“Supreme Ultimate Boxing” is what an East Asian martial art form called Tai Chi means when literally translated. This “Traditional Taoist” form of combat is said to have originated from China. Apparently, Tai Chi is practiced not only as a form of “self defense” but also to derive “health” benefits. Furthermore, this form of combat comprises of a training techniques that include traditional as well as the modern style. As of today, Tai Chi as a form of martial art is popular all around the world.
a. History/origin of Tai Chi:
According to the cultural history of China, the concept of Tai Chi or taiji has its roots deeply embedded in the Taoist and Confucian philosophy. Furthermore, it basically fuses elements belonging to “yin and yang”, and is represented by a “taijitu” symbol. It is also said that that the concept of Tai chi has been based on theories related to Neo-Confucianism (i.e. a concept that combines Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions) that existed especially during the Song dynasty. In addition, a Taoist monk named Zhang Sanfeng during the 12th century is supposed to have combined theories and practical skills and thereby systemized “Tai Chi” as form of martial art. However, the validity of Sanfeng being the creator of this form of combat has been debated by modern researchers. In fact these researchers state that any relationship between Sanfeng and this form of combat must only be taken as a political metaphor and nothing else. In other words, there appears to be no confirmed story regarding the development of Tai Chi.
b. Weapon used in the Tai Chi:
There are several weapons used in the Tai Chi, and they are as follows:
- The Jian: A straight double edged sword.
- The Dao: A heavier curved sabier.
- The Tieshan: A folding fan also known as “Shan”.
- The Gun: A wooden staff that is usually 2 meter long.
- The Qiang: Comprises of a spear that is 2 meter long and a lance that is 4meter long.
A few additional weapons may also be used and they include:
- Dadao and Podao: Large sabres.
- A cane:
- Sheng Biao: A rope dart.
- Sanjiegum: A three sectional staff.
- Feng Huo Lun: Wind and fire wheels.
- Whips: Chain and steel whips.
c. Technique involved in the Tai Chi and training availability:
In terms of technique, Tai Chi involves the use of two key components. These essential components are as follows:
- Taolu: Also referred to as “solo forms”. It includes the use of slow body movements with high emphasis on the individual maintaining a straight spine, abdominal breathing, and natural range of motion.
- Tuishou: Also referred to as “pushing hands”. It includes the use of more practical based body movement training. In addition, this form of training requires a partner.
As for training centers/schools, there are number of them available around the world for those interested in learning this “Traditional Taoist” form of martial art.