Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan (Tai Ji) is a martial art and exercise system with a written history of over 500 years. Some have documented the beginning of tai chi chuan to Chang San-Feng during the Sung Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as "Supreme Ultimate Boxing" or "Great Extremes Boxing". It combines martial art techniques with Chi Kung (Qi Gong) meditative breathing exercises. Tai Chi Chuan has a very complex history that spans over many centuries. Tai chi training consists of:

  1. Chi Kung (Qi Gong) breathing exercises
  2. Tai Chi forms practice
  3. Push hands training (Tui Shou)
  4. Tai Chi Chin Na (joint lock and seizing techniques)
  5. Two person forms training
  6. Weapons training (Spear, Staff, Strait sword, broad sword, etc.)
  7. Fa Jing and Silk Reeling energy
  8. Free Sparring

Many different families, or styles, of Tai Chi have developed over the centuries. These include the Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun, Li styles. The movements of some Tai Chi styles, such as the popular Yang style, are slow and uninterrupted like a flowing stream. Less commonly known, though, is that other styles of Tai Chi, like the Chen style, punctuate the slow movements with fast, powerful techniques. The Chen style practices deeper training such as Fa Jing and Silk Reeling energy. Practice of Tai Chi requires a high degree of concentration, and helps to develop flexibility, balance, coordination, strength and power.

Tai Chi movement, application and theory is based on Taoist philosophy which is most commonly understood through the complex energies of Yin and Yang in the Taijitu and Bagua symbols. These symbols represent the delicate balance of yin and yang, these energies are in constant interaction and harmony. There is never pure yin or pure yang, they are in a constant state of complex equilibrium. The challenge of Tai Chi training is to become proficient in the balance of these energies; soft and hard, slow and fast, yield and attack. The Bagua symbol below more closely depicts the martial application of Tai Chi and utilizes the eight Trigrams to describe these energies.

The Taijitu Symbol: The Bagua Symbol:
Yin_yang Bagua

The Principal Movements of Tai Chi Chuan

The Eight Gates:
English Cantonese Mandarin Trigram
Ward Off Pang Peng South; Heaven
Roll/Pull Back Lei Lu North; Earth
Press Forward Jai Ji West; Water
Push On An East; Fire
Pull Down Choi Cai Southwest; Wind
Sit Back Lit Lie Northeast; Thunder
Elbow Stroke Jau Zhou Southeast; Lake
Shoulder Stroke Kau Kao Northwest; Mountain

Songs Kung-fu Academy teaches both the Yang and Chen styles of Tai Chi Chuan. Men and women of all ages and all levels of fitness can practice it. While some students focus more on the relaxation, meditative and healing aspects of Tai Chi, some learn Tai Chi Chuan as an extremely practical and powerful system of self- defense and martial art.