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History

Tai Chi

Tai Chi – Overview
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The History of Tai Chi

While there are many different versions of the origin of Tai Chi, I will relay the one Grandmaster Sin told me. While certain elements of every version of Tai Chi’s history are dramatized, they still convey an important message.

In 1200 AD a Shaolin Priest named Chang San Feng was in seclusion on a mountain when he observed a battle between a snake and a Magpie. While the Magpie was orders of magnitude faster than the snake, it still was unable to win the fight. Chang San Feng realized that the snake always moved backward at angles, because of the way snakes move. Even though it was much slower, it used angular motion to compensate.

From this observation he created the first 13 postures of Tai Chi Chuan (Grand Ultimate Fist). After Chang San Feng death the form ended up within the Chen family teachings. This family is still found in China’s Henan province. It remained a well-kept secret within this family for about 600 years. In the 1800’s a small man from Southern China began to work for the Chen family. His name was Yang Lu Chan or Yang Lu Tan (depends on your pronunciation), and he secretly watched the Chen Master teach Tai Chi for 18 years, all the time practicing what he saw. He finally left the service of the Chens and was awarded the job of training the Empress Dowager’s Imperial Body Guard (20,000 men). After this post he traveled the country taking challenges from anyone and was known throughout China as “Unbeatable Yang”. The Yang style of Tai Chi is the most famous in the world and is the first system of Tai Chi that you will learn in our school. He also created several Tai Chi weapon forms for the soldiers which we will teach you next. Then you will learn the art of Pa Kua Chang (8 changes palm), an art created by master Tung Hai Chuan. In the advanced stages of your internal training you will learn Chen family Tai Chi, and the final internal art, Shing Yi Chuan (form of the fist that depends on the will). Shing Yi is the most deadly of all the internal arts (except for Meteor Fist).