Tai Chi Chuan is a part of the rich cultural heritage of China; dating back hundreds of years. Literally translated as “Grand Ultimate Fist” (Grand Ultimate meaning all that is yin and yang in the universe). It was originally developed as a martial art, but is best known as an exercise for health and meditation. Tai Chi Chuan is based on the principles of yin and yang, a balance of opposites, such as hard and soft, fast and slow, and light and heavy. It uses the soft to overcome the hard; the maxim of “Four Ounces To Deflect A Thousand Pounds”.
The main schools of Tai Chi Chuan are the Chen, Yang, Wu, and Sun styles. Although each of the styles are practiced differently, they all follow the principles of yin and yang, and using the body to its most efficient use with the least amount of effort.
The Yang Style of Tai chi Chuan was first developed by Yang Lu Chan in the mid 1800’s. Yang Lu Chan had trained in the Chen style of Tai Chi Chuan for approximately eighteen years, and had become very proficient in the art. He became famous, and was known as “Yang the Invincible”. The art was passed down from father to sons. Yang Lu Chan’s grandson, Yang Cheng Fu, standardized and made the style popular throughout China in the early 1900’s. Today the Yang style, which is named after the family surname, is the most practiced style of Tai Chi Chuan in the world today.
The Tai Chi Chuan of Yang Cheng Fu is a complete system of martial arts. The Long Form consists of 108 series of movements, which are characterized by an even tempo and slow graceful circular movements. There is weapons training, which consists of saber, sword, and spear, which are practiced with a broken tempo with slow and fast movements. There are also various single and two person training exercises to complement the system. The Yang style of Tai Chi Chuan is well known for its benefits of health, meditation, and self defence.
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