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After Shaolin monk Zhang San-feng left Shaolin, he ended up living in the Wu Dung Mountains and developed a new school of martial arts called wu dung (Cantonese: wu tang.)
As legend goes, Zhang San-feng saw a crane fighting a snake. The snake used soft coiling motions to ward off the bird’s attacks, and the crane used its wings to fend off the snake’s strikes. By 1365, Zhang San-feng had combined Taoist breathing exercises with the soft, fluid, coiling self-defense moves and created the internal martial art mien chuen (cotton fist). This became the foundation of tai chi.
Taoist monk Chiang Fa (aka Wang Zong-yue) taught mien chuen to Chen Wang-ting. Chen Wang-ting blended it with previous knowledge to create chen tai chi, a tai chi style that uses fast-slow and hard-soft movements (i.e., the perfect yin-yang combination). Chen Wang-ting taught Chen Chang-ching, who then taught Yang Lu-chen. Yang Lu-chen made changes and created yang tai chi. Over time, three new tai chi styles evolved: wu, sun and wu/hao.
Tai chi teaches you how to circulate your body’s chi (internal energy). To reap the full benefits of tai chi, you’ll also need to practice tai chi chi kung.
Master Nadiya Duka from Wudang China visits regularly and provides seminars on Tai Chi.