View Full Version : taichi from shaolin?

01-07-2005, 05:12 PM
we HAVE been down this street before but i thought
i'd start her up again in case there were any takers or any interest in the subject from general viewers;Dr. Lam,and many many others,emphatically deny any correlation between shaolin and t'ai chi but i think the signs are obvious and everywhere you look;wudang temple which represents the "soft"arts of pakua,taiji etc.was actually founded by a group of monks from the shaolin order,according to the "shaolin grandmasters text".both wudang and shaolin disavow knowledge of each other and have been compared to two brothers growing up who no longer speak to each other.
q'en pensez vous?,(watcha think?) if anything

01-07-2005, 05:50 PM
Have you ever seen "The Tai Chi Master" with Jet Li and Michelle Yeoh? Many documents have been destroyed, so there is no documentary evidence anymore. However, many facts are passed on by word of mouth and not nonsense. I have been told by my masters that Tai Chi Chuan did originate in the Shaolin temple. It is interesting to know but I feel that at least nowadays Tai Chi Chuan(Taijiquan) has become a stand alone art with all its characteristics

01-07-2005, 08:55 PM

I would say all sides have portion of truth. Taijiquan, as I know it does not come from shaolin temple. Chen style did absorb some systems (Shaolin) that may have been 'lost' around 1700's while some of the name of Chen shi taijiquan still have name of some forms that we know today. The Shaolin taijiquan is different and lacks the mechanics and training method of Chen training but it (shaolin taiji) has its own method which is distinct from all other taijiquan.

Chen shi taijiquan is in the same province (vicinity/location) and perhaps so it is fare to say 'cultural borrowing' (usage) took place over the years.

01-07-2005, 10:48 PM
thanks for great views; soraya,according to "shaolin grandmasters text" (written by shaolin priests to quote set things straight) shaolin is buddhist and taichi taoist and that they are two separate and distinct schools of development;thereby making the claim doubtful that taichi ever originated at the shaolin temple itself;taichi taught there now is apparantly some bastardized form of who knows what designed to suck in the tourist trade like everything else.(you can even get shaolin cola outside!) if you look at yang style,"white crane cools wings","fist under elbow" "snake creeping down" etc...... that's all shaolin.
Luchan was purported to be a shaolin disciple so there's a connection right there.
i think stanton's right.(as usual),they DID borrow from each other

01-08-2005, 09:24 AM
I don't know how true it is, but I was told the Shaolin Monks used a form of Tai Chi as warm ups. I like this image.

From watching the movies and doccumentaries, I can see similarities in the movements, but there has been nothing to say one is related to the other in any way. I had always assumed because of the similarities they were related.

01-08-2005, 09:35 AM
P.S. according to the "text"(which i've quoted here ad nauseum,sorry),it is easier to find a shaolin master in the US AUS or Canada than it is in China as the last of shaolin priests are supposed to have immigrated China to the US in the late 1930's; so they are among us but as to be expected,very secretive and self effacing so good luck finding one;if you have happened
upon this site but are desperately seeking shaolin (not susan),there is one in NYC.website too www.shaolintemple.org also walum temple in maimi fla
good luck

01-08-2005, 09:51 AM

Taijiquan is not necessarily Daoist but it does used the philosophy to describe many of its principles. On the other hands, the Buddhist terminology in Chen style, e.g.present 'Buddha's Warrior attendant pounding fist", 4 warrior attendants, etc all show there is a liberal borrowing of shaolin/buddhist phrasing. Plus, Daoist implies (usually) native influence whilst Buddhist as foreign-a generalist view, of course, not to be taken as absolute.

01-08-2005, 10:32 PM
not exclusively but i think it's safe to say one could categorize taijiquan as emulating more of a taoist than buddhist path;the shaolin buddhists of today perceive the internal arts as being taoist and let's just say that i understand that perception;how could you not when the tao itself
laozu,the i-ching,alchemy,(which the buddhists never practiced) etc.all provide the foundation for the philosophy and physical makeup of tjqn;

Marc Heyvaert
01-09-2005, 12:41 AM
The origin of TJQ seems to be lost in time.

What happens today is not a good point of reference. Shaolin is not shaolin anymore. The TJQ that is supposed to be Wudang is some version of the modern Yang style. But you can study at all these places...the teachers may even have some traditional clothing, but what does it prove?

The books of Douglas Wile are probably the best starting point for someone who wants to know more about the history of TJQ. On the internet there are a couple of good texts. I like:


and all of Peter Lim's pages



01-09-2005, 07:42 AM
well...i'm sorry to differ with you but shaolin is still shaolin and practiced
as such by a relatively small organization of chan buddhist priests throughout the world;the one place shaolin is no longer practiced however is at the shaolin temple!! you're right of course,the origins of tjq are mysterious
but there are many tangible influences;if you look closely at taiji,shaolin is undeniably there

01-09-2005, 12:51 PM
Looking at this from a different angle, it seems to be a common in old china that a person would test his skills and style by challenging others. It also seems common that there was often exchange of information, usual the loser learning from the winner, but I am sure that knowledge went both ways. What is the likelihood that early or pre-Tai Chi and Shaolin never meet in a challenge. Unfortunately so much history was lost over time.

