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What is a Tai Chi Ruler?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated: Feb 29, 2024

The tai chi ruler is both a tangible tool for practicing the ancient Chinese martial art tai chi, and is a form of the activity itself. Tai chi, or taiji chuan, transliterated from Chinese, is a centuries-old martial arts style that focuses on a “yin and yang” duality. Although some types of tai chi have classical defense elements, many of those who practice it today do so to develop poise and improve holistic health.

The benefits of tai chi are many. Tai chi can help the body become more limber and improve circulation. It can help the body become more responsive to various challenges. Some types of tai chi are also good for helping to control back pain.

Tai chi ruler is a form of tai chi that is useful in dealing with back pain. Tai chi has different “forms” that are made up of different sets of tai chi moves or poses. The ruler form is a specific practice that often uses a tai chi ruler tool.

A tai chi ruler tool is a wooden dowel or rod. It is generally about an inch thick and a foot long (2.5 by 30 centimeters). The word “ruler” does not seem to be an indication that the ruler is a measuring tool. The ruler is used in various poses, although in some types of tai chi ruler style, the actual ruler is not necessary.

Each tai chi instructor has their own particular idea of how to incorporate elements of ancient tai chi into a modern activity. Some forms focus on the specifics of the “yin and yang” such as alternating weight load and practicing deep breathing. Others include more attention to various poses that mimic elements of nature or classic defensive positions.

Many tai chi tools of the "ruler" variety are made of hand crafted wood. Various vendors sell these rulers in specialty shops or online. Customers may want to think about specific design choices that will help them make the most use of this simple tool in potentially complex tai chi regimens.

Those who want to learn tai chi can seek out classes offered by local trainers. They can pursue distance learning, or select books from libraries or book shops. Using the tai chi ruler can be a good way to get a more diverse fitness routine into a busy schedule and improve spinal support and overall health.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By scandela — On Oct 29, 2014

My understanding is that the methods of tai chi ruler are historically kept in a close-knit group. Does that mean most instructors don't offer it? I asked the tai chi instructor at the rec center where I go, but he seemed to know little about it. I would love something to help my lower back.

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