The Chi Studio - Chigong, Taichigong, and Taoist philosophy


Taichi legend Zhang San Feng


The Chi Studio was the name of my Taichi practice in Toronto, Canada, from 2013 to 2015. I was the Canada representative for Wu Tunan Taichi, in which I received direct-lineage training in Singapore since 2007. 

Although I am not teaching publicly now, I have retained this site as a resource on the Wu Tunan lineage and Taichi.

I am currently focused on advanced Taichi research and solitary training, Zen meditation and spirituality, as well as Dzogchen – an advanced meditation based on Tibetan Buddhism. At the same time, I seek ways to integrate these related artforms into a new, unique system.

If you are interested in Taichi and spirituality, I have some writings on my personal site. I’m always happy to correspond on these topics – feel free to reach me via my contact form!


The body grows the chi, the chi evolves the mind, the mind restores your true nature, and you become one with the Tao

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Chi activation image

The chi (氣) is a natural energy or life-force which exists all around us. For centuries, it is at the core of many practices in ancient Asia, such as traditional medicine and martial arts.

Contrary to common belief, chi is a distinct energy that can be felt and harnessed by anyone within a short period of time  – regardless of age, health condition, or cultural background. The ability to harness and manipulate chi is natural to all humans.

(Chigong refers to all practices that harness chi; Taichi is a specific type of Chigong)

Taichi pose image

Complete Taichi Systems

A complete Taichi (太極) system from an authetic lineage should bestow the ability to nurture, store, activate, and use chi.

It is a deep system that requires many years to understand, and a lifetime to master. In other words, it is impossible to learn authentic Taichi in a matter of months.

There would be a few stages of attainment throughout your practice. These stages can be summarized as:

1. Training body to cultivate chi (煉精化氣)
2. Training chi to cultivate spirit (練氣化神)
3. Training spirit to transcend the self (練神還虛)

Generally speaking, a complete system includes the following types of training:

1. Chigong: to nurture chi for self-healing and strengthening the body.

2. Moving meditation sequences: unarmed and sometimes with traditional weapons, so learners can flow chi into all parts of the body and acquire advanced meditation methods– in motion.

3. Self-defense training: after all, Taichi was a renowned martial art for much of ancient Chinese history.

4. Philosophy and principles: usually based on mantras (心法), priciples, or spiritual concepts on nature (such as Taoist concepts).


Flawlessly resilient, relaxed, grounded, and agile

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Random chigong stances


During my stint in Canada I worked with a host of wonderful, industry-leading wellness institutions. In Toronto they were: Fly Girl Fitness, Institute of Traditional Medicine, Mindful Bodyworks, Six Degrees Community Acupuncture, The Healing Cooperative, and Urban Wellness; in Kingston my partner was Feel Yoga Studio.

As with other traditional schools, my teaching system was cumulative. For example, you practice ‘A’ in the first class, ‘A+B’ in the second class, then 'A+B+C' in the next class. In time, the earlier methods are dropped or modified as your skill progresses; new methods will take their place.

I also taught private classes, gave special seminars, and conducted chi healing– on request.

Historically, a learner needs to train regularly for about one year to gain basic knowledge for practising independently. About three years are needed to attain basic teaching expertise. True Taichi masters are nurtured after around ten years of progressive training.

Schools today are trying to adapt and shorten training regimens, as modern people have greater time constraints and wider choices of interests to choose from.


First the form brings the chi, then the will flows the chi, finally the chi moves the body

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ancient scroll


1. News and Research

Nothing beats practicing and experiencing chi for yourself. Beyond that, plenty of research and media coverage have been done on the health benefits of Chigong and Taichi. Here are some notable ones:

The Health Benefits of Tai Chi”, Harvard Medical School

Tai Chi: A Gentle Way to Fight Stress”, The Mayo Clinic

Eastern Exercises Stand the Test of Time”, ABC News (video)

Taichi Improves Body and Mind”, “Taichi Helps Improve Diabetes”, “Tai Chi Prevents Elderly Falls, Say Geriatrics Societies”, BBC United Kingdom

More Studies Confirm that T'ai Chi and Qigong Heal and Prevent Disease”, Gaiam Life

What is Tai Chi? What are the health benefits of Tai Chi?”, Medical News Today

The Intriguing Health Benefits of Qigong”, Wall Street Journal Online

What Are the Benefits of Tai Chi?, The New York Times

Research papers for the technically inclined:

A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi”, National Centre (USA) for Biotechnology Medicine

Health Benefits of Tai Chi Exercise: Improved Balance and Blood Pressure In Middle-Aged Women”, Oxford Journals

Impact of Medical Qigong on Quality of Life, Fatigue, Mood and Inflammation in Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial”, Oxford University Press

The Scientific Basis of Qigong and Energy Medicine”, Qigong Institute (large database of research and articles on Qigong benefits)

"Tai Chi Chuan optimizes the functional organization of the intrinsic human brain architecture in older adults", Front Aging Neuroscience


2. Videos

You can find many videos online featuring Great-Grandmaster Wu Tunan. Here are the more interesting ones:

The Old Masters & Jet Li: Old public relations video featuring a young Jet Li and four of the greatest chi-based martial artists in the last century. Because the masters were revered even by the Chinese government, they were asked to appear in this government-funded promo. At 00:20 is Great-Grandmaster Wu Tunan, originator of the Taichi style this studio teaches. Narration in Mandarin.


Eternal Vitality: Segment of an old cultural TV programme, featuring Great-Grandmaster Wu Tunan and three other renowned masters (most are also in the previous video). A lifetime of chi-based practice gives one ‘eternal vitality’ and keeps illnesses at bay. The practitioners embody this perfectly: all were at least 80 years-old during the shoot. Narration in Cantonese.


The Wu Tunan lineage: Full feature on Great-Grandmaster Wu Tunan. This Taichi lineage or style is very rare and few are qualified to teach it. As a lineage-holder of the Yang and Wu Taichi styles, Wu Tunan modified the Taichi he inherited and enhanced it with his own lifelong research into the art. Here he demonstrates a fast form known as Yong Jia (Usage Set) exclusive to the lineage. Content in Mandarin.


Evidence for Chi (Nat Geo): Many people falsely claim to know chi, and some have been debunked with embarrassing results. Nonetheless, chi is a real, specific energy form. This Nat Geo feature attempts to prove that chi exists under extreme test conditions, using Shaolin exponents.


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 Mug shot Johny Tay

Johny Tay
Founder/ director, The Chi Studio

My journey into Taichi began after seeing a parody of the human evolutionary diagram many years ago. Instead of homo erectus, the final image showed the man hunched once more, working away at a desk. It dawned on me that the human body is capable of more than what this era imposes.

After years of arduous Taichi training, I became a qualified teacher and third-generation disciple of the Wu Tunan lineage. I also study a wide range of spiritual disciplines and philosophies. In 2015 I received a Mind Seal in Dzogchen, making me a qualified practitioner of this advanced meditation method. I am also an avid practitioner of Zen/Chan spirituality.

I am currently seeking ways to integrate these related artforms into a new, unique system.


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