is an ancient and distinctive Chinese form of exercise for health
and combat, and it is designed to condition the body according to
the principles of taiji.
he concept of taiji first appears in the
ancient philosophical text the Book of Changes (I Ching). Taiji, in
Chinese philosophy, describes the eternal source and union of the two
primary aspects of the cosmos, yang (active) and yin (passive). This
union forms the basis of all reality. The Neo-Confucian philosophers
of the Sung dynasty (960-1279) further expanded the idea by associating
taiji with li ("principle"), the supreme rational principle of the universe-the
originating principle. Li engenders ch'i ("vital matter"), which is
transformed through the yang and yin modes of development into the Five
Elements (wood, earth, fire, metal, and water), which are the primary
constituents of the physical universe. Through those metaphors, taijiquan
practitioners seek to use movement to direct the yang and yin forces,
as a means of cultivating ch'i.