Yin-Yang symbol Oxford University Taijiquan Association

What is Taijiquan?

Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial art and exercise system, thought to have originated in Taoist monasteries on Wudang Mountain. It benefits health and fitness, and practised martially, is an effective form of self-defence.

'Tai Chi' is sometimes translated as 'supreme ultimate' or 'great polarity' and is expressed in the symbol of yin and yang. A universal force composed of the powers of yin and yang is central to taoist philosophy. 'Chuan' means fisted hand or boxing, tai chi chuan means supreme ultimate boxing, or a martial art using the principles of yin and yang.

Tai Chi relies on technique, balance and softness. It is suitable for all ages and can be practised martially with a view to its applications for self-defence, or with the focus on the tai chi hand form, a gentle exercise system which promotes health and relaxation.