About Tai Chi

(Taichi, Taiji, Taichi-chuan, Taijiquan)


Our Tai Chi classes are taught as a way to achieve deeper comfort and higher performance in all activities through both traditional and scientific understandings. Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art, health exercise, and meditation method based on Taoist philosophy that emphasizes deep relaxation of mind and body. The form practice helps one to achieve this by developing greater awareness of ‘here and now.’ Through self-defense applications, students can experience how deep relaxation leads to optimal action, and can apply this idea to other physical disciplines as well as to enhance everyday life. Because it does not rely on brute force, Tai Chi is a rare example of an art of self-defense that can be used effectively against physically much stronger opponents.

There are five 'officially' recognised styles of tai chi: Chen, Yang, Wu, Wuu and Sun. Chen, Yang and Wu styles are the most commonly practised; Wuu and Sun styles are rarer. Chen style tai chi is the original form of tai chi, and is characterised by fluid athletic movements. Yang style tai chi is derived from Chen tai chi, and Wu style is in turn derived from Yang style. The Yang and Wu styles retain the essential qualities of tai chi, but not the apparent athleticity of the Chen style. Another example of differences between Chen tai chi and the Yang and Wu styles is that the latter two are slightly leaning in form, whereas the Chen form is upright (an exception to this is the Cheng Manching Yang style, which, like the Chen style form, is upright). One distinguishing characteristic of the Wu style is that nearly 100% of one's body weight is placed on one leg in most Wu style postures. Wu style also tends to emphasise acupuncture theory early on, whereas in other styles this usually enters later in the practice.


Princeton Tai Chi Club
About Tai Chi
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