Tai Chi is more specifically called Tai Chi Chuan, which can be translated as “supreme ultimate fist.” Tai Chi is a martial art, though it’s often called a “moving meditation” since the movements are done slowly and deliberately, and it is taught more as a meditative and health-enhancing practice than as a martial art. Though its origins are unclear, the foundation of Tai Chi is the Taoist belief in a universal energy called chi (also spelled qi or ki depending on the language of origin). Chi is believed to be the binding life force in the universe, existing both externally and internally, moving through invisible channels in the body called meridians.
Taoism teaches that strengthening and reinforcing one’s inner chi will bring good health and long life as well as spiritual benefits. Certain breathing techniques, meditations, and bodily movements are taught to cultivate and enhance the chi. This belief is the basis of Tai Chi. There is no supreme God or Creator in Taoism; all originated from the Tao, which is an impersonal principle or source of creation.
From the Tao came yin and yang, two forces that manifested in creation. These forces appear opposite but actually are in a state of constant flux, merging with each other. The chi flows more harmoniously when yin and yang are balanced; this balance is brought about through special diets, herbs, exercises, breathing techniques, and bodily movements. Tai Chi, therefore, has a worldview at odds with the Christian worldview. Tai Chi is based on a Taoist spiritual view of the body and the chi, and how to enhance the chi, a view incompatible with how the Bible tells us we were made—in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).
Jesus Christ created and holds the world together, not the Tao or an invisible force called chi: “For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together” (Colossians 1:16-17). Doing Tai Chi, even for physical purposes, is paying homage to a spiritual belief system at odds with God’s Word.