This page is dedicated to taijiquan teachers and students who answer the question:
„What does TAIJI (TAI CHI) mean to me and what does it give me personally?“
Some of the answers might give you the reason or inspiration why to start practising yourself.
“I met taijiquan as a boy when I was about eleven. I saw a Chinese film and got enchanted by all the philosophy. Since then I had been looking for a master who would teach me this art. The way was not easy. However, „he who looks finds“ and I did find! First, it was Leonid Kravčenko, a Chinese medicine doctor and my first Yang style taijiquan teacher. Later, Qin Ming Tang, the master of masters, who teaches me Chen style taijiquan and Shaolin gongfu.
It has been more than 30 years since I started my taiji studies and I still „swim in the stream“ of this wonderful martial art shot with the philosophy of Taoism, Chinese medicine and incredibly worked-out/formulated way of fighting.
Life with taiji is fine and my days are filled with happiness, peace and friendship. This martial art beauty lies within you. You cannot find it anywhere else. Taiji opens the door to your own being. Then you find peace in your heart – the harmony that many people seek. Nowadays, taiji is one of the ways how people can improve their lives and consequently create a loving and peaceful space around them at other people´s disposal as well. Life with taiji is just beautiful!”
founder and teacher
of Wushu Akademie Brno
“Before I discovered taijiquan, I had everything.
After I discovered taijiquan, I have nothing.”
Master Zhu Tiancai´s disciple
and founder of Taiji Kung Fu Academy at Fleming Island, Florida
“Taijiquan was my great love at first glance that turned into a lifelong journey. All aspects of Taijiquan: martial, therapeutic, meditative, energetic, inner, outer … are inseparably and harmoniously interwoven, making a perfect, harmonious whole. By practicing it, I faced different facets of my being, integrating them, transforming and perceiving them from the new perspective. Through this expansion within the shrinkage, through the experience of infinity within a clear, concrete structure, through the flow of creativity in exact, rhythmical movements, through the harmonious pulsation that dissolves all the unpleasant conditions, I began to experience Taijiquan as something alive, as a Life itself.
In working with people, the direct effects such as improvement of physical health and emotional balance are important to me, but also the long-term influence of Taijiquan on dissolving of personal limitations, on awakening, channeling and manifesting the human potentials into all segments of life.
The state of harmony, fulfillment and joy is inherent to all human beings, and Tajiquan is one of the ways to return into it.
There is a huge, qualitative and essential difference between the repetition of Taijiquan and the repetition in everyday life. While most of everyday urban pressure gradually and permanently exhausts energy from human beings, depriving them even of humanity, Taijiquan fills the body with energy, reveals hidden potentials, strengthens the heart, enhances the spirit and as a regular practice creates a cumulative effect, enabling the transition from the state of distortion to the state of harmony, into a life that should naturally be. In that sense, Taijiquan by permeating everyday life, becomes the tool for personal healing and social change.”
instructor of Taijiquan with 20 years of teaching experience,
co-founder of the Croatian Tiancai Taijiquan Institute and of Wushu Club Yuan Tong
„Taijiquan is for me a unique martial art full of knowledge and different skills applicable in everyday life. In addition to the efficient fighting and self-defense skills of taijiquan, we can learn how to naturally move, breathe, and heal ourselves. Through taijiquan we can also learn, understand, and apply the natural laws that govern the Universe and our world and apply them for personal development and in everyday relationships.
Taijiquan gives me countless benefits: from physical health to healthy mind, balance and wisdom. It keeps me grounded, present in the body and in the present moment.
Taijiquan is my peace and a safe place in the chaos of time.
Deeper comprehension of taijiquan helps me to understand the knowledge of our Slavic tradition and connects me to my roots.
Since I am not a talkative person, taijiquan helps me to express myself more easily and to communicate better with other people. Taijiquan is the important part of my life, precious almost as my family.“
taijiquan instructor, disciple of GM Zhu Tiancai and Master Zhu Xiang Qian
(representatives of the Zhu family),
co-founder of the Croatian Tiancai Taijiquan Institute and of Wushu Club Yuan Tong,
Croatia’s multiple champion in taijiquan and a successful trainer
“Most of people are looking for something in their lives: the way, spirituality, the direction to go… In fact, we all are looking for ourselves, self-knowledge and blending with the nature and the Universe. There are many paths and all of them slowly or more quickly lead to the one same goal. Taiji and qigong are the path for me.
