The BIG MESS of Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan

So this is a very personal comment on all the different transcriptions of 太极拳. And there are really so many of them: Taiji, Tai Chi, Taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan, T’ai Chi Ch’üan, …

big mess of Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan

I am sooooo tired of it. Because of this linguistic mess there are thousands, if not millions of websites explaining that it is “due to the transcription of Chinese characters into the Latin alphabet based on Wade-Giles or Pinyin…”. What a waste of breath, words and attention!

Why can’t we ALL agree on one transcription?!

I understand that all of us practitioners are really doing Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan … “traditionally” with a long list of ancestors back to Zhang Sanfeng. Maybe those who still cling to T’ai Chi Ch’üan are really the ones who are doing it MOST TRADITIONALLY. 😉

But wake up! Pinyin was introduced in the 1950ies and though Wade-Giles was really strong up to the 1970ies, this is the year 2016! Just how much easier life would be if could concentrate on ONE transcription.

And isn’t Taijiquan about easening your life? Your body? Your mind?

So maybe I am repeating myself, but why can’t we ALL agree on ONE transcription?

Personally I opt for Taijiquan, as that is the official Pinyin version. Just like I prefer Qi Gong and not Chi Kung. And, I would really prefer that we keep the Quan in Taijiquan. Taijiquan is a martial art and Quan means fist! Did you know, Taiji really is this:


Yes, the name of the Yin & Yang symbol is Taiji! Confusing, right?


Ok. So, now I had a chance to rant a bit about this whole Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan MESS. So frustrating.

I start remembering what I learned during the last years. What is the best thing one can do when something is hard, tiresome, frustrating or tense?


You know, in the end we ‘re ALL doing this:


Actually, whenever I do it, I don’t even need a name for it. I can just feel it. I enjoy practicing with others. I don’t ask them “how do you transcribe 太极拳” before I greet them! Because it’s not important in that very moment.

So here is what I will do in the future: I will use and accept almost every transcription. Freely. Just like that. Letting go.

If you want to fight with me over how I use Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan – please go somewhere else. There are many forums, blogs, Facebook groups… where you will find many other people you can fight with about this topic.

But if you want to join forces with me to make “however you transcribe it” more popular and getting those who already do it into PRACTICING MORE – you are so welcome here!

So what do you think? Are you in? Are you letting go of the Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan mess?

Happy Qi!


Oh, just a little fun fact and another “transcription”: I know of people who think I do Thai Ski 😉


6 thoughts on “The BIG MESS of Taiji Tai Chi Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan T’ai Chi Ch’üan

  1. David

    I think it’s important to either know the meaning of the characters or to not claim any kind of knowledge about it. For instance, people believe that “chi” in t’ai chi is the same as “Qi” (ch’i in G-W) . If you claim any knowledge as a teacher and make mistakes like this, you’ll look stupid and won’t be taken seriously by those who do have a little knowledge. So if you just let go of that mess, can you still come with a valid explanation if someone ask you about the name of the art?

  2. Angelika Fritz Post author

    Oh yes, I totally forgot to mention that there are people who say that Chi (from Tai Chi) and Qi is the same! And I agree, if one has a teacher who thinks it’s the same, you should better run!

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