History of Tai Chi
The legendary time
The story begins from Buddha, the old ancient time in 600 BC and the famous beginning of the Zen. When buddha lifted a lotus flower and smiled to everyone in a meeting on the Mount Lengjia, no one knew the meaning but one. JiaYe( the chinese pronunciation), the great disciple of buddha, also smiled to buddha. Then the buddha told others: "I have a treasure, like a secret mountain, which is real but with no any appearance, now I give it to JiaYe the Great." - The treasure is passed from heart to heart directly, and this is also the case in the following generation when they pass the treasure of Zen.
When Zen is passed to DaMo (Chinese pronunciation) as the 10th generation of Zen, the buddhism in India decayed. So DaMo left India to China, that is in Liang Dynasty, just before Tang Dynasty in China. He settled down in Shao-Lin Temple after he met the Emperor. He brought some great method in training people's body and soul, and initiated the Chinese Zen (as he honored the first generation of Chinese Zen), His another contribution is the Shao-Lin Kongfu, although it is a way of fighting, it means to help people to improve their spirit level. Shao-Lin Kongfu began famous at the beginning of Tang Dynasty, for the monks saved the Emperor Li Shimin with their fighting skills ( this is about 600AD)
Lao-Tzu (about 600BC) is the founder of Taoism, is at the same period with Buddha, in Chinese Spring and Fall Dynasty. (in fact at the same time, the Socrates in the west world). He is a master of the Chinese traditional philosophy, and systematically initiate the theory of Yin and Yang, the relation of man and nature, the relation with strong and weak. As Confucius said, he was a "magic dragon". His famous paper "Tao-Te Ching", is always treated highly for thousands of years. In that paper, he mentioned the way "learn from the nature as your teacher", "the new born baby is weak and soft, but the growing force is strong, when he grow up ,he becomes strong and stiff, the life strength is with weak and soft. When something is overwhelmed, it is near its end, although it looks strong." We can see this words strongly influence the Tai-Chi. So we say Tai-Chi is more near Taoism. After Lao-Tzu, there are a lot of Taoism training methods in China, aiming at "unity of people and nature".
There are a lot of Taoism physical practice in China after Lao-Tzu, at first they are learned from the long life animals and the nature, and then they pay attention to the breath, and and the impact of mind. They learned from outer apperence to the inner meaning of the nature phenomena. Among those people, are the Wang Chongyang in Zhongnan Mountain, Xu Xuanping in Sung Dynasty, and as the founder of Tai-Chi Chuan, Chang Sanfeng.
The Taoism methods, the Buddhism methods, and India Yoga school methods, form the unique oriental training style so different with the modern way (such as athletic way like jogging and body building). Even in today, they are helpful for the mankind to solve the problems in modern life from different ways.
The Beginning of Tai Chi
Chang Sanfeng (1247-?) first studied at Shao-Lin, the buddhism temple and the source of nearly all the Chinese Kong-Fu, for about 10 years, then he traveled all over China, learned from Taoism and then settled in Wudang Mountain. He is a great master and recluse in Chinese history, as respected as the founder of all inner martial art, which is called Wudang Chuan. Wudang and Shao-Lin are the two major Kongfu styles in China, one is called inner Kongfu, another outer.
He initiated Tai-Chi at his late years (but it is said he lived for 130 years). After he created Tai-Chi, it is not publicly taught, but as an esoteric technique. This was passed for several generations, and there was talent people in every generation, known or unknown by the public
The beginning of modern TaiChi ( more than 400 years)
Chen School TaiChi
Chen Wangting, a man who discarded his high position and went back home to study Kongfu after the decay of the Ming Dynasty. He was a past general and also had a deep relation with Shao-Lin, so he has the oppotunity to collect the theories and methods of different Kongfu styles. One of the Kongfu he compiled in his hometown "Chen's Vilige" is called "13 gestures", which is a inner Kongfu.
Wang Zongyue- a real recluse and great TaiChi theorist
a real recluse and great TaiChi theorist. It is believed that he carried the real esoteric skill from Chang Sanfeng. Although he was very skillful in fighting, his job was a teacher of children in small towns. It is believed that he taught his skill and the theory to Chen's Vilige. After that, only Tai-Chi and another style was passed in Chen's vilige. Wang's famous paper on Tai-Chi theory was discovered by chance in a salt shop in Wuyang County after 60 years of his death, which led the growing up of the Wushi School Tai-Chi.
From Chen's TaiChi to Yang School Tai-Chi
The great master, Yang LuChan went to Chen's Vilige to learn TaiChi when he was young. But at that time ( maybe even now) Taichi is a esoteric, so he pretented to be a deaf person and work there as a chore helper, while he learned the skill at the side. At last, his deed is discovered and moved the head of the family Chen Changhsing, who decided to break the rule to teach Taichi outside the family.
Wushi School Taichi
Wushi Xiang is a landlord, a rich. He liked Kongfu very much and he was good at making friends. When Yang Luchang come back from Chen's Vilige, he become Wushi's friends. Wushi admired the skill of Yang, but did not get the full teaching from him. (Yang is a poor person from young ). So Wushi went to Chen's Vilige to learn. But at that time, Chen Chang-hsing was dead, and no one in Chen's Vilige would taught him. So he travelled to another place, where another guy from Chen's vilige, called Chen ChingPing, taught TaiChi there.
Another reason for the growth of his skill is that his brother, a officer in Wuyang County, found the famous paper of Wang Zongyue's TaiChi theory in a salt shop by chance. That was really a great guidance.
Wu School Taichi
Wu Quanyou was the head of the bodyguard squad of the imperial family of Ching Dynasty. Before he learned Taichi, he had a deep understanding of Kongfu. When Yang Luchan was old and in Beking and fell sick, he took care of Yang for he repected the skill of Yang. They became friends and Yang felt he own a debt of Wu. Yang decided to teach skill to Wu as a return, and then he let his son, Yang banhou , teach Wu. After Wu had grasped the skill, he integrate his understanding of Kongfu and TaiChi into a new style- Wu School Taichi. His style is more soft and slow, which pay more attention to improve the general condition of people but seldom issure force.