Tàijíquán (Tai Chi Chuan) is a moving meditation that sets into motion the Microcosmic orbit that vertically permeates the torso, and the macrocosmic orbit, a circuit through all four limbs. The internal energy travelling through these circuits naturally flows into connecting meridians, and masses potential energy into a tidal wave of force. As a healing element, this flow Of energy increases circulation, calms the mind, relaxes the muscles and heals nervous, organic and skeletal problems. As a fighting art its use allows internal energy, not muscular force, to defeat an enemy. When a Tai Chi Master strikes an enemy, his internal energy enters into the enemy’s body, destroying body tissue more than a physical blow could ever do. Tàijíquán advocates relaxation of the body and lightness in contrast to other styles, the Tàijíquán practitioner remains relaxed and calm during a fight, not simply for enhanced reflexes or clear thinking, but also to allow his internal energy to flow unhindered by muscular tension. The relaxation then allows the fighter to casually touch his opponent with enough sensitivity to detect the force and direction of an oncoming attack. In turn his body yields no clues to his own movements. This is the essence of the internal martial art known as Tàijíquán.
The Legend of Tàijíquán
Chang San Feng was in house meditating when he heard a ruckus in the courtyard. Looking down from his window, Chang saw a snake with head raised, hissing in challenge to a crane in the tree. The crane swooped down from the tree, its sword-like beak aimed straight for the snake. The snake turned its head aside and struck the crane’s neck with its tail. As the crane raised its right wing to protect its neck, the snake darted towards the crane’s legs. The crane raised its leg and lowered its left wing to ward off the attack. Stabbing again and again, the bird was unable to connect a solid blow. The twisting and bending snake was always out of reach. Darting from all angles, neither could the snake make a strike, for the graceful crane yielded and redirected every blow. After awhile they both tired of fighting, and the crane flew back to its tree and the snake slithered into its hole in the tree trunk. They rested in preparation for the next day’s encounter. Chang San Feng watched this drama unfold day after day. He observed and realized the value of yielding in the face of strength. The great master studied the crane and the snake, other wild animals, the clouds and the water, and the bamboo bending in the wind. He merged these naturalistic movements into a system of exercise, combining them with Shaolin martial movements and the practice of Taoist meditation.