T'ai Chi Ch'uan History and Benefits
T'ai Chi is an exercise, a way of moving, a way of thinking and meditating. It can be practiced, studied, and enjoyed by anyone at any age. Many students of T'ai Chi Ch'uan enjoy the benefits of better health, inner calm, improved balance, strength, suppleness, self-defense, and increased energy.
T'ai Chi is a martial art, yet its benefits extend far beyond self-defense. T'ai Chi can be a marvelous life enhancer.
History of T'ai Chi
The origins of T'ai Chi are obscured by legends and traditional secrecy. It has certainly existed for hundreds of years. The style we practice began with Yang Lu-ch'uan, who learned T'ai Chi from the Ch'en family in the early nineteenth centry. Yang Lu-ch'an modified the form he learned to create the Yang style, which is probably the most widely practiced style these days. Yang passed the art to his sons and they to theirs. One of his grandsons, Yang Cheng-fu, was known throughout China in the early years of last century as a formidable martial artist.
It was from Yang Cheng-fu that Cheng Man-ch'ing learned T'ai Chi, during the 1920s. The practice of T'ai Chi helped Cheng overcome serious illness, and he went on to become one of the most widely respected practicioneers of T'ai Chi in modern times. Professor Cheng was known for his extraordinary accomplishments in the mastery of the "five excellences": painting, poetry, calligraphy, Chinese medicine, and T'ai Chi.