.
When the corporal expression becomes slow, it transforms into a kind of ritual.
All esoteric and religious practices are base on prearranged rituals because what they are trying to do is express something that is beyond the tangible.
The repetition of these rituals was believed, to eventually produce the effect to connect with some sort of knowledge.
Like persistently tuning a radio that occasionally works, with the intention of perceiving the trick that will always make it function.
Rituals that survive the passing of time and have shown their effectiveness will have their own life by itself or incorporate to some kind of organized faith.
Rituals could also be twisted, manipulated and be the manifestation of darkness.
All rituals have some kind of intrinsic philosophy; the corporal expressions are allegories of this knowledge.
The detention of this knowledge and rituals gave certain individuals the condition of special or chose a human being to a cultural clan or societies.
So essentially to perform the ritual of Tai Chi, it is vital to know the thoughts behind the movements.
Each position in Tai Chi is like a ritual in itself and has a hidden meaning. They accomplish the expression of the philosophy in the context of a martial art routine.
This expression is called Tai Chi Chuan, being Chuan the martial art aspect.
You could live the Tai Chi in your life without the Chuan, or practice the Chuan without the philosophy in mind just only as a good way to be physically fit.
Taoist were against any kind of physical violence, but violence was part of their everyday life and could not be ignored.
Even if they retire to the mountains, violence will eventually follow them, and preserving their own life was the most important obligation.
They have to use martial arts to defend themselves since they were in a constant state of meditation this was also an expression of their personal development.
Some of the principles of their boxing skills were:
Redirect the aggression at the last fraction of a second with the least amounts of energy.
Restrain to use force against the oncoming force, you could find somebody stronger than you are.
Use yin to overcome yang and yang against yin.
The force of the fist is yang; the action to block is soft and gentle, yin.
The interaction of attack and defense is not conducted by our sensors or conscious mind but guided by supreme energy or Chi in all of us.
Preservation of life at all cost, ending the confrontation without permanent harm.
In any confrontation, have no attachment to winning or losing, to life or death. If there is no attachment, it is possible to maintain all the abilities.
For some authors, Chang Sang Feng, a monk who lived in the 13th century, was the creator of Tai Chi Chuan. His existence is a source of controversy. Some people say he was sloppy in his dressing, 7 feet tall, that he lived hundreds of years, etc. Many people celebrate his birthday and believed he founded Tai Chi Chuan.
There are 5 principal schools of Tai Chi Chuan. The Old Structure or Chen style, the Big Structure or Yang style, the Small Structure or Wu style, the Medium Structure or the other Wu style, and the active structure or Sun style.
The principles in all the styles are basically the same; they all repeat continually 13 basic positions or techniques that Chan Sang Feng taught. He had a dream and in his dream, the Eight Immortals of Taoism taught him 13 basic positions to find health, longevity, and enlightenment.
When Chan Sang Feng had this dream, he saw a human being with an aura of light, and the acupuncture points shinning like stars.
The styles of Tai Chi Chuan have different interpretations of the universe.
In the Chen style Old structure, the representation of Yin and Yang is tangible and definite; the movements are explosive as imitating a clap of thunder and soft as pulling silk from the cocoon.
The Yang Style, Big Structure is based on the idea that we don’t know if the universe is expanding or contracting, for Yang style the universe is expanding the movements are big and expansive.
The Wu Style, Small structure believes that in a small particle you can see the whole universe; in a drop of salty water, you can taste all the oceans. The movements, for this reason, are relatively small compare with Yang style.
The Other Wu Style medium structure believes that nothing is small or big, it depends what you compare with, and so the movements are medium.
The Sum Style, Active Structure represents the continuous motion in the universe.
The most popular Tai Chi Chuan form practiced in China is the 24 and 48 postures of the Yang style.