What Is The Primary Purpose Of Tai Chi?

I know that Tai Chi has a lot of different things it has been/can be used for such as Meditation, Martial Arts and Healing and that depending on which person you study under, different parts of Tai Chi’s repertoire will be emphasized. Since it is supposed to do all of these aspects well, I thought that the primary purpose it derives from must be quite good. Does anyone have any ideas of good places for me to go to figure this out? I’m pretty sure something like “Tai Chi exists for meditation” could be stated, but on a more simple and technical level, what is the big goal the people who made Tai Chi were going for?

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  • Tai Chi Horse September 13, 2010, 11:45 am

    You gave a very good question, the only thing I would change would be to include Qigong within the statement. That said, Tai Chi Master Bruce Frantzis recently wrote on this topic, so I’m going to quote him!

    The overall goal or aim of Tai Chi and Qigong to is to make the body fully conscious and integrated with your conscious mind, which in turn makes it possible to engage in advanced meditation. Initially, Tai Chi and Qigong are traditionally taught with static practices (such as Taoist Longevity Breathing Yoga) that allow one to begin going inside themselves and having inner body recognition. Although succeeding in this takes a lot of work, it can only go so far, and maintaining a state of complete internal awareness becomes much more difficult and complex once the body starts moving, especially if those movements stir up the energy inside the body (which essentially makes the task infinitely complex).

    Tai Chi and Qigong are extremely good at engaging the body (thus making it easier to go inside it) while also vigorously moving all the energy in the body around. Thus they are essentially tailor made to fulfilling the previously outlined requirements, which goes a long way to explaining the purpose of Tai Chi.

    However, it goes a bit further. When you get good at the static body awareness, your mind gains the ability to go inside your body, but if that same process is repeated in much more advanced dynamic physical and energetic movement, it brings you to being fully conscious in the body; and thus the state which allows meditation to occur.
    Side benefits like being good at martial arts don’t hurt though.


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