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Asian culture

Taijiquan is not a modern art.
Its roots lie in the Ancient Chinese wisdom of Taoism.
Taoism and its off-shoot Zen have produced many fascinating cultural arts.
Exploring Asian culture can enrich your taijiquan practice and offer inspiration beyond the training.


3 stages


Art moves through 3 stages:

  1. New

  2. Classical

  3. Baroque


Zen

Zen aesthetics encourage a taste for natural things.
Instead of glossy, flamboyant, outward show, it turns the attention inward.
You begin to notice the small, the seemingly insignificant, and you see the wonder of the ordinary.


Beauty in imperfection

Beauty can be found in everyday things: in simplicity, in imperfection, in the subtle.
Wrinkles, creases, wood grain and irregular patterns in the sand are all examples of an alternate aesthetic.
They are called 'li' and are seen as being similar to incense smoke rising or the swirling, unpredictable flow of water.
Wrinkles show character and creases add texture.


Cultural arts

Japan in particular has maintained many rich traditions that incorporate a Taoist influence:

Painting
Textiles
Music
Pottery
Literature
Tea ceremony
Gardening
Food presentation 
Calligraphy
Wrapping things using fabrics
Flower arrangement
Poetry 
Theatre
Architecture
Clothing
Food
Language

All of these areas of study provide opportunities to deepen your understanding and appreciation of Asian culture.


Art form

Many modern taijiquan forms are baroque; separated from functionality and true purpose.
Not in our class.
There are no wasted movements. No crowd-pleasing displays.
The art is 'classical': simple, direct, focussed and effective in combat.



Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 19 December 2016