The term Tai Chi Chuan consits of two different words: 太 极Tai Chi (Tai Ji)and拳 Chuan (Quan). Taken literally Tai Chi means “hightest roof ridge” or more generally speaking “ the highest Outer”. The character拳 Quan means fist and points on the aspect of martial arts. The term Tai Ji derives from the Yi Jing ( Book of changes) one of the classics from Chinese history and philosophy. Tai Ji implicates a constructive and absolute aspect which should not be mistaken with a personalised god.
Tai Ji Quan
It still remains unclear when and by whom the term Tai Ji was taken to name this martial art. Former names for Tai Ji Quan were十三式 Shi San Shi (thirteen postures) or长拳 Chang Quan (long boxing).In naming this art Tai Ji Quan, a very essential term from the Chinese ancient philosophy as Daoism and Neo-Confucianism was taken up. Consequently all the theoretical tracts about Tai Ji Quan are based on the models and terms of these schools of thoughts.
Not only in theory, but also in its practice Daoist principles like the无为 Wu Wie can be found. This principle of „ Acting without acting” basically implies an attitude not to act against the nature of the things, but to act with them. Referring this to the practice of self defense in Tai Ji Quan it means not to answer with direct strength to an attack by your opponent, but to follow it. When training the form to release the Qi, the aspect of “letting go” is essential. In Brief: be natural.