The Taoist monks believed that to have balance in the universe
God has created inter-dependency between these two forces,
and that man should aim to model his own life on these two
principles if he is to attain equilibrium and balance with nature.
The Taoist followers lived in isolated areas of ancient China,
far from the mundane existence of city life.They studied the
teachings of Lao Tzu and other teachers of the Taoist way and
enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the remote hills, mountains
Unfortunately, there were city dwellers who disturbed the
monks’ tranquillity and targeted them as easy prey for their
own goals. Amongst these unsavoured individuals were
robbers and murderers who attacked the monks and pillaged
their monastries; in many cases, many Monks were killed.
monks nevertheless persevered in their
way of life and continued to live in peace and
harmony, cultivating oneness with nature.
Fortunately, the teachings of the Taoist philo-
sophy reached the Shaolin Temples and won
the empathy of the Shaolin fighting Kung fu
The Shaolin monks were revered for their own
beliefs and martial art skills by every one
including the Royal family and Generals of the
army. The Emperor would often seek the
assistance of the Shaolin monks to help defeat enemies of the state.
However, because the Shaolin monks were
principally focusing on the Yang energy of
aggressive, direct combat skills, philosopher
monks who were more attuned to the Taoist
ways were unable to develop the internal
aspect of the Shaolin martial art at the Shaolin Temple.
Over a period of time some Shaolin monks were faced with the
sad option of having to choose between the Taoist beliefs and
the Zen belief of their teachings at the Shaolin temples. This
resulted with the death of many monks who had to fight their
way out of the Shaolin temple.
In those days, parents, mostly from the poorer class of people,
would give their children up to the Shaolin temple. In this way,
the young boys were assured food, shelter and an education.
In return, the children would serve the temple as fighting
monks and follow the principles of the prevailing deity of the
temple under the guidance of the Abbot. The monks could not
leave the temple once they had been accepted and initiated.
They were bound by an oath of abstinence and celibacy from
the outside world.
As the philosophers studied the Taoist ways they became
conscious of the limitations of their masters’ teachings and
this initiated a reaction that was influenced by the need to
attain balance with the natural way of all things. These monks
who were tied to the Shaolin way and were not free to venture
elsewhere, confronted the Abbots and an agreement was
A special structure was devised, which would allow those monks
wishing to leave the Shaolin temple, to do so. If a monk wanted
to leave the temple, he was allowed to do so after defeating
all his contemporary masters in combat. On the day that the
monk would leave the temple, he had to go through a line of
his contemporary masters and defeat each one in turn. The
philosophical monks were often defeated before the end of the
line and often killed. However, some did make it and were then
able to introduce their own fighting methods to the outside
The founder of Tai Chi Chuan was one of the monks who made
it past the line of no return and out through the gates of the
Shaolin temple. His name was Chang-San Feng. His fighting
skills were so advanced that the Emperor offered him the
post of head martial arts teacher of the Ming dynasty. He was
showered with gifts by the Emperor, who also built a temple on
the Wutang Mountains to honour him.
Chang-San Feng invited Taoist monks to learn his fighting art
and to incorporate it with the Taoist belief of Yin and Yang.
Chang-San Feng therefore developed the Shaolin fighting art in
line with the principles of Taoism until it took on a new form with
emphasis based on a fuller understanding of the yielding force
of the Yin.
The internal force of Yin had never before been applied or fully
understood until Chang-San Feng developed it with Shaolin
Kung fu and called it Supreme Ultimate Fist, otherwise known
as Tai Chi Chuan, with Chi Kung as a set of breathing exercises
to enhance physical strength.
The Emperors of China were so impressed with the fighting
skills of the Taoist monks that they were eventually invited
to the Royal Courts and ordered to teach Tai Chi to the Princes
and Imperial guards. The Taoist monks took up the offer and
through their teachings to the imperial guards Tai Chi Chuan
eventually reached the people.
When members of the Imperial guard retired from the army
they taught Tai Chi to members of their family and to others
to earn a living. In time, the rulers of China encouraged the
practice of Tai Chi for its practical self-defence benefits and for
its ability to keep people healthy and mobile until they reached
a grand old age.
Now you too can enjoy the benefits of this graceful set of exercises
suitable for all age groups and gender. It will keep you healthy and
calm all day long.
Diana, Princess of Wales, practiced T'ai Chi as part of her daily
exercise routine because it enabled her to harmonise mind, body
History has shown how Tai Chi Chuan gained popular support,
surpassing all other forms of combat and health exercises. It was
in the past and still today regarded as the chief preventer of chronic
illnesses, including cancer, in China.