"Tai chi is always practiced in a simplified version nowadays." The protection of Taiji Quan and its current state.

kungfu tai chi tai ji taichi taiji Jul 29, 2023

Originally posted in 2011

By Raul Ramirez


China is applying to UNESCO, (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization), to place Tai Chi Chuan, or Taiji Quan, deservedly on the Intangible World Heritage List.  Inclusion on this list would make Taiji Quan a recognized and safeguarded world tradition.  Inclusion in this list would be a great step forward to insure Taiji Quan's place in world history and culture. 

What is the current state of Taiji Quan?  

 "Tai chi is always practiced in a simplified version nowadays," Wu Zuolai said, a researcher at the Chinese National Academy of Arts.1  Since the late 1950's, Chinese martial arts forms have been simplified from their original versions to make performance versions.  In the performance versions of the traditional forms, the self-defense movements have been softened, making their applications almost completely unrecognizable.  The emphasis of the forms became competition.  The movements became exaggerated, "primarily aimed at exhibition and competition, and often include more acrobatic jumps and movements added for enhanced visual effect compared to the traditional styles."2

Unfortunately, much of the original forms are lost or almost lost today.  Hopefully, Inclusion on the UNESCO list will help preserve the original, meditative and self-defense movements that are sorely missing in the modern instruction of Taiji Quan.  

If you are interested in learning Taiji Quan, do not merely look for a famous teacher, look for one that can explain the applications of the movements and the philosophy behind the style. 

1. http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/usa/china/2011-01/21/content_11898306.htm
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_martial_arts

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