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Tai chi employs insights gained from 'Taoism'.
Taoism is concerned with balancing oneself with the Way/flow/rhythm of nature and gaining power as a consequence.
The aim is to live harmoniously, be happy and at ease.
There is nothing religious about Taoism; it is more akin to science.
The yin/yang concept is Taoist.
It inspired the creation of tai chi: the art of balance.
Taoism's offshoot 'Zen' is the art of spontaneous being.
Zen questions the value of words and thoughts, and the folly of attempting to render reality using measurement and names.
Direct action and raw experience are valued.
Life cannot be conceived.
It can only be lived.
Philosophy & religion?
Tai chi does not subscribe to or promote any form of organised religion, philosophy or faith.
The study of Taoism and Zen can be likened to physics or chemistry.
They are more about science than religion in the conventional sense.
Taoism and Zen are not belief systems.
Both are simply concerned with the observation of reality.
If you think of Taoism as being an 'ism', as being some sort of religion or philosophy, study further.
You have perhaps misunderstood.
Philosophy is often concerned with speculation and opinion. Religion concerns belief, rituals and dogma.
Taoism fits neither of these classifications.
You do not have to believe in anything.
Reality just is; belief is simply not required.
As a discipline, Taoism is evidentiary, practical, pragmatic.
It concerns the immediate moment.
Concepts, opinions, theories, speculation, metaphysics, superstition and folklore are not Taoist at all.
You do not have to be an intellectual to read and appreciate the philosophical aspects of the art.
Most of it is just common sense.
The main aim is to:
• Increase your mental flexibility
• Improve memory
• Develop concentration
• Encourage new ways of thinking
• Consider alternatives, choices and options
• Cultivate awareness
• Look more deeply into things
By adding a philosophical element to your tai chi, your life will be affected in a more meaningful, profound way.
The Tai Chi Classics
Across the years, various masters have expressed their martial expertise in writing.
These works are referred to as 'The Tai Chi Classics'.
They represent the essence of the art.
The Tai Chi Classics highlight the considerations necessary for the correct study of tai chi.
This wasn't kickboxing with the lads, this was
Putting principles into practice
Tai chi serves as a means of understanding the principles and insights taught by Taoism.
It is a functional, practical way of discovering the ancient wisdom for yourself.
Instead of being asked to believe in something, or subscribe to a philosophy, you are simply invited to do the art.
By working in relationship with other people you can determine new ways of using your body, your emotions and your mind.
Students quickly find that long-held opinions, habits and misconceptions are gently set aside.
Mental health & wellbeing
It is very healthy for the mind to contemplate challenging material.
Contemplation involves intense consideration of a specific subject.
Rather than gloss over a matter, you commit time to deliberately think it through; thoroughly and completely.
Thinking long and hard about something can provide new insights and unexpected outcomes.
Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 13 December 2019