Brief History of Tai Chi Chuan

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There are many different versions of the history of Tai Chi. One thing is certain – it developed under the influence of the philosophy of Taoism, which over the years evolved into exercise routines.  According to Chinese legend, Tai Chi began in the 13th century when a Taoist named Chang Sanfeng who lived in Wudang Mountain saw a crane swoop down to capture a snake.  Despite many attacks, the snake was able to avoid the bird’s beak (the strong point) by constantly shifting from side to side and attacking the crane’s weak side.  As the snake tried to dart its fangs into the crane’s leg, the crane would raise the leg and lower a wing to ward off the attack.  Chang saw how softness could overcome hardness, and how the idea of yielding to enemy’s strong force and striking his weak part could have practical application in the martial arts.  Therefore, he created Tai Chi and handed down through generations.  It is believed that Taoist monks began practicing Tai Chi in monasteries for two reasons: one was to defend themselves from bandits, and second was to promote health because they were out of shape from sitting around meditating all the time.

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