01-09-2005, 03:32 PM
thanks,nice to have another angle;of course i have a theory about this too,(as usual);my theory goes like this;t'ai chi chuan was developed by shaolin priests,(who left the order
to start wudang temple,a rival taoist organization,if you like);tjq was in turn developed by the wudang taoists as self defence specifically designed to protect you from someone trained in shaolin fighting styles;AND
if you really want get over the top,that t'ai chi chuan had applications designed to counter specific moves from each of the shaolin styles;crane,tiger,snake,leopard,pak mei,etc.
it was not in the shaolin buddhists nature to challenge but if he had challenged an internal artist he was going to get one hell of a surprise!

01-09-2005, 09:26 PM
I think my teacher meant the cultural borrowings mentioned by Stanton, which I didn't verbalise well enough. We think that it is not developed within the walls of the shaolin temple but that a few shaolin priests started the early roots and relationships between the arts are obvious

01-12-2005, 03:07 AM
Trying to put them togethor or seperate them is quite impossible, whilst shaolin and taiji are very much different today they both developed from the same fighting traditions and source, which is very much lost in history but the shaui jiao guys are pretty close to hoding the trump card as close to the oldest but many things from environment, weather, cultural and spiritual/religious influences helped shape both styled into what they are today. taiji wasn't even known by that name until the arty farty civil servants in beijing who were first taught by Yang Luchan and his sons put a name to it, Yang Luchan actually learned Chen style kungfu when he was at chen village, but the question is what influence shaolin quan had on the early Chen boxing style. Who knows? And frankly whos cares. my advice is ecery time you ask this question go do Ba Dua Jin once shaolin style once internal and realise they are different, both are just superb martial arts/training systems and deserve to survive as great traditions.
The modern temples and both Shaolin and Wudang are just tourist traps and we should be more interested in getting behind good teachers of either tradition (like our kind host Dr Lam) and practicing to keep the true fighting heart of these dying arts.
Just my 2 cents.

01-12-2005, 06:08 PM

We have been down this road quite often and we do realize that the quality is within the beholder and a good teacher of each art. The thread is just curiosity and not as important as it seems to be. Again I am behind my mother that the Chinese arts share more in common, external and internal, than meets the eye. However, one needs to understand the underlying concepts and essential principles to see more similarities than differences. In our experience we have been taught more sitting and static qi gong in external martial arts than Tai Chi Chuan. Probably our teachers thought they needed to balance the fighting spirit and use of brute strength with deep meditation and relaxing qi gong.

Shuaijao techniques are obvious in Chen 36"withdraw knee" and Yang"grasping sparrows tail".
What is external and internal? WE heard many theories. One theory stated that external meant more the Indian influence into Chinese martial arts. Others state that in external arts it is predominantly the muscle which drives the qi, in internal arts it is predominantly the intention(yi). Through the contacts of our GM, we were able to visit the more private and internal sphere of Saholin and Wu Dang.

Since it cannot be proven by history anymore, there are absolute links in applications. So it is more than possible than at least there is a relationship between the 2. Well, nowadays pay 5$ for a photo of you fighting with a monk, 10$ for a Wu Dang Hamburger(joke)

01-12-2005, 10:24 PM
$10..?? they've gone up.
i'll take mine medium rare,
(soft on the inside)
yes,the topic of this thread was not intended as a deep pondering issue that could forever impact the martial arts world but rather an invitation to explore some different opinions in hopes that everyones varied backgrounds might provide us with a learning experience.i think it has accomplished it's mission.
btw wing chun,which soraya
(and daughter?) practice, is a shaolin art,concieved by a woman shaolin priest.
(betcha $10 some of ya didn't know that.but i will request that you kindly leave a discussion of wing chun for another thread)
thank you

01-13-2005, 05:06 AM
sorry still a newbie here and prob went all (sheyland pony) high horse for a sec. whoops.
well shark if you don't want a wing chun thread how about one on how did either general kwan or yue fei had any time to go to war whilst they were inventing so many different kung fu systems, never mind eat, sleep or wash?????? ;) ;) ;)

01-13-2005, 07:53 AM
s'ok harve;i appreciated your 2 bicks;welcome to the forum,where you are now an initiate,(whether you like it or not)
general kwan? my historical knowledge doesn't go quite that deep,although i know he invented that strange looking butter knife;(used by foot soldiers to slice off the legs of the cavalry's horses) ouch.

01-13-2005, 09:15 PM
a better extension of the topic may be general qi ji guang,who was credited with all those fight illustrations;(info on him is hard to come by tho and i'm speaking not of his bios but his training manuals and literary works)

01-14-2005, 05:12 AM
yeah, but then again much like kung fu tse and the yellow emperor he may be an almalgum of various people around at that period or maybe not i don't know.
and mentioning manuals don't you just hate it when they replace the original drawings with photos of some kung fu wannabe who can't even reproduce a bad external version of what the writing explains. oh i just hate that :mad: :mad: :mad: