At a recent Celestial Tai Chi College (CTCC) instructor training session, when explaining the history behind some tai chi moves, Senior Master Chin Min went on to explain some of the thinking that went into creating the CTCC logo when setting up the College. Further history of the College which was established in 1990 by (now) Grand Master Eng Chor and Senior Master Chin Min is presented in other articles on our web-site.
In creating a logo, we start with the symbol often associated with Tai Chi. This symbol dates back to the Ming era, being a simplified version of a number of earlier symbols that has two interlocking spirals on which two black-and-white dots are superimposed. In Chinese philosophy, this diagram or symbol represents Tai-ji, or the ‘supreme ultimate’. With the circle divided into the light and the dark, it expresses the constant duality of ‘yin and yang’. It is also commonly used in the West to refer to ‘Taiji quan’ – or more simply the practice of ‘Tai Chi’ - which is an internal martial art or health practice that applies the principles of ‘yin and yang’ to the human body.
To create a logo that is more readily identified with the art of Tai Chi that is practiced by the College, the Masters decided to replace the dots with one of the classic stances of Tai Chi. There are a number of classic or archetypal images that have been recorded widely in historical writings and murals that reflect a variety of Tai Chi stances. The Masters selected the stance commonly known as ‘single whip’.
Lastly, the Masters wanted a symbol in the logo that reflected constant flowing and rounded movement. In Chinese philosophy, great Masters have recorded this principle in different ways, including ‘Taiju comes about through the balance of yin and yang … Every movement of Taiji-quan is based on circles, just like the shape of a Taijitu…. 'In terms of self-development, one must train from a state of movement towards a state of stillness. The Masters achieved this by adding the three expanding circles.
This is the background to the logo of the Celestial Tai Chi College.
Senior Instructor, Ashburton
Updated: 4 August 2019