Write an essay about Chinese & Korean Traditions
How Tai Chi Reflects the Daoist Ideals
Tai Chi connotes an internal martial art that is practiced in China for defense and health benefits (Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism n.p.). It is equally practiced for other reasons like achievement of competitive wrestling and greater longevity (Amore et al. 282). The exercise involves a combination of relaxation, deep breathing, and slow or gentle movements (Yang 118). Conversely, Daoism constitutes one of Chinese greatest philosophical norms (Amore et al. 295). Daoist ideals spin around logical texts and philosophers, like Laozi, Daojiao, and Zhuangzi that describe spiritual undertakings, dating back to Han dynasty. Therefore, it encompasses ideals, thoughts, and practices that may be perceived as being philosophical, religious, or even an amalgamation of the two. As depicted in our text book, Tai Chi imitates some of the ideals of the Daoist. The link between the two may be linked to the fact that Daoist notions and science are connected to the Chinese culture, which gave birth to Tai Chi. To understand movement with regard to health and martial applications, Ta Chi has drawn on the slowness, softness, yielding, balance, centeredness, suppleness, and rootedness principles. Nonetheless, the same ideologies constitute components of Daoist philosophy.
Moreover, the principal characteristics of Daoist notions, like nature’s contemplation and appreciation are imitated in several Tai Chi movements. Such movements include repulse monkey, return to mountain, snake creeps down, lion shaking its head, and embrace tiger. Daoist talismanic pseudoscience and symbolism have equally been employed in Tai Chi forms. Amore et al. note that Daoists studied astrology and astronomy keenly and this knowledge reproduces in Tai Chi forms, like “meteor runs after the moon” and “embrace the moon”(301). In Daoist notion, symbolism was a strong force and significantly role played. Oxtoby et al. note according to Daoist practice, magic drawings were employed and highly respected to be influential charms and to possess immense powers over religious forces (317). The symbolism invoked the harmonizing effect on eternal change and yin-yang, earth and mankind, the divine order of heaven, along with the workings of the universe via the principles of five elements. These were signified by the five sacred mountains (Hengshan, Taishan, Hengshan, Huashan, and Songshan), which are central places of Taoist pilgrimage and development (Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism n.p.). Therefore, it is not surprising to find that the symbolism’s names have infiltrated the Tai Chi forms. Similarly, there was a numerological significance to the symbolism. Number 5 has a distinct mystical relevance to Taoists. Taoists has the symbolic five elements, mountains, colours, planets, directions, and emotions, among other symbolisms, all of which have a mystic importance. Hence there are the five cloud hands and five repulse monkeys in the forms of Tai Chi.
Further, the Winnipeg Taoist Tai Chi website serves as an eye-opener for anyone who is suffering from different physical pains that are caused by injury or accident. The group is entirely voluntary and does a number of events which involve physical exercise. Tai Chi comprises deep stretching having a full range of motion as well as continuous spine turning (Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism n.p.). These exercises and movements work serious the body to relax it. Likewise, to Taoist, the Daoism’s logical branch has nearly the same notion. The philosophical stream, according to Oxtoby et al. (318), is concerned with the virtue and health of mind. The southern shamanistic norm of the religion follows the methods that have the potential of leading to immortality. The focus and cultivation on health to have a peaceable mind is what makes Tai chi and Daoism ideals similar.
Similarly, from the textbook, it is evident that Taoism often seeks harmony and holds the belief that everything is made of energy. What is regarded by many as “qi,” Taoism believes that the energy should flow constantly and that the blocked “qi” causes illness (Amore et al. 342). Tai Chi unblocks and moves the “qi” and moves it around a person’s body, the outcome being better health, both external and internal. There is also a belief by Daoist that people are inherently good but the societal nature causes individuals to acquire bad conducts and become self-centred (Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism n.p.). The aim of the philosophical argument, therefore, is to eliminate those weaknesses through the Taoist Tai Chi set that consists of 108 exercises and movements referred to as “the jongs.”
Amore, Roy C., Amir Hussain, and Willard Oxtoby. World Religions – Eastern Traditions. 5th ed., Ontario, Oxford University Press, 2018, 281-358.
Fung Loy Kok Institute of Taoism. “Prioritizing Health and Safety.” The most caring thing to do. https://www.taoist.org/locations/winnipeg/. Accessed 11 Dec. 2020.
Yang, Fan “Taoist wisdom on individualized teaching and learning—Reinterpretation through the perspective of Tao Te Ching.” Educational Philosophy and Theory, vol. 51, no. 1, 2015, pp. 117-127.