I have studied and practiced Tai Chi for over 10 years. My teacher is Charles Holman who studied with Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo (Ben Lo). Ben Lo is the student of Cheng Man Ching, who moved from China to Taiwan to NYC where he began teaching in 1964. Cheng Man Ching studied under Yang Cheng-Fu, known as the father of modern Tai Chi and the first to emphasize the health benefits of Tai Chi.
A Shaolin monk named Chang San-Feng (1391-1459) is believed to be the father of Tai Chi. He was a Shaolin monk who trained with Taoist sages and lived in Wu Tang mountains of China. As the story goes, he saw a crane and a snake fighting. The crane attacked, stabbing at the snake, but somehow the snake managed to evade. The snake fought back with whip-like attacks, but the crane deflected these attacks by fiercely spreading its wings. This scene gave him the understanding about yield and attack, and inspired him to create a soft internal martial art, which became known as Tai Chi.
unlearn what you have learned
Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Chinese form of exercise that originally began as a fighting art. Tai Chi is a type of Qi Gong, which in Chinese means energy or breath skill. Tai Chi Chuan is translated as “supreme ultimate boxing or skill.” It is an exercise that utilizes movements to work the entire body all at once. It uses relaxation and breathing to generate health, longevity, and internal strength and power. It is rooted in the concept that the world is a balance of opposites, and that the opposing forces harmonize to create one whole. This is represented in the Tai Chi symbol above.