Horwood Graham - Tai Chi Chuan and the code of life

Author : Horwood Graham
Title : Tai Chi Chuan and the code of life Revealing the deeper mysteries of China's ancient art of health and harmony
Year : 2002

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Introduction. Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art whose popularity has spread throughout the world in the last decades of the twentieth century, with more people taking up the practice every day. In theWest, it is an accepted health and leisure activity, providing balance, grace, and a clear state of mind to those studying its various techniques. Yet, despite its popularity, there is a hidden drawback inherent to Tai Chi : it would seem that there is no single yardstick by which to judge the quality of any Tai Chi Chuan system, no standard to tell the beginner if a particular teacher is worth following. In Tai Chi and the Code of Life, I will elaborate on the various styles of Tai Chi Chuan, exploring its roots in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism as well as describing the evolution it has undergone over millennia. To understand Tai Chi’s present form and function, we must comprehend the context for its development in the Orient, while simultaneously acknowledging how this ancient practice affects those who adapt it to their lives in the West. We will learn that Tai Chi Chuan can truly stand as an art and an exercise system for all of the residents of the “Global Village. ” To help in this journey through time and space, I shall draw on parallel examples from both eastern andWestern culture, medicine, and philosophy. Tai Chi Chuan is generally known in theWest for its upright flowing movements carried out in a relaxed, meditative manner; unfortunately, this is its most common, “as seen on TV” attribute. Although originally fashioned out of Taoist philosophy to embody spiritual aspirations, Tai Chi was also meant to combine the fundamentals of fitness and health within a science of movement. After it had become an established tradition, these archetypal principles were exploited to create a martial discipline, a practical form of self defense; this grew from the need to compensate for the violent and oppressive nature of Chinese society as it advanced (or regressed) over the last thousand years. Now, for both the West and East, Tai Chi has evolved into a hybrid of meditative, philosophical, and health and fitness movements, coupled with adaptations meant to alleviate stress. ...

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