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The Historical Development of Taiji Quan - Research Paper Example

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This paper presents the historical development of the Chinese art of Taiji Quan. It is very ancient and yet it still enjoys great popularity in the modern world. It is referred to in English as “Tai Chi Chuan” or simply “Tai Chi” and is offered as part of the leisure portfolio of many modern gyms…
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The Historical Development of Taiji Quan
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Download file to see previous pages Firm details about the legendary figure of Zhang Sangfeng have been lost in history, but there have been many stories and legends about him, claiming that he invented the art of Taiji Quan and started off a movement that has spread across the globe and down the ages into modern times. Legend has it that Zhang Sanfeng perfected the art of Taiji Quan after carefully observing the behavior of a snake as it waited for precisely the right moment to launch a counter-attack on a white stork which was attempting to eat it (Lee, 1976, p. 15). In the years after his lifetime, followers added many further legends about Zhang Sanfeng’s allegedly supernatural abilities, including claims that he could run several hundred kilometers per day, and that he lived for over 200 years, but these can be put down to over-enthusiastic reporting and a desire to elevate their teacher to the status of a great hero.
What appears to be a constant in the writings that have survived, is that Zhang Sanfeng integrated dimensions of ancient Chinese philosophy and medicine into a unified way of life which is characterized by gentle, flowing movements in full consciousness of the interaction of life forces within the human body as well as in heaven and earth. He had been trained in the more military arts of Shaolin Kungfu but his contribution was to step back from hard methods and cultivate a much softer style:
“Zhang San Feng was the first master to discard external training methods like hitting sandbags, jabbing palms into granules, and practicing with weights, and to emphasize internal methods like breath control, chi channeling and visualization” (Kit, 2002, p. 19)
The ideas behind Taiji are very ancient and stem from a time before written records were made.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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