There are many different stories concerning the origin and creation of Tai Chi. The most popular legend, which has little factual substantiation is that of Zhan San Feng, a Daoist, who having already mastered Shaolin Boxing, caught sight of a crane fighting a snake. Intrigued by the yielding, smooth evasion and darting counter attacks of both creatures, was inspired to develop a form of boxing which would embody the natural philosophy of the Dao.


The only history that can be verified can be traced to the Chen family village, Chenjiagou. This soft boxing was finally popularized by Yang Luchan (1780-1873) who, through diligent effort, learnt the Chen family boxing and then went to Beijing, where he taught the art to the Manchu court. This Yang school of boxing was destined to become the most popular form of Taijiquan.


All other styles of Tai Chi Chuan developed either from the Chen or Yang styles. The most well known are the Wu style, the Sun Style and the Hao style. Although each style has its own particular "flavor" and they appear different in their external performance, they all keep to the principles laid out centuries ago by Chang San-Feng.


Yang Cheng-Fu had one student by the name of Cheng Man-Ch'ing (1901-1975) who became the greatest master of his time. With his master's permission, he shortened the form to 37 postures and made it the most popular of all the forms practiced today.


Cheng traveled to the United States to teach and took on students of all backgrounds, which is one of the reasons his particular form is so popular today. His form is characterized by its upright spine, "lu" or "roll-back" energy, and the its powerful softness. It is Professor Cheng Man-Ch`ings style of Tai Chi Chuan that is taught in our Internal Alchemy school.





Note on Translation A proliferation of translation methods over the last century has given rise to a number of different spellings of the same words. Some examples are T'ai Chi, Tai Chi, T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Taiji, etc. on this web site we have tried to standardize for consistency