I like that during taiji you will get to know the character of the people, their patience, endurance, inner peace. It’s wonderful to observe how taiji exercise transforms the students both internally and externally. People become more beautiful 🙂 .
Master Zhu Tiancai has said recently: ‘Taiji is awesome in a way how it transforms you. Overweight people lose weight by persistant and proper excercise, on the contrary, too thin people strenghten. Regular excercise makes them hungry, they eat more and get muscles at the same time.’
This is how exercise works with our outer side. In addition, the longer you exercise, the more you can perceive what your body needs and vice versa what harms it. This makes you simply become healthier.
For taiji is for 100% valid: ‘What you put into training will return to you.’
It’s not an easy path, you need to be really persistant and excercise regularly, which are the characteristics that are often hardly to be found in this modern hurried world, however if you find them and persevere, the result is for unpaid. Taiji will become part of your life, become an inner and outer circular endless motion ‘cosmic dance’ of your soul in the Universe.”
founder of Taichi Prague
and one of the organizers of the International Festival in Taiji
“For the first time I met taichi (taiji) as a spy. My grandma heard an announcement at the public address system informing about taichi (taiji) practise in our town and she pushed me to go there and explore more for her. I came back to her from the mission saying: you wouldn’t like it but I will go for it. And I really attended the lessons that followed Jang (Yang) style and qigong for several years. We practised without any theory, only observing our teacher Pavla. Every year there were more beginners in the class and the lessons started from scratch.
The fifth year I had a feeling I needed to learn something new. In a nearby town I found the group practising Chen taijiquan lectured by Vít Vojta. This group has an amazing learning atmosphere, you learn really hard here.
Describing taijiquan reminds me of describing the taste and smell of a fresh orange.
Just some remarks of my observation… I always watched my co-practitioners. What do they, people who stay with taichi (taiji) and don’t escape, have in common? The answer is: nothing. Each person is absolutely different with his/her own reasons for practising taichi (taiji). Some people follow mainly the fight aspects and by the way they get something more. Relaxing and straightening of their body and improvement of breathing techniques, overall fitness, increased resistance to illnesses and faster recovery, the increase of attention and mindfulness, the ability of self-defence – all of this is beneficial for all of us.
Whether taichi (taiji) can also prevent from the fate strokes… it is an unanswered question for me so far.”
the student of World Chen Xiaowang Taijiquan Association Czech Republic
and a student of Vít Vojta (see bellow)
“Why do I personally practice Taijiquan? What does it bring me? Why is it so valuable? Taijiquan is a complete martial art, but it is more than this. Taijiquan involves the search for balance in both physical and psychological terms. Using the vehicle of martial arts we try to balance the internal aspects of the emotional and logical mind and external aspects such as body structure and the equilibrium of hard-soft, fast-slow, open-close etc.
Taijiquan practice offers an ongoing challenge; the road to mastery is the path of consistent, dedicated effort without attachment to immediate results. Every aspect of Taijiquan is inter-related and there for a reason. Basic exercises like standing pole and reeling silk exercises, hand and weapon forms, push hands and pole-shaking etc complement and support each other.
To get the most out of Taijiquan we must appreciate the history and underlying philosophy of the art. Inevitably our focus changes over time, but Taijiquan is a discipline that a person can practice over the course of a lifetime. The young are naturally active and like low postures and explosive movement; the strong may be drawn to the combat side; as people get a bit older health maintenance suddenly seems like a good idea; the elderly may look to maintain their mobility and suppleness. Ultimately to be successful in our practice we need to be able to adapt our Taijiquan over time, all the time staying in line with the principles that have been laid down.
For me Taijiquan is about the journey rather than the destination.
I just want to carry on training with great teachers, following the traditional Chen village method and continue to develop naturally. A saying that is often quoted in Chenjiagou is that „you can’t force the fruit to ripen“. There are no shortcuts and no place for hurry or impatience…”
co-founder of Chenjiagou Taijiquan GB and co-author of 3 books about Taijiquan (Chen Style Taijiquan: The Source of Taiji Boxing, The Essence of Taijiquan, Chen Taijiquan: Masters and Methods)
David Gaffney has practised Asian martial arts since 1980. His Chen Taijiquan training began seriously in 1996 when he met Chen Xiaowang, later doing a formal discipleship ceremony with him. In 2003 he was formally introduced to his brother Chen Xiaoxing in Chenjiagou in order to receive more personalised training and has carried on training with him to this day.
