Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese form of exercise for people of all ages, which has gained an enthusiastic reception from all over the world.

The source from which this popularity springs can be traced to the physical and mental benefits which result from putting into practice the philosophical concepts on which the art is based.
The founder of Tai Chi Chuan was Chang San Feng, a Taoist, who was born in 1247 AD. His accomplishments were such that during the Ming Dynasty news of his fame reached the ears of the Emperor himself. Titles and Honors were showered on Chang and a magnificent mansion was built for him on Wutan Mountain as a special gift from the provincial governor.

One of the greatest Tai Chi Chuan masters was Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872 AD) who, during the Ching Dynasty, served as the chief combat instructor of the Imperial Guard. He practiced Tai Chi Chuan for many years and his fighting ability earned him the nickname ‘Invincible Yang’. This gives us a good idea of the high esteem in which Tai Chi was held in those days.

Tai Chi Chuan is an art which demands a high degree of skill and intelligence if mastery is to be achieved. It is not enough for us to practice hard, though this is necessary, we must find a good master as well. Only a good master can correctly demonstrate techniques to his students, identify their faults, and give them the proper advice and guidance which will enable them to progress. A man who practices alone or who follows a poor teacher will progress very slowly and will never be able to realize his full potential.

It is common knowledge that the practice of Tai Chi Chuan is beneficial to health, but few people are aware that Tai Chi Chuan is also a subtle, sophisticated and scientific method of self-defence. The main reason for this ignorance lies in the fact that most Tai Chi Chuan masters are themselves ignorant of the self-defence side of the art, and are thus only capable of teaching Tai Chi Chuan for health. Without a doubt a student who trains under such a teacher will find that his health will improve, but equally without doubt he will be incapable of facing martial artists of other styles in combat with any prospect of success. For such a contest we need a truly practical method of combat, if we are to defeat our opponent.

One of the popular misconceptions about the martial arts is the belief that the son of a famous master will be a more skillful martial artist than the other students because he is much closer to the master than any of then. However, we are not dealing with horse-racing, where careful breeding can produce a thoroughbred. Chinese Kung Fu is an art, and so a high level of knowledge and ability can only be achieved if the student is highly motivated and prepared to put in years of practice and study to achieve success. Success is the return we get from an injection of capital in the form of constant practice and study. Even if a great master wishes to impart all his knowledge to his son, his intentions will never be realized if the son is not interested in learning. Furthermore, if he is forced to learn the art, the son will take in very little and easily forget what he has just learned. The case of the disciple is quite different; he is so interested in learning the art that he is willing to expend all the effort, time and money he can afford in order to make maximum progress.