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  • Writer's pictureCheyne Macintosh

Tai Chi: History and Benefits of the Popular Martial Art and Meditation Practice

Updated: Jun 14

Tai Chi, also known as Tai Chi Chuan, is a Chinese martial art that is widely practiced for its health benefits and meditative qualities. The practice of Tai Chi dates back to the 17th century and has evolved into various styles, with the Yang style being the most widely practiced. In this blog post, we will delve into the history of Tai Chi, the various styles practiced, with an emphasis on Yang style, modern-day practicing of Tai Chi, and the benefits of practicing Tai Chi.

Group of people practicing Tai Chi
Group Tai Chi

The History of Tai Chi

Tai Chi has its roots in ancient Chinese martial arts and philosophy. The practice of Tai Chi is believed to have been created by a Taoist monk named Zhang Sanfeng in the 17th century. The monk developed the practice after observing a crane and a snake in a fight, where the crane used soft and fluid movements to defend itself against the snake's quick strikes.

Over time, Tai Chi evolved into a martial art that combined slow, graceful movements with deep breathing and meditation. The practice of Tai Chi was kept secret for many years and was only taught within families or to select students. It wasn't until the early 20th century that Tai Chi began to be taught to the general public.

The Various Styles of Tai Chi

Today, there are five main styles of Tai Chi: Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun, and Hao. Each style has its own unique set of movements and emphasizes different aspects of the practice.

The Yang style is the most widely practiced style of Tai Chi. It was developed by Yang Luchan in the mid-19th century and emphasizes slow, flowing movements that are easy to learn and perform. The Yang style is known for its large and extended movements, making it a good style for beginners and those seeking a more relaxed practice.

Modern-Day Practicing of Tai Chi

Today, Tai Chi is practiced around the world for its health benefits and meditative qualities. The practice involves slow, flowing movements that are gentle on the body and can be done by people of all ages and fitness levels.

Tai Chi is often practiced in groups or classes led by a teacher. The practice typically begins with warm-up exercises, followed by a series of movements that flow together. The movements are done slowly and deliberately, with a focus on deep breathing and relaxation.

Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi

There are numerous benefits to practicing Tai Chi. The practice can improve balance, flexibility, and coordination, and can help reduce stress and anxiety. Tai Chi has also been shown to improve cardiovascular health and may be beneficial for people with conditions such as arthritis, Parkinson's disease, and fibromyalgia.

In addition to the physical benefits, Tai Chi can also have a positive impact on mental health. The practice can help improve focus and concentration and may help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that has a rich history and is widely practiced around the world today. The practice combines slow, flowing movements with deep breathing and meditation and has numerous health benefits for both the body and mind. Whether you're a beginner or an experienced practitioner, Tai Chi can be a great way to improve your physical and mental health and find inner peace and relaxation.

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