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What is Tai Ji? The art of Taijiquan is shortened to Tai Chi or Taiji for English speakers... Tai Ji (with a space in the middle) is a philosophical concept and observation of nature that includes Yin and Yang theory. Taijiquan is the art that is inspired and based upon those principles. Over time different systems have been used to translate the Chinese language into English. This, along with our maturing conceptual understanding yields the different pronunciations and spellings you've come across. Tai Ji can be roughly translated as "Supreme Ultimate". While some will claim that this speaks to the superiority of the art over others, I find a deeper resonance in the concept that the planetary orbits and the changing of seasons which on the human level cannot be changed are the reference here. This would represent Yin & Yang on the celestial scale. So again, Taijiquan would be the 'fist' or martial art based upon these principles.

In the beginning of your Taiji journey, the names are not as important as how they feel. Instead of a mental or intellectual focus, it will be productive for you to develop a 'body' focus, understand how the postures feel to you. Let the body teach the mind. Eventually, as we repeat them in successive classes, the names will gradually stick. Remember your focus will be to acquire one or two new move(s) each class, practice, refine and then learn another. Even as we progress, we continue to refine so this process never really ends, just the level at which our focus resides. This is one reason we refer to the sustained study of this art as our 'practice'.

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