It has been a sort of tradition in China to exercise and there is plenty of stories with different forms of mediation and exercising from ancient times. As you propably know the Chinese has been able to write stories from before 4000 B.C . The legend says that a wiseman by the name of Fuxi saw signs in the shell of a turtle and then used them for expressing himself. The chinese word for culture, wen-hua, means to transform by writing. In some of these writings we are able to see a physician named Hua-tu'o that described a way for exercising the body with movements from animals like tiger, bear, deer, ape and birds. Hua-tu'o lived between 220-265 A.D in the time of the three kingdoms. Hua-tu'o thought that animals always looked like they had a good, healthy living and therefore copied their movements. Before this we can also read about a wise man named Lao Tsu that wrote "Yield and overcome. Bend and be straight" and "He who stands on tiptoe is not steady. He who strides cannot maintain the pace". This Writing is dated from the origin of Taoism around 600 B.C and is the basic philosophy of Tai Chi Chuan. It simply says that you must have a relaxed body to be able to fight. Around 600 A.D there is some stories about a man called Tao Mo or Bodihdharma that visits the monisters in the Shao Lin temple and writes that the monks where in a very bad physical condition. This should be the result of too much meditation. Tao Mo therefore made the Eighteen Form Lohan Exercise that you see today in modern Gung Fu or external form of Martial arts.
Tai Chi - The True History & Principles Paperback – November 22, 2016 .
The original Tai Chi Classics and their true origin, the history, the philosophy, the principles and the techniques of Tai Chi - all in one book.
Tai Chi Chuan in the History of Chinese Martial Arts Paperback – August 24, 2014
In the Book the 'Great Learning' it is written: "All things have roots and branches". The branches of Tai Chi Chuan are visible today, but the roots are hidden in the mists of time. On the search for them, this little book takes a look at Tai Chi Chuan in relationship to the history of Chinese martial arts. This perspective leads us from ancient times until the Chinese republic. After studying this little book, the reader will have a more complete picture of the art of Tai Chi Chuan.