I became very dizzy while watching Cloverfield in the theater last year. I sank into my seat and muttered, “Oh man, I don’t feel too good.”

“What’s the matter?” my friend Geoffrey asked.

“Taiji,” I said. “I think I may have a bruised rib from taiji.” Even the kids in front of us had to turn and see what was so funny.

Everyone knows “tai chi” — it’s that arm-waving thing old ladies do in urban parks. The Whole Foods yuppie crowd swears by it as a way of learning how to “relax.” Taiji quan (same thing, somewhat more accurate transliteration) started out, however, as a powerful martial art. I started looking for a martial art to practice a few years ago and observed a few classes. I met lots of athletic types, and a few… More…