Tai Chi Chuan

About Shyun Style Tai Chi

Kung Fu Buffalo teaches Shyun Style Tai Chi. The full name of this ancient Chinese martial art is Tai Chi Chuan (Wade-Giles romanization, “Tajiquan” in Pinyin). In English, the correct pronunciation is usually “Tie” (as in bow tie) “Chee” (as in cheetah) “Chwan” (with a long “a” sound, as in want). It is most often translated as “Grand Ultimate System” or “Supreme Ultimate Fist.”


Tai Chi Chuan is most often referred to as an internal martial art, indicating that the emphasis is placed on strengthening the mind, circulating the Chi or vitality, and relaxing the body so that it is free to move. Beyond its martial applications, however, Tai Chi is also a complete system of physics and philosphy, best characterized by the Tai Chi symbol known to Americans as the Yin-Yang circle.

In the Tai Chi symbol, two semicircles of dark (Yin) and light (Yang) make a complete circle as they constantly merge into each other, symbolizing the spirit of “moving harmony.” This harmony of motion succinctly describes the laws of Yin and Yang which assert that in the phenomenal world (both physical and energetic) all existance is a relationship between complimentary but opposing pairs. This can be observed daily in the relationship between night/day, winter/summer, female/male, negative/positive, and countless others. In this system, Yang represents all that is expressive, productive and strength-oriented. Its opposite, Yin, is receptive, yielding and internal.


In the martial aspect of Tai Chi, the relationship between the yeilding force of Yin and the unbending force of Yang forms the core of the fighting technique. The yeilding force is used to avoid or redirect an opponent’s attack, while the unbending force is used to counterattack. This change from yeilding to unbending is acheived in the form of a circle. Therefore, the main pattern of Tai Chi Chuan is like many circles spiralling continually without end. In application, these principles lead to a force which Tai Chi master Ching Man Ching once described as “repelling 2,000 pounds with four ounces.”