Philosophy and Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi is not a religion or a religious practice. It is a martial art which has its roots in the purest and oldest form of Taoist (pronounced "dowist") philosophy, and also has much in common with Zen disciplines, in that it is practiced with patience and skill and it trains the mind as well as the body, but you don't have to be a Taoist or a Buddhist to practice Tai Chi.
Worldwide, there are Tai Chi practitioners from every faith, culture and walk of life and a Tai Chi class is a non-discriminatory environment which can allow you to feel part of the global family of humanity. Ultimately, as with scientific enquiry, it can help us to better understand the universe and our place within it.
Wu Chi is the Chinese name given to the "grand ultimate space" where nothing exists yet the potential for everything is contained. Out of this arises Tai Chi, the journey from stillness to movement - the extremes of yin and yang - and back to stillness. The name given to the entire Cosmos and everything that supports and sustains it is Tao.
These are only names, however. To use terms from modern science, Tao could be simply "Cosmos" and Wu Chi could be the cosmic ground out of which and back to which sub-atomic particles continuously come and go.
As Lao Tzu says in the Tao Te Ching: "The name that can be named is not the eternal name..... Continually emerging, it returns again and again to nothingness."
After a mere few thousand years, modern science is beginning to catch up with Lao Tzu and you will find quotes from the Tao Te Ching in various modern scientific texts, especially those relating to quantum physics and quantum computing.
The Tai Chi symbol shows the eternal motion and interplay of yin and yang around the central point of stillness. Each contains a little of its opposite (the “eyes” of the fishes) and as each reaches its extreme, its opposite arises again. The circle enclosing all of this represents the Tao.
(Interestingly, subatomic particles created in the depths of space always emerge as pairs of opposites. It is this phenomenon which gives rise to Hawking radiation from black holes as one of the pair crosses the event horizon and is captured by the black hole while the other remains outside and becomes part of the radiated heat around it. Stephen Hawking has likened this to yin and yang at this fundamental level of the universe.)
A Tai Chi form also begins with Stillness (Wu Chi), moves to the extremes of yin and yang in a flowing tide of continuous motion and comes back to stillness. An internal stillness is retained throughout the movements of the form. Meditation resting in the state of Wu Chi can bring peace of mind, serenity and greater wisdom