„For me, tai chi (taiji) is a response to civilisation diseases of the present time. Tai chi (taiji) is a complex system of excercises for keeping people healthy, suitable for all the ages.
While practising it we have to focus with all our mind ‘here and just now’ on our whole body.
In a natural, fluent way we fully work with our mind and axis and centre of our body within the space, at present moment. In a natural way we stabilise and anchor ourselves. tai chi (taiji) is a long journey that allows us to explore, learn and dive deep inside our human being.“
trainer in Chen Style Taiji School Nová Paka,
student of master Chen Xiaowang, Vít Vojta and Libor Purš
„My thighs and arms hurt… Does it worth the effort? Am I going to learn it at all? Such thoughts occupied my mind after couple of qigong lessons. Now it has been one and half a year I have been practicing the same set of eight poses and still can’t say I do it right. Moreover, I’ve started practising tai chi (taiji) as well…
In spite of the fact I complained a lot in the beginning and asked myself why I did it, I still continue. The more I practice, the more I realise how important even a slight movement or rotation is. I love to play, play with every detail. It has been never-ending work engaging body, mind and breath.
Tai chi (taiji) and qigong teach me to be focused, to go on and be patient. I want to perceive any particular moment and be fully present. Apart from the fact that I simply feel better…
I want to go on!“
qigong and tai chi student
of Neijin Taiji School
„Taijiquan style is nurturing of harmony both inside and outside. Wang Zongyue is so accurate in his famous work – The Theory of Taijiquan:
’A movement devides while peace joins. It doesn’t extend, doesn’t fail, with bending it straightens…‘
Lots of harmony!“
a sinologist, lawyer and Chinese translator; a disciple of Chen Xiaowang;
he has been practising taijiquan martial art since 1987
“I have been practising hard for three years which is only a short period of time in taichi (taiji). Within the course of these past years taichi (taiji) has substantially improved my life. In tough moments when I thought I might not live for long, suffering from serious health issues, it provided me with relaxation, harmony and peace. Many times I was able to get up and go on only thanks to taichi (taiji).
Taichi (taiji) is an expansion of my journey. I have found much more that I could imagine inside it… particularly the exercise that I really enjoy. Moreover, taichi (taiji) has introduced many amazing people into my life. I meet them at the practice, during our walks, sometimes we have a cup of tea together or enjoy a weekend with taichi (taiji). I am looking forward to meeting these people at any occasion, it gives me peace of mind, relax, health and joy of life.
I am grateful for being introduced to such a great activity. For the chance to continue my journey which is happier, full of lovely people and filled with incredible energy surrounding this martial art.
I have to mention our taichi (taiji) teacher Jakub, the man full of humility, patience, love, kindness and beautiful and pure energy. He may not realise how much humanity he gives all of us. He is a pure and beautiful human being. It is a real pleasure to practise with him.
Jana Atafe Studecká
student of Tai Chi Resort
„Taichi (taiji) offers the most inteligent and best possible way to move the human body for health and healing and longevity. As a martial art, it cultivates self discipline which is the most important quality a person can learn in life. Self discipline breeds self respect which breeds respect for others and Nature and all life.
Martial art makes balance in one´s life. Martial art training is life training. To understand this one must practice it daily and practice it by the rules / principles / theory or it will be empty. Reading and talking about it will not explain this.
After a lifetime of daily practice, one can begin to appreciate the beauty and genius of this art created by the Chen Family!
As I get older each and every day, I do not experience the pain and sickness that all people do that is considered „normal“. Taichi (taiji) teaches awareness of tension – blockages in the circulation of qi or vital energy. These blockages are the cause of pain and sickness and also affect the emotions and psyche. When one learns correctly and practices every day, these blockages will dissolve and not return.
So one is blessed with a full lifetime of vibrant health and inner peace. That is why I practice taichi (taiji)…“
Dr Bob Bacher
Master Wang Xian´s disciple and founder of Pavones Tai Chi Center