The following article describes and analyzes the spirituality of taiji quan in the West. Constructed around a particular North American perception of this Chinese martial art, the spirituality is based on discursive strategies that enable authors of taiji quan books (and their readers) to make sense of their practice in a North American context. Using reception theories and Gadamer’s notion of fusion of horizon, three points will be highlighted here: 1) taiji quan books published in North America since the 1960s present this martial art as a spiritual practice 2) which the authors perceive as a Chinese Daoist spirituality 3) but which in fact is actualized in a North American socio-cultural context so that it meets the expectations of a certain category of practitioners. This means that the “spirituality of taiji quan” as presented by Western books has less to do with Chinese religious tradition than contemporary spirituality cloaked in old Daoist imagery.
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