I posted a while ago on this forum and never really got a response. Hoping I can approach this topic again and get some answers as I have long struggled with this issue.
Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is based on the Yijing and the Bagua. It is a part of traditional Chinese culture and does draw influence (not all things traditionally Chinese do, but many have roots here) from these sources. Practioners who say that the art is not derived from these have not delved deeply enough into the philosophical or historical components of the art.
My question is this, is it possible to divorce the components of qi from the Taoist philosophies associated with them? Acupuncture is a TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) practice that involves needle insertion to remove blockages of qi (also known as chi, ch’i) and promote better flow of it through the body. Taijiquan (although a martial art primarily) has this aspect of health preservation and restoration as a side benefit of practice. If it is wrong to practice taijiquan because it involves qi and manipulation of qi energy, then acupuncture would also be implicitly guilty of the same.
I’ll also say that I have studied taijiquan for 13+ years, speak Chinese, and have lived and trained in China for an extended period of time. I also believe in my Catholic faith and have struggled for a long time (even going so far as to stop practicing martial arts for 6 years) to reconcile martial art practice with the faith. I would like to be able to practice some form of self defense that is acceptable within the Faith.
For people who say that you can just practice another martial art, this is not correct. Filipino martial arts (which I also study) at the higher levels involve the use of anting-antings, amulets which are worn to provide protection over the practitioner. Other arts involve ki (the Japanese translation of qi), and utilizing energy for executing techniques with increased power and lethality. Most of the martial arts (probably all, with the exception of kalariput in India) find their origin in Chinese arts. Although systems of boxing were in place prior to Bodidharma’s entrance at Shaolin Temple, the predominant number of arts derived from this art. The art contains yogic postures, pranayama breathing exercises, and combines these tenets with rhythmic dancelike movements called the Daoyin.
Dialogue and advice would be most appreciated. Have a blessed Holy Week and Easter!