Following Master Ray Hayward, we catagorize the benefits into four groups: Health, Self-Defense, Meditation, and Philosopy. Many masters emphasize Health as the most important reason for practicing the art because one's health is essential to continue to practice the other aspects.


Through a series of organized movements and a method of slow, deep breathing, the T’ai Chi solo form:

  • Increases blood and energy circulation to all organs of the body thereby increasing sensitivity, stamina and vitality.
  • Exercises and strengthens all muscle groups in the body in a relaxed, non-stressful way.
  • Circulates vital energy, or Ch'i, throughout the body producing a strong, flexible, balanced system.

A “round” of T’ai Chi gently exercises every muscle group in the body for both strength and flexibility. By following the body’s own natural movement patterns, blood circulates more efficiently to the organs, tissues, and cells, increasing their vitality. The calm, deep, breathing done in T’ai Chi increases oxygen intake, which produces aerobic benefits without unduly stressful workouts. In addition, the vital energy, or Ch'i (Chee), is drawn into each part of the body, resulting in an energized, well functioning body, which is the basis of good health.


As a self-defense practice, the martial art of T’ai Chi Ch'uan:

  • Develops balance
  • Does not rely entirely on speed, strength, or muscular force
  • Teaches us how to achieve the maximum result with the minimum use of energy by utilizing ones own sensitivity and making use of the opponent’s strength against him.

When they see the solo form performed, most people speak of how beautiful it is and how it appears the T’ai Chi practitioners are dancing. However, every posture in the form has a very powerful martial art application. In fact, each posture can have multiple applications. One of the core self-defense beliefs in T’ai Chi is “to defend is to attack".

While many martial arts depend upon developing superior strength or speed, T’ai Chi Ch’uan is unique in that it's basis for mastery lies in the development of sensitivity. As sensitivity, technique and strategy are developed the use of brute force becomes unnecessary. Aggressive actions directed toward the practitioner are neutralized and directed away resulting in a non-aggressive, but effective martial art. Each posture has a practical application for self-defense which is taught in a non-competitive and non-aggressive manner.


T'ai Chi is often called "Meditation in Motion" or "Moving Meditation". The movements are done slowly and relaxed while the mind is concentrated on the breath and the flow of energy in the body.

The slow, relaxed, continuous flow of the T’ai Chi movements creates a state of balance and tranquility. As the mind becomes quiet, as the body becomes light and nimble, a harmony is reached between mind and body, bringing a feeling of central equilibrium, confidence and calm. T’ai Chi Masters believe we then learn how to carry this feeling with us into our daily lives helping us to deal with conflicts in a non-stressful, non-aggressive way.

T’ai Chi utilizes Taoist meditation techniques to promote development of calm within self. These methods are believed to clear the body’s energy and allow the chi to circulate freely. This results in a clear mind and a strong spirit of vitality. One can then feel more in harmony and peace with themselves and others.

When practicing T'ai Chi, the mind is fully present and focused on the postures, while past and future are dissolved.


Though T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a scientific and practical art, its theory is steeped in Chinese philosophy, particularly Taoism. The name T’ai Chi means the state of the universe that gives birth to Yin and Yang. It is called the “Mother of Yin and Yang”, and in one of the T’ai Chi “Classics”: "in movement they (Yin and Yang) separate, and in stillness they are one". So, even the words T’ai Chi have a deep cosmological and philosophical meaning.

The concept of “Mind” is divided into 2 parts in Chinese Philosophy: the Hsin (Heart-mind) is the emotional mind and is said to be uncontrollable like a monkey. Whereas the I (pronounced Yi) is called the Wisdom-mind and is calm, not disturbed by emotions, and is said to be powerful and trainable like a Horse. In T’ai Chi Ch’uan the Wisdom-mind or “Mind Intent” is used to begin each movement, direct the flow of Ch’i, and keep the body relaxed. If one merely “reacts” using the emotional mind the body will be in a state of confusion. The idea is to “act” appropriately based on the circumstances. This is where the sensitivity plays a paramount role in taking the appropriate action.

These concepts are not only for Martial Arts or cosmic philosophy. They manifest in one’s life as well. Master Liang T’ung Tsai said to “have a thousand friends and not one enemy”. Treat others with respect and allow them to follow their own path without interfering. Take everyone you meet as a teacher and learn something from them.

Internal Martial Arts have both a civil and martial aspect. Tradition and respect are as much a part of it as self-defense.