Chi philosophy is rich and well documented. At its core, practitioners
use the various text of Taoism such as the Tao Te Ching  to explain
the principles and practice of T'ai Chi. Near
the turn of the century, there were also many Chinese texts dealing
specifically with T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Those texts are commonly known as
the Chinese Classics . The English translations of those works are
available on the Internet. However, many discourse on the philosophy
of T'ai Chi tends towards the esoteric and the real meanings of those
philosophy are obscured.
Just as Buddhism
is the bases for Shaolin Martial Arts, Taoism is the root of T'ai Chi
practice. Understand this mutual relationship can be beneficial to the
student of T'ai Chi chuan. Similar to the case of Shaolin philosophy,
the students must take an active role in order to applied and practice
those theories. Our discussion is divided into
the Tao Te Ching
for the T'ai Chi Chuan practitioner represents a philosophy rather
than a religion. There is no deity or tradition of worship but rather
an approach to understanding and living in the world. The principles
of this philosophy is attributed to the Tao Teh Ching by Lao Tzu (604
- 479 BC) and to the Chuang Tzu by Chuang Chou (369-286 BC). Some
of the central themes of Taoism include:
The importance of the Tao.
There are no definitions for the term " Tao". In
application it means some form of natural law or order. As Lao Tzu
said: "Tao can be talked about but not the eternal Tao?".
- The Tao is constantly moving and uses the principle
of returning. "The movement of the Tao consists in
Returning." The general rule is that in order to achieve
anything, you must first start with its opposites. For example, if
one wants to be strong, he must start with a feeling that one is weak
and then moved towards his goal.
- The law of softness. "The use
of the Tao consists in softness". Especially for the living.
"... The hard and rigid belongs to the company of the dead:
The soft and supple, belongs to the company of the living."
The significance of softness extends to action, since "The
soft and weak over come the hard and strong."
- Focus on yielding. "The softest
of all things, overrides the hardest of all things."
- The personal quest for health and longevity.
"The Sage is not sick, being sick of sickness; This is the
secret of health." This can be achieved with research and
training because of the strong conviction that "The destiny
of myself depends on me and not upon Heaven".
- Principle for the control of the Breath or
Chi. "Man's life is due to the conglomeration of the
Chi and when it is dispersed, death occurs."
- The Importance of Serenity and emptiness.
"Attain the utmost Emptiness Cling single-heartedly to inner
- The Principle of Non-Striving and Nonaggression.
"The way of Heaven is to benefit, not to harm. The way of
the Sage is to do his duty, not to strive with anyone."
Ching (the Book of Changes)
Ching, Book of Changes, is an
attempt by Chinese philosophers to explain the mysteries and secrets
of the universe and understand the role of man and the forces of
nature. It is sometimes known and used as a book of divination.
The function and use of the I Ching is based on the concept of a
universal cosmic law that can be described by the Kua (trigrams)
and the Hsio (lines). Fu Hsi (2852-2738 BC), the legendary ruler
of China and King Wen (1184-1135 BC), the founder of the Chou Dynasty,
was credited as the creator of this work. In the final representation,
the Eight Trigrams are represented as groups of six lines to give
sixty-four hexagrams and interpretations (see figure 1). The bases
for fascination of the I Ching can be attributed to the roots of
Chinese culture. This point of view has been described succinctly
by the noted sinologist, Joseph Needham,
"The key word in
Chinese Thought is Order and above all Pattern...Things
behave in particular ways not necessary because of prior action
or impulsion of other things, but because their positions in the
ever-moving cyclical universe was such that they were endowed
with intrinsic natures which made their behavior inevitable for
them .." 
This desire for order and patterns
is repeated in the use of the I Chin. The Kua and the Hsio reflects
the order of the universe. In application, the patterns of nature
is mirrored by the position of a line in the hexagram. The position
determines its pathway or direction; its intrinsic nature (property),
broken or unbroken, is thus automatically defined. Once the position
is known, then the line's relationship to other sections of the
Kua can also be obtained. For example, three parallel lines represents
Heaven, Father ( three Yang lines), three broken lines represents
the Earth, Mother (three Yin lines). When the two sets of lines
are brought together, it forms one hexagram that means Standstill
The I Ching are generally used
First, a question
is formulated and directed to an the Oracle for an answer. The
Oracle is generally some form of random number (1-64) generator
that assumes that all events are related - synchronicity
On the basis
of the resulting series of numbers, the I Ching is consulted.
Each number relating to the position of a kua (six lines, divided
or undivided, changing or unchanging)
of the generated series is interpreted for insight into the hidden
assumptions, decisions, and beliefs that gave rise to the question.
From the interpretations of the
I Ching, comes such concepts as Wu Chi, Tai Chi, Yin and Yang as well
as various relationships between different aspect of nature.
to the Practice of T'ai Chi Chuan
t'ai chi experts suggest that the proper practice of this martial
arts requires an understanding of the Tao Te Ching and the I Ching
. Some of the principles practiced by the T'ai Chi enthusiasts
The focus on natural breathing and returning the
Chi to the Dan Tien.
"Employing the mind and consciousness and not
the exertion of strength."
- The Interaction of Firmness and Softness
- Emphasizes on the techniques of "neutralization" instead
- The principle of preemption. "If I think the opponent is about
to strike, I strike first."
- The principle of returning - if the opponent is attack the left,
you should make the left insubstantial and the right substantial.
Based on the I Ching, T'ai Chi applied the principles of
- Circular movements
- Dialectics (Yin and Yang)
- Balance and Equilibrium
- Mean and Central Equilibrium
Lee N. Scheele's T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics
The Tao Teh Ching
 Needham, Joseph; Science and Civilization
, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, 1956.
 Cheng Man-Cheng, Benjamin P. Jeng (Translator), Cheng Ch'ing, Cheng
Tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan
, North Atlantic Books;
(November 1985), ISBN: 0938190458