Thursday, May 24, 2007

T'ai Chi, Tai Chi, T'ai-chi, or Taiji?

How to spell out 太極拳 in English is always a puzzle. The common spelling is "t'ai chi ch'uan" (with allowances for spelling errors, it becomes tai chi chuan, or even taichichuan). "Taijiquan" is the spelling that is now used in the Mainland Chinese system (pinyin). All of these are pronounced the same: "tie-gee-chwan."
"T'ai chi" means "supreme ultimate" referring to the dynamic of yin and yang. "Ch'uan" (quan) means "boxing."

The name "Great River T'ai Chi Ch'uan" is drawn from the phrase in the T'ai Chi Ch'uan Classics "Be still like a mountain, move like a great river." In the original context, the phrase most likely referred to the Yellow River in China. In our case, it refers to the great Mississippi River, which traverses the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota, where we are located, as it wends its way southward on its long journey to the Gulf of Mexico.