Over six centuries ago, there lived a Tibetan monk by the name of Bodhidarma-Daruma. After meditating in the Tibetan mountains for forty days, he awoke and studied the natural movements of the animals. He studied such creatures as the praying mantis, the crane, and the tiger. Impressed by their suppleness and grace, he imitated those movements for quite a time. Though quite elderly, Bodhidarma-Daruma obtained great benefit: he became calmer, healthier, more energetic, and felt much younger than his chronological age.
One day, he traveled east to the forests of western China, where he lived in a cave. There, he met a man named Shao-Lin whom he taught for many years. Shao-Lin, too, noticed the benefits of these movements. When Shao-Lin returned to his city (which is now named after him), he founded a temple where he started teaching a small group of monks.
In the orient, Tibetan Tai-Chi is taught only to very few students, who are carefully screened and evaluated by the master. At present, the original Tibetan Tai-Chi is a lost art except for the very few masters that have learned it from their own fathers trained in the Soringi Temple (the rebuilt Shao-Lin temple) that existed in pre-communist China.