Tai Chi / Tai Ji: What Chi are we talking about?
The Chi in Tai Chi Chuan is not Chi, or vital energy. We prefer the expression Tai Ji Quan.
The Tai Ji Quan ideograms include the element Tai Ji (“supreme summit”) and Quan (“fist, boxing”). The literal translation thus becomes “supreme summit boxing”. All Tai Ji postures indeed have a martial origin. But let’s not reduce Tai Ji Quan to martial movements. Nor is it gymnastics. It is intended to lead us to peace, an inner calm.
And how can we be at peace if we are full of tensions, contractions? Better to be flexible and relaxed.
For Taoists, man is the intermediary between Heaven and Earth. The Tai Ji practitioner is aware of this: he receives the Heaven and Earth energies to assimilate them to his own energy: his Chi. Tai Ji postures have as a purpose the flow of Chi which is a condition of Life itself. Life is connected to movement and perpetual transformations; nothing is static. The sequences of Tai Ji postures are a reflection of this Life which is movement and transformation. The practitioner integrates with this vital impetus