I went to my first t’ai chi class at the local community center tonight, and was a little disappointed when I found out that we’ll be learning T’ai Chi Chih instead of T’ai Chi Chuan. I don’t really care, because the slower I can start out the better; and there are a handful of old folks in the class, so it makes sense that the community center would go with the lowest-impact form of t’ai chi. I figure if I like the Chih at the end of the 8 weeks, I’ll look into the Chuan. But it got me wondering.
What do T’ai Chi Chuan practitioners think of T’ai Chi Chih? I know that it is not a martial art, but is it considered “legitimate” t’ai chi, just a simpler version? Is it looked down on? It feels kind of weird to know that some white guy made it up 30 years ago, and that he is “the” word on T’ai Chi Chih.
Also, what’s the consensus on spelling “t’ai chi?” Does it get an apostrophe or not? When I Google “t’ai chi,” it says “did you mean tai chi?” But it looks funny to me without the apostrophe. And is there any rule about capitalization? I’ve been going with capitalizing the full name (i.e. “T’ai Chi Chuan”), but lowercasing just “t’ai chi.”
Whatever its reputation, I’m looking forward to the next class.