Most Influential in history of Tai Chi and Qigong

LAO TZU - 4th Century BC. 

There is doubt regarding the period in which he lived and also the translation of the name. (Sometimes translated as "old master", "wise old man" even "old boy".)

Lao Tzu was an extremely important figure in Taoism although certainly not the founder of Taoism. He is accredited with writing the Chinese Classic, The Tao Te Ching, (this is recommended reading for those of you interested in furthering your understanding into the philosophies of Tai Chi and Qigong). The arts of Tai Chi, Hsing-i and Bagua are based on his teachings, which were derived from his observations of nature.

Tao - the path or way - said to lie beyond both existence and non-existence. Simplified this is regarded as the way of nature, to be at one with yourself, the earth, the universe and beyond. The Tao is often referred to as wu wei (not doing). This can be mistaken as doing nothing, which is not the case. It is more a state of inner awareness to react without the interference of the conscious will.

Chi - life force, intrinsic energy. Once chi existed, the universe divided into the two cosmic elements the Chinese called these opposing but complimentary forces:-

Yin and Yang: The symbol which we know today divides the two forces by a curved line, which represents eternal motion. Yin cannot exist without Yang and Yang cannot exist without Yin. Therefore there must be yin within yang and yang within yin.

Aim of Taoism: To achieve complete harmony between emotional and physical life and with nature. To bend with the wind, go with the flow and follow natural laws. Transcendental and non-conformist.


CONFUCIUS: 551-479 BC?

Philosophy of humanism, humanity -not afterworld.

Confucius' doctrine was concerned with the world of the living.

1. Virtue - morality in Government

2. Righteousness in morality

3. Filial piety to family

4. Proper conduct in social situations

5. Education

This philosophy was based very much on law and order and family respect. It was beaurocratic, materialistic and conformist.

However Confucius preached peace and respect for the individual.


BUDDHA: 563-483BC? Philosophy metaphysical

Believed in a complete disregard for material things - next life and beyond most important. Reincarnation and Enlightenment.

1. Suffering does exist - birth, aging, death

2. Existence - ignorance - cause of suffering

- ego - cause of illusion and evil

3. Freedom comes only when we denounce material things and illusion of self.

4. With freedom comes enlightenment - the path

Of the three great philosophers, Lao Tzu' had the greatest influence on Tai Chi with the concept of balance in all things and following the way of nature. However Confucius added respect for emotions, understanding of life and the importance of living. Confucian philosophy has considerable influence on all the Chinese martial arts where discipline and respect for the individual should always be adhered to. Buddhism promoted the metaphysical side of Tai Chi, mind power, the concept of ego, illusion and simplicity of life. Da Mo, was probably the most influential Buddhist monk because of his association with the Shaolin Temple. This influence will be expanded on in later editions of your newsletter.

Rosemary Palmer. 
Moving Meditation School of Tai Chi and Qigong.


Home Page   Articles