a name that can be named is not the constant name

It is interesting to see how hypertext has gone from being a grand possibility to a never-finished chore. --Ted Nelson

[the tao/dao that can be told . . .] [tai chi] [book of change] [book of sand] [end of the internet]

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Taoist Tai Chi

We offer classes through the Senior Center, 28 S Linn St., Iowa City
New beginner classes start in January, April, July and October.
Senior Center Classes
Day Time Class Level
Monday 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Beginner
Monday 3:15 p.m. Set Practice
Tuesday 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Set Practice
Wednesday 2 p.m. - 3:30 p.m. Beginner
Wednesday 3:15 p.m. Set Practice


       Aims & Objectives

These aims and objectives constitute the international mission statement of the Society. They were set by Master Moy Lin-shin and are shared by all branches of the Society, making us a truly international Society.

These goals, combined with the accreditation procedures for our volunteer instructors, assure that all obtain the same quality of instruction and dedicated leadership.

1. To make Taoist Tai Chi™ internal arts of health available to all
We are dedicated to bringing these arts to every community, so that their many benefits are available to all who wish to experience them.

2. To promote the health-improving qualities of Taoist Tai Chi™ internal arts
Practiced diligently, these arts cultivate both body and mind to restore and maintain good health. Our efforts are directed at making these benefits better known and understood, in order to promote physical, mental, and spiritual well-being in the community.

3. To promote cultural exchange
Through Taoist Tai Chi™ internal arts of health, and through other activities, we endeavour to make the richness of Chinese culture more accessible, and thereby promote greater understanding and respect among people.

4. To help others
The foundation of Taoist Tai Chi Society™ arts of health is compassion. Our underlying charitable orientation is in keeping with the Taoist values of selflessness and service to others. Our inspiration is the example set by our founder, Master Moy Lin-shin, who dedicated his life to helping others without seeking personal gain. For this reason, all our instructors are volunteers, and all our branches operate on a non-profit basis. We also perform other services within the community, and assist other charities whenever possible.



One style which stands alone is called “Taoist Tai Chi” invented by the late Moy Lin Shin (Lin Shin Moy) of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. This style is not generally recognised as an authentic style of Tai Chi, but it is notable due to its popularity in many non-Chinese countries.

Moy may have learned Tai Chi in Hong Kong before emigrating to Canada in the late 1960’s. But there is no source for this information aside from his own unverifiable claims.

He is believed to have briefly studied Yang Style Tai Chi in Vancouver between 1969 and 1970 before moving to Toronto and developing his own style. Over the next several years he modified the style with an emphasis on stretching, twisting and deep knee bends, ignoring most elements and principles of traditional taijiquan. He also taught a version of Liu He Ba Fa (Lok Hup Pa Fa) which has the same peculiar style of movement as “Taoist Tai Chi.”

He claimed to have learned from the Ching Wu society. But he was the only original source for these claims (which have never been independently verified.) The routines he taught have very little similarity to the routines passed down from the Ching Wu Society.

Early video footage of Moy performing Tai Chi in Toronto in the early 1970s shows movement similar to novice students of traditional Yang Style. He is known to have briefly taken classes with the highly respected master, Raymond Y.M. Chung of Vancouver, before moving to Toronto.

When Moy moved to Toronto he created a Fung Loy Kok Taoist Temple, and later founded the Taoist Tai Chi Society of Canada. The ties between the Society and the Temple have always been very strong, and one may have funded the other.

Unlike the other schools of Tai Chi, Taoist Tai Chi Society students have often been discouraged from researching other styles, or interacting with other schools. The Taoist Tai Chi Society also has one of the highest attrition rate of any school. Reports from former Taoist Tai Chi instructors are that more than 90% of the students quitting within the first year. Former instructors of the Taoist Tai Chi society say that this attrition rate did not concern the founder.

The claims that Moy was a master, or that he “put the tai chi back in tai chi chuan” have caused a lot of eye-rolling among the wider tai chi community, as has the remarkably short time required to become an instructor, and the cult-like attitude found in the organisation. But the heavy marketing done to promote the Taoist Tai Chi society did a great deal to introduce thousands to tai chi. Many of the people who once learned “Taoist Tai Chi”, including this author, have since gone on to study traditional Tai Chi.

In spite of the many criticisms of the style by traditional teachers, many people claim to have benefited from the practice of Taoist Tai Chi. One reason for this may be the style’s emphasis on stretching and twisting. While some traditional tai chi masters may deride the “Taoist Tai Chi” routine, calling it “20 minutes of choreographed yawning,” this very same quality may improve the circulation of blood and lymph, as well as provide a beneficial myo-fascia release which could produce many positive health benefits. People with allergies, arthritis, and other illnesses affected by the accumulation of antigens in the body may get relief from their symptoms due to the improved toxicity levels and nutrient circulation.

These benefits are also found in traditional routines, but with less extreme stretching. It is the degree of stretching, twisting and leaning that concerns traditional teachers, Some point out that, unlike traditional routines, the “Taoist Tai Chi” routines get the stretch by moving through improper ranges that can aggravate back, knee, neck, and shoulder problems. It is not difficult to find traditional instructors who claim to have experience correcting the problems encountered by former students of the “Taoist Tai Chi Society”

Whatever the case, the Taoist Tai Chi Society has many fans and devotees, and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon. Most traditional teachers are accepting of this fact, pointing out that, while there may be some negative side effects to practising some exercises, these side effects are often far less severe than the side effects of widely accept drug treatments.
Also, it is understood that no school is right for every student, and no student is right for every school.

As a great physiotherapist once said, “There are no bad exercises. There are just some exercises that are not appropriate for some people.” Ultimately, it is the student who must decide.



In February 2007, the Powers That Be of the Taoist Tai Chi Society stumbled across an early version of this page that did not work properly. They became upset with the frivolous nicknames I have given to some of the moves. (If you're into TTC, can you recognize "Rush Hour Pizzeria"?) The moment I learned the page did not work properly, I hid it. A month after I hid it, TTCS-USA demanded that I dismantle my entire web site. Because that's never going to happen, TTCS-USA has decreed that I am "persona non grata" — I may not even be a set leader, much less contribute my professional expertise to benefit my local branch.

If you are a student of Taoist tai chi who has stumbled across this page by accident, beware. They're very likely to want to punish you, too, for daring to read it.
— Mary W. Matthews
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