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90Life Research  2019, Vol. 2 Issue (1): 31-44    DOI: 10.12032/life2019-0125-007
Taijiquan's Enigma
C.P. Ong*()
11420 Beall Mountain RdPotomac, MD, 20854, USA.
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Taijiquan is a martial art of the highest order is culturally etched in the Chinese heritage and entrenched in wushu pulp fiction and kungfu movies. Therein lies the enigma. The gentle slow-motion practice cannot be more remote from the speed and power of combat. And adding to the mystique is the proposition that Taijiquan's kungfu prowess is not drawn from the physical strength of the musculature but from some "inner strength" or Neijin. This sacred belief was desecrated when a fighter thrashed a self-proclaimed Taijiquan grandmaster ignominiously in 10 seconds in an open match. Taijiquan was then derided as a bogus combat art. The incident shakes the foundation of Taijiquan and puts into questions many of its touted claims, which challenges the scientific quest of the art. The paper confronts the issue directly by studying the manifestation of Neijin in the framework of science to provide a scientific basis for the art. It transcribes the yin-yang metaphysics that regulates Taijiquan training in terms of the alignment of muscle actions to balance and to unify momentum, which develops the core strength of Neijin and the underlying life-force Qi energy. From this flows the kungfu marvels, which lie in the liveliness and agility of Neijin's response and in the force ensuing that is of the right vector values, all essential in the fluidity of combat application. The martial aspect of Taijiquan provides a concrete representation of Neijin, which gives an experiential insight into the multifaceted concept of Qi, and in turn a pathway to the exploration of Qi in physiology and thus in Qi energy medicine.

Key wordsTaijiquan      traditional Chinese medicine      Qi      Neijin     
Received: 05 January 2019      Published: 20 January 2019
Corresponding Authors: Ong C.P.     E-mail:
Cite this article:

C.P. Ong. Taijiquan's Enigma. 90Life Research, 2019, 2(1): 31-44.


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 Grandmaster Xiaowang Chen inspiring students in a U.S. Workshop.
 The author in a push-hand and qinna (joint-lock capturing) play with Grandmaster Tiancai Zhu.
 Grandmaster Zhenglei Chen in the Taming Tiger Posture at the scenic Zion National Park, Utah, USA.
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