Is it ok to take Tia Chi classes?

Does anyone know the answer or where i can go to find out?

Hi CindyLou,

I started a thread about martial arts basically asking the same question as you, so I think I know where you are coming from.

I have only very slight contact with Tia Chi so this may not be much help. I know there are several different approaches to Tia Chi, but it is a Chinese “soft” martial art that has its philosophy from Tao Te Ching, and I Ching. Tia Chi (from what I know of it) stresses chi which is the Chinese notion of internal energy, similar in what we mean by spirit. The idea is that chi flows through the body and can become “blocked”. Tia Chi seeks to overcome “blocked” chi and normalize the “flow” of chi.

From what I’ve read about Tia Chi it does incorporate alot of eastern mysticism-which is basically what the New Age movement is about, a repackaged and Americanized version of eastern mysticism. Personally speaking I would stay away from it. My mom tried it for around 6 months but left because as she went farther into it she felt it was teaching things contrary to the faith.

Fr Mitch Pacwa has a great series on the New Age movement that you can listen to on the EWTN website. He shows how it relates back to eastern mysticism and talks about alot of these concepts that I mentioned above.

I hope this may be of some help to you and my prayers go with you.

[quote=CindyLou]Does anyone know the answer or where i can go to find out?


I took Shotokan Karate for about five years until an injury (and my age) made me think I should stop. My experience in the martial arts is somewhat applicable. In the differing traditions and instructors there is a wide variety of emphasis. For example in Shotokan Karate, in the Federation my school belonged to, in the same metro area there are two schools. One school emphasized Chi ( Ccav’s explanation is adequate), my school never mentioned it. I know all these “Martial Arts” project themselvses as if they are some kind of uniformally taught materials - they are not. Face it, the Catholic Church has a highly developed catechism, but it is not taught uniformally. Most Tai Chi today is taught in exercise class format not a martial art.

Bottom line, talk to the instructor, find out what she/he believes, how they teach, what they emphasize. I have read several books on Tai Chi, I have found some of the meditation *techniques *of value. You can also use your beliefs as a substitute for any instructors instructions. I meditate upon the presence of the Holy Spirit instead of Chi. This Catholic Church is open minded enough to sieve through ideas, take what is good and helpful, that which brings you closer to the Lord Jesus Christ, the rest is useless. I guess it also depends on how impressionable you are. If some one tells you gotta move your Chi, are you going to believe you got Chi to move?

Also, if you do a google search you will get more info then you want.

God bless,


I agree with Nod. I’ve studied kung fu and tai chi, and my instructors mentioned the spiritual part more for historic focus then any kind of enlightenment. I have known people who took from different masters, though, and there was more emphasys placed on it. It all depends on the way it is taught.

Johnette Bankovich (I killed the spelling) of EWTN has had a guest appear on her show who used to be a reiki master and reverted or converted to Catholicism. The guest’s name is Clare Merkle. I believe her website is

She said, if I recall correctly, that “chi” energy is known as “the life source.” That cannot be reconciled to Catholic teaching, as our “Life Source” is God.

Pax Christi. <><

Dear Cindy,
I am a Catholic and I practise Tai Chi. Have checked with the church auhority. There is nothing wrong doing the exercising part. The chi that they are talking about comes only after you have been on it for quite some time. Some, not learning it correctly, are never ever get the chi flow properly after decades. Chi for tai chi is nothing more than getting your circulations; blood, lymphatic and nervous, in order. When our chi flows properly and smoothly as God originally created us, we have good health. Of course it can also be used for self defence.
God bless you.

I don’t know what exactly Tia Chi is, but from what I take (and as assumed) it’s another one of those ancient spiritual/mental/physical training methods.

I don’t know much about it, but I do know that the Church is usually against them. If you are partaking purely for the physical aspect of it, ie the health involved in learning to use your physical functions in clever ways etc, then I see no harm in it, but I’d still say be careful, since all the aspects of such excersizes are usually interrelated and it’s easy to fall into the unknown habit of incorporating the spiritual side of it also. Beware of that!

I’ve heard many devout priests state that things such as Yoga are not for Catholics. They offer something which Jesus does; a spiritual and mental guidance, a gateway to your “inner self”, and a set of moral guidelines on your physical and mental training. Only Jesus is able to grant that, and we should only rely on him.

