Yin & Yang can be described as two complementary but opposing forces of nature that cannot exist without each other. Of the two fish like shapes depicted in the symbol, Yin is black and Yang white. Within each of the fish, the small dot or ‘eye’ illustrates that a small component of its opposite always exists within itself. Hence something can never be completely Yin or Yang. Some more obvious examples of Yin & Yang would be: female & male; winter & summer; night & day and hard & soft.

From a simplistic point of view we can break down the practice of Tai Chi Chuan into both soft (Yin) and hard (Yang) exercises. The soft movements of the Hand Form have easily become the most popular and recognisable aspect of the art.

About Tai Chi

Wudang Tai Chi Chuan

(South London)

Change is Everything!

Tai Chi is a system of training that has become singularly famous for its slow, soft, choreographed movements referred to as the ‘hand form’. Typically, this hand form is practiced outside in the early morning, its daily regime helping to calm the mind and energise the body. However this popular exercise is just one aspect of a larger martial art syllabus that includes a whole range of therapeutic and meditative practices.


Originating from China, Tai Chi Chuan has developed from Taoist philosophy, traditional fitness exercises and a long martial heritage. The term Tai Chi is actually an abbreviation; the correct name for the art is ‘Tai Chi Chuan’.


Tai Chi refers to the mainly Taoist concept of Yin & Yang, where as Chuan can be translated as fist or boxing in this context. Therefore we could interpret Tai Chi Chuan as Yin & Yang Boxing, where an understanding of Yin & Yang theory is key to how the art is performed.


The philosophy of Tai Chi refers to the duality of the world in which we live, where everything that exists is undergoing change, while at the same time the balance of Yin & Yang is still maintained. This concept of Yin & Yang relates to the interaction of all known things, both living and non-living. A graphical representation of Tai Chi is seen in the following symbol, often referred to by Westerners as the Yin Yang symbol:

Ba Gua Symbol


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