Taijiquan is a martial art, but it is also good for our health as well. Most people practise Tajiquan for their health, but “Quan 拳” means “Fist”. Most Chinese Kung Fu styles have Fist in their name, for example Shaolin Quan 少林拳, Wing Chun Kuen 詠春拳 (Kuen is the Cantonese pronunciation), Xingyiquan 形意拳 etc.
“Quan” also means” Power” and “High level of control”, like an emperor has Quan, power over his country. For martial arts, it means we have a powerful position to fight in. So Quan is fighting skill. Fighting skill has a strong and a soft way. So Taiji has a slow and relaxed forms and also fast and powerful forms. That completes the Taiji, two opposite energies, they are different but they relate to together.
If we look at all martial arts, they are all in fact Taijiquan because all styles must have two energies – Yin and Yang.
Taijiquan is a martial art that follows natural movement and this is why it is good for our health. Of course, once we have good health, we can have good skill and then we can defend ourselves.