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太極拳 is the famous Taoist meditation and martial art exercise. The direct translation of these characters would be something like "grand ultimate fist" but that does not quite hit the mark for what this title really means.
An early-morning walk through any city in China near a park or open area will yield a view of Chinese people practicing this ancient technique.
The typical scene is an old man of no less than 80 years on this earth, with a wispy white beard and perhaps a sword in one hand. He makes slow moves that are impossibly smooth. He is steady-footed, and always in balance. For him, time is meaningless and proper form and technique is far more important than speed.
For the younger generation, faster moves may look impressive and seem smooth to the casual observer. But far more discipline and mental strength is needed to create perfectly smooth moves in virtual slow motion.
Note: There are two ways to Romanize these Chinese characters as seen in the title above. The pronunciation and actual characters are the same in Chinese. If you really used English sounds/words to pronounce this, it would be something like "tie jee chew-on" (just make the "chew-on" as one flowing syllable).
太極 is the shortened title for Tai Chi Chuan or Tai Ji Quan that as sometimes used in Western countries. Basically just removing the last character which means fist. I don't recommend this two-character selection because it's not really a word without the third character in Japanese and Chinese.
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The following table may be helpful for those studying Chinese or Japanese...
|Title||Characters||Romaji(Romanized Japanese)||Various forms of Romanized Chinese|
|Tai Chi Chuan|
Tai Ji Quan
|tai kyoku ken|
|tài jí quán|
tai4 ji2 quan2
tai ji quan
|t`ai chi ch`üan
tai chi chüan
|taikyoku||tài jí / tai4 ji2 / tai ji / taiji||t`ai chi / taichi / tai chi|
|Tai Chi Chuan Dao|
Tai Ji Quan Dao
|tài jí quán dào|
tai4 ji2 quan2 dao4
tai ji quan dao
|t`ai chi ch`üan tao
tai chi chüan tao
|In some entries above you will see that characters have different versions above and below a line.|
In these cases, the characters above the line are Traditional Chinese, while the ones below are Simplified Chinese.
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Instead of drawing characters by hand, the new generation in China merely type roman letters into their computer keyboards and pick the character that they want from a list that pops up.
There is some fear that true Chinese calligraphy may become a lost art in the coming years. Many art institutes in China are now promoting calligraphy programs in hopes of keeping this unique form of art alive.
Some people may refer to this entry as Tai Chi Tai Ji Kanji, Tai Chi Tai Ji Characters, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Mandarin Chinese, Tai Chi Tai Ji Characters, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Chinese Writing, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Japanese Writing, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Asian Writing, Tai Chi Tai Ji Ideograms, Chinese Tai Chi Tai Ji symbols, Tai Chi Tai Ji Hieroglyphics, Tai Chi Tai Ji Glyphs, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Chinese Letters, Tai Chi Tai Ji Hanzi, Tai Chi Tai Ji in Japanese Kanji, Tai Chi Tai Ji Pictograms, Tai Chi Tai Ji in the Chinese Written-Language, or Tai Chi Tai Ji in the Japanese Written-Language.