Where’s the passion in Taijiquan (Tai Chi)?

As you know, I like to blog. About Taijiquan (aka Tai Chi Chuan). Those are both my passions. But what exactly does it mean to be passionate?


When I think about passion, I imagine something like this (fast-forward to 0:30):

I mean everyone gets that Flamenco is passion, right? And then I look at Taijiquan:

And I wonder: where’s the passion in Taijiquan?

Obviously it takes a lot of persistence, discipline, and good teachers to reach a high level in both flamenco and Taijiquan. And I really like flamenco and respect the art. But it’s quite easy with dramatic music, tight pants and that fierce look in the eyes to impress and to show the passion!

But with Taijiquan? I mean, look at all those old folks moving slowly in the park wearing (silken) pajamas. Impressive? Passionate? Not quite so.

I think there is another word beginning with P-A that describes Taijiquan much better:


The passion for Taijiquan shows in the patience.

And that’s just much harder to see from the outside. When you look at a Taijiquan master, you don’t see all those long hours fiddling with just the right way to Grasp a Bird’s Tail. You just see those calm relaxed movements. You see the result of years of patience.

So what if you are intrigued with Taijiquan and you are not sure if you have that patience?

The good news is: you don’t need to be patient to start practicing. Taijiquan will teach you to be patient.

You just need a little spark, that little nagging feeling that Taijiquan might be something for you. Follow that spark.

I followed that spark. After 12 years at the ballet I could have easily got into flamenco. But there was something about that slow moving Chinese martial art that I wanted to feel myself. And soon I was all in.

I am definitely no way near being a master. I still fiddle a lot with all the different moves. And some people ask me: can it really be fun to move and evolve so slowly?

Hell yes, I have a lot of fun on my way. Not fun as in “bungee-jumping-in-Las-Vegas-fun”, but my own definition of fun. Moving slowly is fun. Learning patience is fun (sometimes). Discovering the benefits of Taijiquan is full of joy.

So I really recommend: if you feel just the tiniest interest for Taijiquan, go for it! Try it!

Happy Qi!


If you happen to live in Germany, here you can find my recommended teachers for Taijiquan & Qi Gong in München!

8 thoughts on “Where’s the passion in Taijiquan (Tai Chi)?

  1. Gabrielle

    Great short article. Thanks for engaging in this conversation. Passion of precision is so much fun.

  2. Pingback: Debunking a Taijiquan myth: do you need to be patient to learn Taijiquan?

  3. Jean Ford

    Good thoughts Angelika!
    My old instructor always says to his students, “There are 3 P’s in Tai Chi. Practice, practice and practice!” I have changed this a little for my class and say, ” Practice, patience and perseverance!”

    I think the passion starts with the small achievements – learning a few postures, putting them together, and then another, and another, and, like in music, before long you have a small phrase. Once you gain a little confidence and begin to relax then the real enjoyment begins and benefits appreciated.

    One of our students, who is only a little lady, says, ” I always feel a few inches taller when I walk out of the Tai Chi class. Another lady, a 92-yr old, comes to U3A Tai Chi every week on the bus because it make her feel so much better afterwards.

  4. Jean Ford

    Haha! I like your 5 P’s.

    Another of the elderly U3A ladies says, ” We may not be doing it right but we love coming and all the doctors I speak to are very impressed.”

    That’s the spirit!

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