Tai Chi History: Part 7

Tai Chi History Part 7:  The Final Section

Tai Chi’s Kung Fu and all that!

Below is the final Part 7 of seven part article on a brief history of tai chi and its kung fu.

With the death of Mao Tse Tung and a subsequent reappraisal of political thinking, life in China began to ease up, albeit slowly. No longer was life so ridgedly controlled and the past was again looked upon more favourably. Martial arts began to re-emerge, an official Chinese Academy of Martial Arts was established and under its guidance the standardised Tai Chi Forms were devised. The 24 routine was already in place, next came the 48 which appeared in the 1970’s and later, in the 1980’s, came the 42 International Competition Form (both are Yang Style). As was the case with Chen Man Ch’ing, the focus of these new formats is more on sport, recreation, health and competition. Combat was now the ‘intent’ behind the Form but not the reason to learn it.

Meanwhile in the West, increased interest in Chinese martial arts had been sparked by the Kung Fu phenomena. Suddenly there was a demand for the knowledge but few were supplying it. Such teachings were generally considered to be out of bounds to Westerners. Fortunately there were a few who were prepared to teach, Golden Lion’s founder, Grandmaster Pier Tsui-Po being one of them. The gradual upsurge in the popularity of Kung Fu took Tai Chi along with it although Tai Chi has taken longer to really establish itself in Western thinking. These days with China more open, Tai Chi Masters are able to travel abroad and spread their considerable knowledge and Westerners are able to visit China for training. Even the Shaolin Temple is back in business, surrounded by souvenir shops and running its own fund raising tours.

World-wide today there are four major Styles of Tai Chi– Yang, Wu, Chen and Sun. There are also many others ranging from well known (eg Hao Style) to obscure. Along side them are two other Internal Martial Art systems – Hsing-I and Ba Gua Chang.

It is a daunting thought that as Westerners we have had only had a very short exposure in time to an artform that has been slowly maturing for 2500 years. What more is there to learn?

More details on tai chi as offered at the Golden Lion Academy can be found by clicking on the link.


Principal references used:

The Penguin Encyclopedia of Classical Civilizations Arthur Cotterell (ed), Penguin Books (1993)

Tao Te Ching New translation by Victor H. Mair, Bantam Books (1990)

The Power of Internal Martial Arts B. K. Frantzis, North Atlantic Books (1998)

The Roots of Chinese Qigong 2nd edition Dr Yang Jwing-Ming, YMAA Publications (1997)

The Two dragons of Dim Mak Dr Pier Tsui-Po, Golden Lion Academy (2001)

The Art & Science of Deadly Pressure Point Fighting Dr Pier Tsui-Po, Golden Lion Academy (1998)

The web site of Peter Lim: https://web.singnet.com.sg/~limttk

The web site Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine: https://www.jungtao.edu/school