Saint Louis
T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Thomas M. Krapu, Ph.D.

What IS T'ai Chi Ch'uan

T'ai-chi Ch'uan is an enduring, effective and complete path to awareness and harmony of body, mind and spirit. The ancient Chinese discipline uses the slow movement to study complete relaxation, accuracy of position, balance, evenness of motion and correct breathing. For the body it is a martial art and a rejuvenating exercise which opens us so that internal energy or 'chi' can better circulate. For the mind, it is a study in deep, relaxed concentration. For the spirit, it is a system of meditation. It is said that whoever practices T'ai Chi over a period of time will gain the pliability of a child, the health of a lumber jack and the peace of mind of a sage.

T'ai Chi is the application of Taoist and Confucian principles concerning non-action, timing and balance applied to movement and includes singular movements like the Animal Forms and Eight Ways, a variety of weapons, sparring and the form or solo exercise.

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The translation from Chinese is presumably Tam Gibbs'. It is a translation of a plaque or poster that Professor had hanging in his school in New York City.:

"Hall of Happiness"

May the joy that is everlasting gather in this hall. Not the joy of a sumptuous feast, which slips away even as we leave the table; nor that which music brings-it is only of a limited duration. Beauty and a pretty face are like flowers; they bloom for a while, then die. Even our youth slips swiftly away and is gone. No, enduring happiness is not in these, nor in the three joys of Jung Kung. We may as well forget them, for the joy I mean is worlds away from these.

It is the joy of continuous growth, of helping to develop in ourselves and others the talents and abilities with which we were born-the gifts of heaven to mortal men. It is to revive the exhausted and to rejuvenate that which is in decline, so that we are enabled to dispel sickness and suffering.

Let true affection and happy concourse abide in this hall. Let us here correct our past mistakes and lose preoccupation with self. With the constancy of the planets in their courses or of the dragon in his cloud wrapped path, let us enter the land of health and ever after walk within its bounds.

Let us fortify ourselves against weakness and learn to be self reliant, without ever a moment's lapse. Then our resolution will become the very air we breathe, the world we live in; then we will be as happy as a fish in crystal waters. This is the joy which lasts, that we can carry with us to the end of our days. And tell me, if you can; what greater happiness can life bestow?

Professor Cheng Man-Ching
New York City, 1973

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Thank you for your interest.