Taijiquan translates as “supreme ultimate fist.” Taiji is a philosophy. The beginning is wuji, or oneness. Taiji brings yin and yang into being. Taijiquan is the pinyin spelling for the translation of the Chinese characters. You may also see the old Wade-Giles spelling of Tai Chi Chuan.


Taijiquan characters




Taiji symbol


Yin Yang

Yin Yang

There are five major families of taijiquan:

  • Chen – the oldest of the five families. Other forms grew from this.
  • Yang – the most widely practiced form today.
  • Wu
  • Wu Hao
  • Sun

There are many styles within the families, and other families, such as Fu.

The Legend of how Taijiquan began…


There is debate about the beginnings of taijiquan, and there are conflicting views about the origins. You can read about this in an article called “Fighting Words: Four New Document Finds Reignite Old Debates in Taijiquan Historiography,” by Douglas Wile in Martial Arts Studies.

A nice introduction to taijiquan and qigong…