Chuan is a Chinese martial art that is primarily practiced for its health
benefits, including a means for dealing with tension and stress. It
emphasizes complete relaxation, and is essentially a form of meditation,
or what has been called "meditation in motion." Unlike the
hard martial arts, tai chi is characterized by soft, slow, flowing movements
that emphasize force, rather than brute strength. Though it is soft,
slow, and flowing, the movements are executed precisely.
The history of Tai Chi Chuan
dates back to the 14th century when Chang San Fung, a Taoist
monk, witnessed a fight between a crane and a snake. He noticed
how the soft circular movements of the snake overcame the hard
movements of the bird and he devised a system of self-defense
based on that principle. The evolution of the art has followed
the styles of many masters with a variety of forms. At one time
these forms were guarded secrets among certain families in China.
The secrets of Tai Chi were revealed when Ying Kit Tung opened
schools in Peking during the first half of this century.
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