Tai Chi Chuan Is Closely Tied to Traditional Chinese Philosophy
Tai Chi Chuan won its name from The Book of Changes of the Zhou Dynasty. As the book puts it, “Where there is taiji, there is peace and harmony between the positive and the negative.” Its unique form originated from the diagram of cosmological scheme. In Chinese philosophy, taiji refers to the ultimate source of the universe. It contains two opposite aspects of activity and inertia, with the former bearing yang and the latter yin. Yang and yin are contradictory yet complementary. There is an increase in yang if one moves and an increase in yin if one remains still. Tai Chi Chuan, by highlighting “ Softness can counter hardness ” , complies with Laozi 's idea of softness and motionlessness. The conception of absoluteness, coherence and unbrokenness in movements, and the unity of spirit, energy and concentration exemplified in Tai Chi Chuan draw its inspiration from the theory that “Man is an integral part of nature.” The route and movements of Tai Chi Chuan largely embody in :“Go right first when you intend to go left; bend first when you intend to stretch; tighten first when you intend to let loose .” The traceable source is rooted in the dialectical idea of Laozi—“Open in order to close; weaken in order to strengthen; abolish in order to establish; give in order to take. ”
Hence we can see that the traditional ideas of Chinese philosophy play an important role in the theorization and formation of the skills of Tai Chi Chuan. It follows that, since separate schools of Chinese philosophy such as Confucianism, Taoism and Neo-Confucianism of the song and Ming Dynasties all attach great importance to nourishing life, Tai Chi Chuan is bound to have genealogy with the tradition and medical science of health-care, e.g. the balance theory between yin and yang, the theory of spirit, energy and concentration, etc. all function to consummate the theory of Tai Chi Chuan. The mentioning of the tradition of health-care enables us to be further aware of its evolution.