Tai Chi Chuan was conceived as a discipline alongside meditation to promote three aspects: health, meditation, self-defense.
Born inside Taoism still reflects today its point of view on life and on its fundamental aspects: i.e. "the search for harmony between opposites" between negative and positive powers, Yin and Yang.
Traditional styles of Tai Chi Chuan teachers today are five: Yang, Wu, Chen, Woo (Hao), Sun.
All them are elaboration, by several Masters, of the original sequence attributed to the legendary Taoist Master Chang-San-Feng, that took origin from the thirteen postures corresponding to the eight "trigammi" of the Yi-Jing and to the five fundamental steps.Tradition says that Chang-San-Feng took his inspiration observing a fight between a stork, or a crane, against a snake and in doing so he understood the importance of " giving way to force"; thus including TCC in the NEI-JIA, a form of chinese boxe, soft or" internal", opposed to WAI-JIA , strong or "external", mostly practised in the Shaolin Temple.
The slow and fluid movements of the Form, and the particular posture in which it is run, boost the proper alignment of the spine, thus resolving chronic muscle contraction, stimulating the peripheral blood stream in upper and lower limbs. According to Chinese tradition, removing tensions and muscle blocks, caused by bad posture, trauma, or bad body habits due to everyday working life, is essential to allow for flowing of the vital energy "CHI", the first step to create harmony in the relationship with oneself, with others, with the environment. These characteristics made Tai Chi Chuan the national gymnastics in China, widely practised both by young people and old people and, since it has no adverse effects, it is also used as a rehabilitation therapy for several pathologies. Over the last few years, the psychosomatic benefits, observ in the constant practice of Tai Chi Chuan, have led many doctors, in West also, to "prescribe" it to their patients.
The Tai Chi Chuan finds its roots from and in the body. Through the slow and infinitely repetitive movements involved, the mind learns to let go. Breathing calms down and the continuous murmuring of the mind is appeased. Movements become calm light and fluid and a "new form of energy becomes available". A new awareness accompanies the movements, removing one by one the insignificant thoughts that tend to interfere. Thus both body and mind become stronger and are rebalanced. Continuous practice reduces and stabilizes the emotional and affective energies in excess.The goal of Tai Chi Chuan is to find calmness in movement and to do so one must be constantly present, concentrated and quiet; therefore the execution of the Form leads the mind naturally to a kind of " moving meditation ".
Tai Chi Chuan is a path through which we search for internal peace but is not without obstacles and difficulties; impulses such as anger, fear or anxiety don't magically disappear, on the contrary it may gives rise to crisis. On the other hand, a constant practice brings the practitioners in touch with their inner self, allowing blocked emotions in the body to emerge and dissolve, first step to achieving harmony with oneself and the world that is the heart and purpose of art. Tai Chi Chuan is thus both defense and protection, primarily from the inner unfavorable aspects, but also from outside attacks, even if its martial roots are prudently hidden in the movements of the Form.Therefore, comprehension of the style also requires learning its martial applications, rich in principles and techniques very effective in personal defence.
In conclusion what one sees in Tai Chi Chuan from the outside is only the shadow of an intense internal experience deeply associated with the body.
Therefore, Tai Chi Chuan must be tried before it can be understood.