What is Wuji?
In ancient Chinese philosophy, the term "Wuji" comes from the Tao Te Ching (attributed to the philosopher Laozi), referring to the Taoist concept of non-being, which means boundless, infinite and never-ending. In classical Chinese script, the word "wuji" means “without center”, representing the ancients’ abstract understanding of the initial state of the universe.
In this state the universe has no central point, nor any boundaries. Without center or boundary, there is endless chaos.
The universe in its original state is invisible and undifferentiated.
What is Tai Chi?
“Tai” means the supreme, or the ultimate, which refers to the largest in the collection, that wherein everything else is included; “Chi” means one of the relativities. Taken together, “Tai Chi ”is an all-embracing concept, containing all relativity.
It is just like a circle, which contains countless angles without any angle being manifest; or like a piece of paper entirely covered in drawings appears dark, so that no drawing is visible. Another example is a sound wave, if all the frequencies are included, they cancel each other out and there is no sound (this is also the principle of noise-proof headphones).
The so-called Tai Chi is to clarify the process of universe from Wuji to Tai Chi, and then everything is created, among which Tai Chi is the state of Yin-Yang chaos before heaven and earth separated. According to the explanation of the I ching, the chaos "Wuji" becomes "Tai Chi", and further produce two platforms of Yin and Yang.
Tai Chi in Taoism generally refers to the most primitive state of order in the universe, appearing after the chaotic period (Wuji) of Yin and Yang, and then forming the origin of everything (the universe).
What is Yin-Yang?
The traditional concept holds that yin and yang represent the most basic opposites of everything. It is the objective law of nature, the origin of motion and variation in everything, and the basic law of human knowledge. The concept of yin and yang originated from the ancient Chinese view of nature. The ancients observed various opposites occurring in natural phenomena and connected them, such as heaven and earth, sun and moon, day and night, cold and heat, men and women, up and down, and so on. This they summarized in the concept of "yin-yang" as the way of philosophical thought.
Through the observation and experience of various phenomena in nature and the human body, the ancients have realized that the change from yin to yang in things or phenomena generally occurs in the extreme stage of their development and variation, which gives rise to the notion that "to be extreme is to be its opposite". When the motion and variation of things or phenomena have developed to the extreme, that is, the growth and decline changes of Yin-Yang developed to a certain extent, the attributes of Yin and Yang will be transformed.
According to the theory of yin-yang, the two sides of yin-yang are not static but restricted and in mutual struggle, that means they are in a complementary changing process, one becoming stronger as the other becomes weaker, and vice versa. In terms of seasonal changes, Yang wanes and Yin waxes as the climate becomes colder from summer to autumn, while there is an opposite process of Yang waxing and Yin waning as the climate becomes warmer from winter to spring. As far as the human body is concerned, the production of function (Yang) is bound to consume certain nutrients (Yin), which is the process of Yin waning and Yang waxing, and the utilization of nutrients (Yin) is bound to consume energy (Yang), which is the process of Yang waning and Yin waxing. Growth and decline within a certain range is normal, but if one side eliminates too much, there will be disease.
What is Tai Chi Quan?
Tai chi refers to the natural laws of development of everything in the universe in their movement, Quan is a kind of martial arts. Putting these two elements together is what we called "Tai Chi Quan", which can also be referred to as tai chi. Tai Chi Quan is a synthesis of various ancient martial arts, combined with ancient Tao Yin and Tu Na, learned from the philosophy of Confucianism, Buddhism, Taoism and the theory of traditional Chinese medicine, in conformity with the natural laws of the human body, which pay attention to both internal and external, fast and slow, hard and soft. Tai Chi combines the Yin-Yang theory of changes with the moves of Kung Fu boxing.
Tai Chi has become a symbol of Chinese philosophy’s emphasis on maintaining mental and physical health.
Today, Tai Chi Quan has been introduced to more than 100 countries and regions. Tai Chi Quan organizations have been established in more than 70 countries and regions around the world; according to the statistics of authoritative media, the number of people worldwide practicing Tai Chi in 2008 has reached more than 250 million, which makes it the world's first martial arts movement.
We can understand the connotation of Tai Chi from the following three aspects:
(1)Tai Chi is a form of exercise for preserving health, deeply rooted in traditional health care, traditional medicine, traditional QiGong and other disciplines; it is a sport with attested health and fitness benefits. During exercise, the movements require a calm mind and relaxed body with the energy concentrated, soft and slow movement with physical comfort. Its health-keeping characteristics are mainly reflected in its attributes as spiritual-physical movement, meditation in movement, whole body exercise, balanced movement，aerobic movement, moderate movement. All these health characteristics sets Tai Chi Quan apart from the other widespread kinds of martial arts boxing.
(2) As a martial art, Tai Chi pays attention to the cultivation of internal energy. It requires a high level of both muscular and spiritual relaxation. It emphasizes the control of inner energy and movement with one’s mind, as well as the combination of spirit and movement, activity and stillness, inner energy practice and muscle exercise.
Therefore, Tai Chi is a kind of martial art that focuses on cultivating the spirit, mind and energy, which is also a kind of kongfu strengthened by enhancing the qualities of vigor, energy and spirit through the cooperation of movement and breath.
(3)Tai chi is a kind of self-cultivation martial arts, which is not only beneficial for the body, but also has a purifying effect on the mind. One of the core ideas of Tai chi is to pursue the state of "harmony", so that people can try to get rid of heavy psychological pressure and find a peaceful sense of belonging, enabling people to realize the state and concept of existence with particular attention paid to nature.
Author : Master Ping Wu
Edited by Martin
28 / 02 / 2019