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Traditional Tai Chi (Taiji)

"Wu" = Military or Martial,"Shu"= Art

(Chinese: 太極拳; pinyin: taiji; "Supreme Ultimate")

Tai Chi or recognized in mandarin as "Taiji" in modern wushu

5 Main Schools [Styles] of Tai Chi: Yang / Chen / Wu / Hao / Sun

Following the mandarin term of "Taiji", Traditional Tai Chi is the most popular form of wushu practiced by millions of people around the world with no limits of age, gender or abilities. The modern competitive taiji routines are based on the five (5) most common schools of Tai Chi: Yang Style, Chen Style, Wu Style, Hao Style and Sun Style. Each of these 5 styles is named from the family that has practiced, taught, and passed it on to later generations. "Tai Chi" is a contraction of the more traditional term "Tai Chi Chuan". Chuan is a general term that can be translated as "martial discipline", or "boxing".

The physical techniques of tai chi are characterized by the use of leverage, coordination and relaxation to neutralize or to initiate attacks. The study of tai chi is traditionally broken up into 3 beneficial elements, for health; for serenity; and for self-defence.

The slow motions one usually identifies as Tai Chi Chuan are known as "The Form" or "The Chuan". This is a series of movements that may last from 10 minutes to 1/2 hour. The Form is very important and is the basis for training in Tai Chi Chuan. The form has aspects of health, martial arts and meditation. However it is still only a part of the complete training in the art. The martial aspect of The Form is not readily apparent to the uninitiated. A simple answer could be "You must be able to do it slow before you can expect to do it fast", but there is much more to it than that. Besides the obvious martial benefits of balance, co-ordination, and looseness The Form also cultivates qualities like a relaxed focused mind and healthy resilient body. It trains the core motion and reactions of the practitioner, increasing the person's martial potential. The Form also contains, in its movements, a myriad of martial applications and the elements of power generation. These are hidden from an untrained observer in much the same way that fine poetry will not be revealed to someone who has not learned the language yet.

The Form is the basis of Tai Chi Chuan but "Push Hands" is considered the "gateway into martial arts". There are also other martial exercises beyond Push Hands. The confusion about Tai chi Chuan being a martial art has probably arisen in part because many Tai Chi Chuan schools only practice The Form and exercises focused on health and meditation. This may be because the founder of the school has not learned the martial practices or that the students do not have the desire or have progressed far enough to learn them.