Tai Chi Chuan, or Taiji Quan, which translates as Supreme Ultimate Boxing, is a Chinese martial art that combines self-defense with meditation and breath control. It is practiced today primarily for its health benefits, stress relief, and relaxation. The slow, flowing movements are designed to stimulate the flow of energy, or chi, in the body with the ultimate aim of rejuvenation and increased longevity. The slowness allows the mind to be actively involved so that one’s awareness directs the movements. Thus, by “playing” Tai Chi, one’s body, mind and spirit become integrated.
Tai Chi traces its history to the legendary founder Chang Sang Feng, who lived around 1300 AD. His primary purpose was to develop exercises to increase vitality and longevity. Tai Chi, as we know it today, can be traced back 300 years to Chen Wang Ting who combined his great martial skill with Taoist techniques to develop the Chen family style. His family has preserved his teaching since then. In the 1800’s, Yang Lu Chan learned the Chen style and later modified it to develop the Yang family style.
Soon thereafter, Quan You learned from the Yang family and then taught his son, Wu Chien Chuan, who is credited as being the founder of the Wu family style. The three most practiced styles in the world today are Chen, Yang, and Wu. Wu style, which is taught at Lee’s Kung Fu & Tai Chi Center, uses generally small physical movements with the emphasis on the internalized circular movements. It is excellent for health and healing while maintaining the martial aspects which are learned through practice of the empty hand forms, weapon forms, and push hands.