Tai Chi Chuan is an internal Chinese martial art. A long association with health benefits has lead to the popularity of Tai Chi hand form practice around the world. However there is much more to Tai Chi Chuan than forms. They are a method of perfecting the body mechanics of the art, not the complete art itself. Tai Chi Chuan also includes the practice of fighting techniques, two person drills, weapons forms and body conditioning exercises.
Tai Chi refers to the Taoist concept of natural duality, commonly illustrated with the Yin-Yang (Taijitu) symbol. Chuan (literally “fist”) denotes that the name relates to a martial style. Thus Tai Chi Chuan is a martial system which teaches the student to use this duality. For example the Tai Chi student does not aim to meet an attack head on, using brute force against force. The student realizes that a strong attack belies a weakness elsewhere, which can be exploited with an appropriate technique.
In summary, Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art suitable for all ages, requiring little or no special equipment. Practicing Tai Chi Chuan improves physical health, equips people to defend themselves and relaxes the body and mind.
As you would expect in any art which has existed for a long time, various styles of Tai Chi Chuan have emerged. Many are named for the family of the person(s) who made them famous. Often the style would then be passed down within the family and to students.
All styles share a common heritage and philosophy. Whatever the differences between styles of Tai Chi Chuan, it is the similarities which are more striking. It is for this reason that the society is nondenominational - our aim is to promote the art, not any particular style.
Unfortunately it is not always possible for us to offer classes in multiple styles and currently we only have instructors in the Wudang (or Practical Tai Chi Chuan) style. If you are an instructor of another style and would be interested in teaching classes in Cambridge please get in touch.