Tia Chi and Chi Gong involve "putative " energy.
Putative involves therapies that concentrate on the concept that human beings have an energy. This energy is believed to flow through the body, but there hasn’t really been scientific backing meaning the energy hasn’t been able to be measured by conventional means. Many that use this practice believe that when people become sick, diseased, have health complications, or have pain, it’s because their energy has been disturbed or blocked. Thus Putative uses therapies to help the energy to continue flowing.

So this is in the realm of (CAM) Complementary Alternative Medicine or (TCM)Traditional Chinese medicine.

I just know that when I do these simple exercises I feel better in body, mind and spirit.

The ‘Chi’ in Tai Chi does not refer to ‘Qi’ the energy force believed in Taoism. Chi (or Ji) means best, supreme or ultimate.

Qi can be incorporated in Tai Chi but can also be completely left out.

No problem.

Taijiquan, also known as Tai Chi, isn’t such if the qi element is left out. It would just be dancing.

To the OP, I would encourage you to look at the other threads on this topic and to also read the Pontifical Council for Culture’s letter entitled “Jesus Christ The Bearer of the Water of Life”.

Not just dancing (although what’s up with dancing?); breathing exercises, self defence, awareness techniques, exercise and even weapons training.

Did you even read what I wrote?

I said without the qi element, it’s dancing. With the qi element, yes, it’s a sophisticated martial fighting system. Some say it’s the best–Wang Pei Shang certainly proved it was to be reckoned with in his day.

Johnette Bankovich doesn’t know what she’s talking about on this issue, and I’ve seen her articles on other issues which I won’t get in to now, but I wouldn’t refer to her for expertise on the issue.


I did Yang Style Tai Chi years ago and only stopped when I ran out of room in my house, after remodeling.

I also prefer Yoga over Tai Chi, from a physical health stand point.

There is nothing harmful in doing Tai Chi,


Sorry, but Johnette Benkovic has valid points and so does the letter from the Pontifical Council for Culture.

I’ve taught practiced, taught, competed in, and lived the taiji culture, here in the US and for several years in China. I speak, read, and write Chinese, have studied with some of the best taiji teachers here and abroad. I’ve also seen just how far down the rabbit hole it can take you. I am speaking from an educated experience that taiji ultimately leads down the wrong path.

Were you a Christian at the time?

Personally, I found that there was a lot a BS in Tai Chi proponents.

It’s a lousy form of self-defense.


Yes, I was a Catholic at the outset of my practice, then I left the Church. Taiji and Chinese martial arts became my life. I went back to school, earned a degree in Chinese, and lived and worked in China. Taiji became an idol and is really, if taken to its full intention, is meant to bring you into a spiritual realm. I’d refer you to Chen Xiaowang’s Five Levels of Taijiquan. At base level, its practice seems like a normal martial arts practice, but its use of qi is rooted in Eastern philosophy and religion.

When I came back to the Church, taijiquan was one of the first issues that I had to reconcile with my faith. Upon much reflection, consultation with clergy as well as taijiquan adherents that I trusted, I could not reconcile practicing it and left altogether. It wasn’t an easy decision. I put my heart into that art and ate, breathed, and slept it. But, compared with the Faith, it didn’t hold a candle and I’m much happier now.

Oops. Sorry, I didn’t see the other parts of your comments.

Taiji is actually a very complex art. People looking for a quick fix for self-defense won’t like it because it takes time to really develop the techniques, but once you have it down, it’s a lethal system. I have studied other systems of fighting, including a family system of arnis and worked within the security industry. Taiji utilizes qin na (seizing and grabbing techniques) extensively, has an entire array of weapons, and teaches two person fighting (san shou).


Tai Chi, is useless as a means of self-defense and I’ve met so-called masters.

Yeah, they say it takes years and years to master, however the real secret to Tai Chi is that by the time you’re a master, an opponent doesn’t think a old person can have any means of self-defense. so it’s the element of surprise that works, not anything else.

When I see a Tai Chi champion in the Ultimate Fight series, or police or military teaching tai chi as a means of self-defense, I’ll come back and retract my statement. :cool:


OK, well then let me add that I’m a licensed bodyguard and have worked in executive protection for a living. Like I said, I was fully invested in this. I guess that’s why it’s something I’ll keep harping on. I spent much time reflecting on it and gave up a lot when I renounced it. I’d give it all up over and over again though for my Faith.

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