太极拳 Tai Ji Quan
Tai Ji Quan (TJQ) is a martial art said to have originated with the Daoist monk Zhang San Feng in the 12th century, based upon his observing a snake and a crane fighting for survival. TJQ is easily recognized for its slow and purposeful movement. It emphasizes the releasing of tension through cultivated awareness. This awareness is trained through standing meditation, forms and partner exercises. Its form is a beautiful practice consisting of long flowing wave-like movements done in succession.
Focus is placed on coordinating full-body movement with deep breathing and focused mental attention. TJQ is known the world over for promoting health, longevity and inner peace. Lesser known, but also essential is its focus upon internal strength and power development. Tai chi will make you strong, flexible, focused and profoundly relaxed. Philosophically, the term Tai Ji represents the interface of yin and yang, the two-pole or opposites. These oppositional and complementary aspects exist in all forms and phenomena and the constant change that moves between them is the motion of life which we learn to ride and balance upon through the art of TJQ.