The History of Taijiquan

Wu Yuxiang (1812-1880) and Yang Luchan (1799-1872).

Taijiquan is one of the most (if not the most) popular martial arts on the planet. Each style of Taijiquan has its founder practitioners, and history, but once you go back to the mid 19th century or earlier you find that not much about Taijiquan can be said with any degree of certainty.

Its history is obscured with myths, legends and blatant attempts at promotion by different groups, all with an interest in chasing the Tai Chi Dollar.

In this series of podcasts we look at what reliable sources we actually have available to us on the history of Taijiquan and view them through a lens that looks at the actual history of China, and what was going on in the tumultuous end of the Ching Dynasty.

Here are the episodes:

The myth of Tai Chi part 1.

Did Tai Chi exist before 1850? In this episode we begin a new series of episodes on this subject by setting the scene and historical background to the mythmaking around the origins of Tai Chi that occurred starting from the middle of the Nineteenth Century in response to social turmoil and unrest exemplified by the Taiping Rebellion and Opium Wars.

The myth of Tai Chi part 2. Tai Chi as a brand.

In this episode we examine the context in which the relationship between Yang Luchan, Wu Chengqing and Wu Yuxiang developed during the years of the Taiping Rebellion and the new regime of Emperor Xianfeng.