Tàijíquán is sometimes written as Tai Chi Chuan, depending on the method of Chinese to English translation.  Sometimes it is referred to as simply "Taiji" or 'Taichi'.  It is well known as a system of exercise, with a reputation for improving health and avoiding a variety of ailments.  


What is not so widely appreciated is that Tàijíquán can, i trained approprialtely, be used as a highly effective martial art.  The emphasis is on using subtle whole-body synchronized movement with highly tuned awareness and timing, to overcome raw (disconnected) speed and brute strength.


The disadvantage of a 'soft' style such as Tàijíquán compared with 'hard' and 'hard-soft' styles such as boxing, Karate or Kung Fu, is that it takes many more years of practice to achieve a basic martial skill.  The advantage of Tàijíquán however, is that development can continue far beyond the limitations of age, strength and speed that accompany 'hard' styles, and it is not injurious to the body.


Tàijíquán is based on a set of practical principles known as the Classic Texts, or just "the Classics".  They form  the written advice from highly capable teachers, over several generations, on how to practice and apply the art.  Guided by this advice we train to develop good mental habits, good body habits, and ultimately to understand ourselves and become better human beings.  Tàijíquán is a system of mental/physical self development, grounded in the practice of an effective martial art, and it is not inherently mystical or religious.