Tai Chi Chuan / Tai Ji Quan / 太極拳

EBM Kung Fu offers instruction in Kuo Style Tai Chi to people of all levels. At EBM Kung Fu we teach Tai Chi as a martial art with very detailed instruction in the body mechanics and principles of cultivating power through the concepts of Tai Chi.

Yield and overcome; Bend and be straight. Returning is the motion of the Tao. Yielding is the way of the Tao. What is firmly established cannot be uprooted. What is firmly grasped cannot slip away.
-- Tao Te Ching

Tai Chi is a Taoist internal martial art. One account of the history of Tai Chi credits its development to the Taoist immortal Chang San-feng, who is said to have drawn the inspiration for the art by watching a fight between n snake and an aggressive eagle. Chang San-feng was reportedly a master of Shaolin Kung Fu who reached an extraordinary level of cultivation through Taoist meditation practices. Another account of the history of Tai Chi is that many different Kung Fu masters developed it over a long period of time; as a synthesis of internal meditation and martial technique. Either way, the written history of Tai Chi goes back about 300 years and it was not until the turn of the 20th century that it was introduced to the general public.

Tai Chi is a very unique and powerful art, for both internal power and longevity. Tai Chi is a martial art which embodies Taoist philosophy. When Tai Chi was developed, the martial arts were very aggressive. One's proficiency was measured by the strength and aggression of attack, in terms of the Taoist principle of yin and yang this was a purely "yang" conception of martial arts. What was revolutionary about Tai Chi was the incorporation of the yin element to fighting. In Tai Chi one uses a balance of yin techniques with yang techniques, a balance between yielding and attacking. It is for this reason that Tai Chi is described as "a needle hidden in cotton" or "hardness concealed in softness".

Presently Tai Chi is rapidly growing in popularity for the tremendous health benefits which come through practice. Clinical studies have shown that Tai Chi practice can lower blood pressure, reduce nervous tension, and benefit the immune, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. At this time, over one hundred million people practice Tai Chi Ch'uan on a regular basis.

The Tai Chi which is taught at EBM is Yang family style. The form we practice was developed by Li Ching Lin who learned from both Sun Lu Tang and Yang Chien Hou. Li Ching Lin then taught Kuo Yu Chang, who taught Yim Shan Wu, who taught Wong Jack Man, all of the EBM Instructors learned Tai Chi from Wong Jack Man. The heart of the Tai Chi system is the practice of the single Tai Chi form. The form practice of Tai Chi is the foundation of the training. Though Tai Chi is done slowly, the movements are very difficult and strenuous. Regular practice of Tai Chi Ch'uan greatly improves the functioning of the bodily systems. Tai Chi practice breaks down into three general categories:

1. Ch'i kung practice for developing the foundation of internal martial arts: proper stance, proper breathing technique, flexibility and power.

2. Solo form practice (i.e. "Tai Chi long form") for developing the basic techniques of Tai Chi Ch'uan, and developing strength, relaxation and sensitivity.

3. Partner practice (i.e. "Tai Chi Push Hands") for understanding the application of the form, developing sensitivity to the opponents movement and intention.

Stiff and unbending is the principle of death.
Gentle and yielding is the principle of life.
Thus an Army without flexibility never wins a battle.
A tree that is unbending is easily broken.
The hard and strong will fall.
The soft and weak will overcome.

-- Tao Te Ching