Log in


taoistische Alternativen für eine konfuzianische Welt

5. Mai 2005

Tai Chi Chuan @ 14:08

When tracing T'ai Chi Ch'üan's formative influences to Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, one has little more to go on than legendary tales from a modern historical perspective, but T'ai Chi Ch'üan's practical connection to and dependence upon the theories of Sung dynasty Neo-Confucianism (a conscious synthesis of Taoist, Buddhist and Confucian traditions, esp. the teachings of Mencius) is readily apparent to its practitioners. The philosophical and political landscape of that time in Chinese history is fairly well documented, even if the art later to become known as T'ai Chi Ch'üan's origin in it is not. T'ai Chi Ch'üan's theories and practice are therefore believed by some schools to have been formulated by the Taoist monk Chang San-feng in the 12th century, a time frame fitting well with when the principles of the Neo-Confucian school were making themselves felt in Chinese intellectual life. Therefore the didactic story is told that Chang San-feng as a young man studied Tao Yin ( py daoyin) breathing exercises from his Taoist teachers and martial arts at the Buddhist Shaolin monastery, eventually combining the martial forms and breathing exercises to formulate the soft or internal principles we associate with T'ai Chi Ch'üan and related martial arts. Its subsequent fame attributed to his teaching, Wu Tang monastery was known thereafter as an important martial center for many centuries, its many styles of internal kung fu preserved and refined at various Taoist temples.
Recently there has been some divergence between those who say they practise T'ai Chi primarily for fighting, those who practise it for its aesthetic appeal (as in the shortened, modern, theatrical "Taijiquan" forms of wushu, see below), and those who are more interested in its benefits to physical and mental health. The wushu aspect is primarily for show, the forms taught for those purposes are designed to earn points in competition and are mostly unconcerned with either health maintenance or martial ability. More traditional stylists still see the two aspects of health and martial arts as equally necessary pieces of the puzzle, the yin and yang of T'ai Chi Ch'üan. The T'ai Chi "family" schools therefore still present their teachings in a martial art context even though the majority of their students nowadays profess that they are primarily interested in training for the claimed health benefits. T'ai Chi has become very popular in the last twenty years or so, as the baby boomers age and T'ai Chi's reputation for ameliorating the effects of aging becomes more well-known. Hospitals, clinics, community and senior centers are all hosting T'ai Chi classes in communities around the world.
Share  |  |