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Tai Chi Chuan and Taoism

In order to understand what Tai Chi practices (Tai Chi Ch'uan, Tai Chi Jien, Push Hands, Dalü, etc.) are, it is necessary to know a little what Taoism is. Taoism, Confucianism, and Zen Buddhism form the triad of Chinese Culture. Taoist sages thousands of years ago questioned where we stand in the universe as human beings and by our action. They observed nature and tried to understand the laws of nature. They saw that nature has a message. They emphasized that this message should be carried into human life, and that when this does not happen, lives that are stuck, narrowed and unable to achieve happiness will emerge. This message is very simply: Be patient, flexible and gentle in your behavior. Live in harmony with your environment and nature. The hard one is broken. The attacker is doomed to be defeated.

This is why Taoist masters chose water as their example. A river that flows patiently in its bed takes away the stone and the soil, which is much harder than itself. It carves hard rocks, creating canyons. This is when the soft eats the hard. Consider a dried tree trunk. A strong wind can break it. However, the same wind cannot do anything to a living, wet willow tree that has left its branches to itself with its flexibility. The boat, with its sails open according to the direction of the wind, moves rapidly.

Three Teachers

Buddha in the middle, Confucius on the left and Lao Tse presenting his teaching with the T'ai Chi symbol and Yin-Yang motif in his right hand.

T'ai Chi, who is at the soft punch of the 300 martial arts spectrum in China, has absorbed this message into his movements. So Taoism has been the source of T'ai Chi practices. Therefore, it is not just a movement system that is good for our health, but a way of maturation - wise. It is a way of improving the quality of life. The movements are always cyclical, soft and visually very aesthetic. The following two parables, written by the wise Lao Tse 2500 years ago, summarize everything:

when humans are born

soft and weak

when he dies he is tough and strong

when a thousand species were born

they are soft and thin

when they die they are dry and solid

say he is a strong and strong supporter of death

soft and weak supporter of life

So the strong army can't win the war

a tree with a solid trunk cannot escape from the ax

strong and great

soft and weak wins

Parable 76

There is nothing as soft and weak as water.

but in defeating the hard and strong

not on it

it doesn't change

the weak beat the strong

that the soft carves the solid

there is no one who does not know under the sky

yet no one can match it...

Parable 78

Yin Yang:

This symbol is the YIN-YANG motif, the T'ai Chi symbol, and Taoism is the source of Tai Chi. Taoism's approach to all existence has been transformed into movement in Tai Chi. Therefore, we can say that Tai Chi practices are wisdom teachings turned into action. In Taoism, the entire existence is divided into oppositions, forming the Bir, the TAO. Male-female, hot-cold, poles (north-south), good-bad, light-shadow. One cannot exist alone. They are opposites, but they are together. In nature, opposites move together in harmony with the laws of nature. It seems that only the human species is now blatantly discordant within this extraordinary chain. Aside from the damage we do to other beings of nature, how far can we find harmony within our own species? This Tai Chi symbol expresses the unity of division in existence.


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