Monday, December 04, 2006

Tai Chi Chuan - Philosophical Foundations

"Tai chi existing without its philosophical foundation would become a hollow form of adult exercise, lacking not only the profundity of the art but its great health and martial arts benefits as well."
- Wolfe Lowenthal

"If you do not know how to manifest this internal understanding into martial actions, then you have only reached a low level. Similarly, if you practice tai chi chuan only focussing on the martial aspects, without pondering and understanding the theories, then the martial manifestation will be shallow."
- Yang Jwing-Ming

Taoism: Some Key Terms

Definitons provided by Roger T. Ames and David L. Hall in Daodejing "Making Life Significant": A Philosophical Translation (2003), p. 67:

wuming: Naming without fixed reference.

wushi: To be non-interfering in going about your business.

wuwei: Noncoercive action that is in accordance with the de of things.

wuyu: Objectless desire.

wuzheng: Striving without contentiousness.

wuzhi: Unprincipled knowing.

Chapter 63, Dao De Jing

"Do that which consists in taking no action;
Pursue that which is not meddlesome;
Savor that which has no flavor.

Make the small big and the few many;
Do good to him who has done you an injury.

Lay plans for the accomplishment of the difficult before it becomes difficult;
Make something big by starting with it when small.

Difficult things in the world must needs have their beginnings in the easy;
Big things must needs have their beginnings in the small.

Therefore it is because the sage never attempts to be great that he succeeds in becoming great.

One who makes promises rashly rarely keeps good faith;
One who is in the habit of considering things easy meets with frequent difficulties.

Therefore even the sage treats some things as difficult.
That is why in the end no difficulties can get the better of him."

Translated by D. C. Lau


  1. Nice blog! Glad to have discovered it!

  2. Thanks to you and to everyone who gives me such kind and supportive feedback!

    I use Google Blog Search a lot to "discover" new information, ideas, and perspectives about the topics I am interested in studying.

  3. Good work, I know it's hard to publish a blog daily/weekly.. but always nice to see you've managed again!


  4. Thank you for posting the Wuwei, I was desperately searching the internet searching for them and found your blog, thank you again