Taiji: Good exercise during COVID-19

Yifan Chen, Meichen Chen, Liwen Fu and Hui Wang

Taiji is an ancient Daoist philosophical term symbolizing the interaction of yin and yang, which are opposite manifestations of the same forces in nature. The dynamic interaction of yin and yang, underlying the relation and changing nature of all things, is epitomized in the famous “Taiji Diagram.”



Taiji is one types of Wushu rooted in the Daoist concepts of the interplay and necessary balance of yin and yang.

Some traditional schools claim that Taiji has a practical connection to the theories of the Song dynasty Neo-Confucianism (a conscious synthesis of Taoist, Buddhist, and Confucian traditions). These schools believe that Taiji ‘s theories and practices were formulated by the Taoist monk Sanfeng Zhang in the 12th century (Wile and Douglas, 2007).

Taiji appears to have received this appellation from only around the mid of the 19th century (Hennning,1994). History records that Luchan Yang, the founder of Yang’s Taiji, trained with the Chen family for 18 years before he started to

teach the art in Beijing, which strongly suggests that his art was based on, or heavily influenced by, the Chen family art. The Chen family can trace the development of their Taiji back to Chen Wangting in the 17th century. At that time, Taiji had already developed.


Photo from Dr. Jing Liu

Many studies report improvements in quality of life, flexibility, strength, cardiovascular function, pain, balance, and kinesthesia after learning Taiji. According to the data, Taiji is mostly performed in the form of semi-squatting, so it can improve the stability of lower limbs and delay aging. In addition, Taiji combines breathing with the body to effectively improve respiratory function. Furthermore, Taiji is a lifestyle practice, regular practice can improve immunity.


Photo from Dr. Jing Liu

With the growing number of people remain quarantined at home, we should take exercise choosing at a rather restricted environment into consideration with an attempt to stay active and be healthy. Taiji presents its unique values in such a special period and should be introduced to the whole world. As above, we know that Taiji is not just a kind of Wushu, but way more than that.

On the one hand, Taiji is a low-cost and easily implemented exercise without facilities, which makes it easy to persist in the quarantine state. And its medical value presents in various aspects, such as memory, digestion, balance, flexibility and so on.

On the other hand, people around the world are going through a tough spell and what happened around might make you feel stressed or restricted than before. The slow movement and concentration of Taiji will guide you to find your peaceful inner heart. It is exactly the right time to do Taiji!

Here is an action demonstration of Taiji. The character in the video is Dr. Jing Liu, an associate professor from Department of Wushu and Arts, Nanjing Sport Institute, China.


Henning, Stanley (1994). “Ignorance, Legend and Taijiquan”. Journal of the Chen Style Taijiquan Research Association of Hawaii. 2 (3). Archived from the original on 2010-01-01. Retrieved 2009-11-23.

Lin, Z., 2016. On Chinese Tai Chi Culture: Contemporary Values and International Communication. Asian Social Science 12, p273.

Wile, Douglas (2007). “Taijiquan and Taoism from Religion to Martial Art and Martial Art to Religion”. Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Via Media Publishing. 16 (4). ISSN 1057-8358.

Yang, Y., & Grubisich, S. A. (2005). Taijiquan: The art of nurturing, the science of power. Zhenwu Publications.

Yang, Y., Verkuilen, J., Rosengren, K. S., Mariani, R. A., Reed, M., Grubisich, S. A., & Woods, J. A. (2007). Effects of a Taiji and Qigong intervention on the antibody response to influenza vaccine in older adults. The American journal of Chinese medicine, 35(04), 597-607.

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