Presented by Steve Higgins to The Taijiquan Enthusiasts' Organizations health symposium in September of 2017, this 15 minute video seminar presents the Old Yang Middle-frame Taijiquan in the context of Tantra, an esoteric Central Asian Buddhist tradition which shaped the Yangs' Tai Chi in the last decades of the Manchu or Qing dynasty.
Most studies of the impact of spirituality on Taijiquan focus on Daoism. These generally attempt to establish a connection to the Daoist Immortal Chan San-feng or to Wudang Mountain.
However there are also Buddhist influences upon Taijiquan which date from the late decades of the Manchu Empire. The Yang Family's early period in Beijing saw them training Imperial Guardsmen at the Yellow Banner encampment outside the capital as well as in the palaces of certain members of the Imperial Family. The Manchurians who ruled China during this period were overwhelmingly adherents of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism. It is my belief that this religious tradition had a great impact on the consolidation of the art in the Nineteenth Century.
In this video presentation I touch upon the presence of certain non-Chinese influences upon Taijiquan, and discuss certain Tantric beliefs which have shaped the form of the art and our practice.