29 May, 2023 In Lifestyle & Travel

Tai Chi: The gentle exercise with powerful results

Tai Chi

Much is said about Tai Chi and even perhaps different perspectives can be attributed to it such as being a meditation through movement, martial art and above all, an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

However, first let us take a brief journey throughout history about its origin.


There are two main theories that can be allocated towards the origin of Taijiquan,(太极拳 which in Chinese means 太 (tai) = supreme or ultimate, 极 (ji) meaning energy and 拳 (fist) or Tai Chi (as it is more commonly known),

1) Discovered by a Shaolin Monk called Zhang SanFeng who lived in China around 12th Century AD. Once he noticed a battle between a snake and a crane, where, the snake seemed to be yielding to his opponent’s movements at first, only then to gracefully counter and deliver the final blow, thus emerging victorious. Sanfeng, then decided to create Tai Chi based on the principles of the fight he witnessed and,

2) Taiji originated about 300 years ago in the village of Chenjiagou in Henan Province, home and birthplace of Tai Chi, where the first style was being practised (Chen Style), Yang Lu Chan was observing the Chen practitioners and became enthusiastic to learn and master the art so much that the Grandmaster Chen Wanting accepted under one condition: to face his students and see how capable he was. Eventually, Yang Lu Chan, continued to master the art and was said as to be a turning point for the development of Tai Chi, as he created the Yang Style, which is the one of the most popular Tai Chi styles practised around the world, to date.

Health is one of the main benefits of Tai Chi… In fact, it is known to be an integral part of Traditional Chinese Medicine as it stresses the importance of the continuous flow of energy.

Throughout regular practice of Taijiquan, the meridians of the practitioner and joints are being relaxed and loosened up in order to allow the blood flow of the body and oxygen to flow freely. Moreover, it is also very helpful for when life becomes too demanding and stressful, making it difficult for us to stay focused.

By implementing Tai Chi, we can become more connected to ourselves, to nature and the universe, thus being in harmony and in line with the concept of Yin Yang.

Since Tai Chi is also a martial art, it stresses the importance of using the opponent’s attack against him, instead of using brute force or a lot of physical strength. It focuses on using the philosophy of softness overcoming hardness and just like in The Principles of Taijiquan, using intention rather than force to redirect the attacker’s movement in connecting with them to fend or ward it off and counter.


The Principles of Taijiquan

  1. Push-Up, Empty, Lively and Energetic
  2. Hold in the Chest and Round the Back
  3. Relax the Waist
  4. Separate Empty and Full
  5. Sink the Shoulders and Drop the Elbows
  6. Use Intention Rather than Force
  7. Synchronise Upper and Lower Part of the Body
  8. Match Up Inner and Outer
  9. Practice Continuously and Without Interruption
  10. Seek Quiescence within Movement (Meditation through Movement)


This article was submitted by Alan Saliba Gauci who forms part of the administration team at the University of Malta. and has been practicing and teaches Taijiquan for over twenty years. He is a member of the Malta Yang Family Taijiquan Association, holds a Diploma in Chinese and is also practicing and training to become a Master Sifu in Wing Chun Kung Fu. 

Those interested in learning more can contact Alan by email or Facebook.

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