Tai Ch'i Ch'uan (also spelled Taiji Quan, T'ai Chi Chuan and many other ways) is the most advanced of the Chinese internal fighting styles. It is best known in the West as a yoga-like type of exercise, but it has martial applications as well, as its name ("supreme ultimate fist" or "yin-yang boxing") indicates.
According to the most popular legend, Tai Ch'i Ch'uan was originally developed by a Taoist priest named Chang San-Feng who is said to have lived during either the Sung, Yuan or Ming Dynasties. One day he observed a snake and a hawk (or a crane) fighting, and was struck by the efficiency of their movements—the fact that they could be both loose and supple and hard and fast at the same time. Based on what he had seen, he developed a series of fighting maneuvers, to which he added maneuvers derived from other natural movements (such as the swaying of trees, the flowing of water and the movement of clouds). The result is a fighting style which combines soft, flowing movements with rapid, almost explosive attack forms; due to the internal energy (ch'i) employed by a skilled Tai Ch'i Ch'uan fighter, the results
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