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This article describes the development and emigration of a Chinese military exercise complex called taijiquan. It traces the genealogy of this practice from sixteenth-century China to twenty-first-century North American and European professional and university theatre programmes. It provides a systemic description of the protocols of taijiquan training in order to analyse its advantages and limitations in the contexts of contemporary actor training. Finally, by offering concrete examples of its application by different theatre artists, it presents a portrait of both its current use and future potential as a major component of actor training.