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About Taijiquan

What is taijiquan?

Taijiquan (t'ai chi ch'uan) is a Chinese health exercise and martial art practiced daily by millions of people around the world for its health, relaxation, and self-defense benefits. As a health exercise, taijiquan helps improve balance, lower blood pressure, and relaxation. As a martial art, taijiquan uses the method of "softness overcomes hardness."

What are the various styles of taijiquan?

The main styles of taijiquan are Chen, Yang, Wu-Li-Hao, Sun, and Wu Jianquan (Wu Chien-ch'uan), each being named for its founder's family name. There are many modern styles that have developed from these, including Simplified Taijiquan (jianhua taijiquan, developed by the PRC for general usage), Cheng Man-ch'ing's Yang-style short form, Chen Synthetic form (a style that draws from all the major styles), and T'ai Chi Ch'ih (a series of taiji-derived exercises).

Taijiquan is usually passed down through lineages, with masters conferring permission to teach upon selected students. There are no national certifying bodies for teachers, except in a few European countries.

How do I spell taijiquan?

Taijiquan (pronounced "tie-gee-chwan") is also spelled t'ai chi ch'uan. It is often simply referred to as "taiji" or "t'ai chi."

Are taijiquan and qigong (ch'i-kung, pronounced chee gung) the same?

Taijiquan and qigong are related "internal" arts. Both cultivate the qi (ch'i)-the body's energy and breath. Taijiquan is more multi-faceted, with a focus on movement and application, while qigong's main emphases are health and energy cultivation.

How can I find a teacher?

Word of mouth is the best way, You can also look for a teacher through your local telephone book, posters at health food store or co-op, or health/fitness centers or acupuncturists. Tai Chi Links provides links to schools with websites (remember, many schools and teachers do not have websites).

What are some good books on taijiquan?

There are many good books available on taijiquan, for all levels and all styles. You can consult our back issues for reviews of books, see our blog for books received. There are also many taijiquan videos and DVDs available; quality and clarity varies. Remember that all of these forms of media are ideally meant to supplement direct instruction from a qualified teacher.

How can I subscribe to Taijiquan Journal?

Taijiquan Journal's print edition is on hiatus. You can view our blog or our semi-annual newsletter. Click here for purchasing back issues. Payments must be in US dollars. Indicate which issue you'd like to start with.

Can I purchase a sample copy?

Sample copies may be ordered for $9.00 postpaid (U.S. orders). Outside of the United States, please add $2.00.

How does one submit a book or video for review?

Books, videos, and other media may be sent to:

Review Editor
Taijiquan Journal
P.O. Box 80538
Minneapolis, MN 55408

Taijiquan Journal (T'ai Chi Ch'uan Journal)