Alibaba's Jack Ma teaches taiji philosophy to entrepreneurs for $20,000 for a course of six classes

Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is reportedly giving taiji classes to entrepreneurs at S$20,000 for six classes. PHOTO: REUTERS FILE PHOTO

Alibaba Group founder Jack Ma is teaching taiji philosophy to businessmen - at about 100,000 yuan (S$20,000) per course of six classes, Chinese media have reported.

The Chinese billionaire gives six classes a year, and each class lasts three days, Malaysia's Kwong Wah newspaper reported on Monday (May 22). Fees can cost up to 99,800 yuan for the course, which is targeted at entrepreneurs, said Lianhe Wanbao.

Ma, 52, has been a long-time fan of martial arts, and has reportedly practised taiji quan from 1988. He has also previously spoken about his bodyguard, a taiji master born in the birthplace of taiji in China's Chen Jia Gou, in Henan Province.

Just this month, Ma had spoken out about a taiji master's defeat by a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, which went viral.

He said on his Sina Weibo account that the two styles could not be compared as they operated by different rules.

While the incident stirred debate on the practical use of taiji, Ma said that it was definitely practical in real combat, but that such instances would be rare as most taiji practitioners perform the art for exercise.

"Taiji was invented neither for attack nor defence, but as a movement to illustrate its philosophy," he wrote. "Attack and defence are part of taiji, but definitely not all of it."

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Ma had in 2011 set up an online academy called Taiji Zen with actor Jet Li teaching the martial art and associated meditation techniques.

According to the site, the program consists of nine levels and is targeted at working professionals, martial artists and athletes.

On the site, Ma distinguishes taiji from taiji quan - the former being a philosophy and the latter the martial art itself.

Ma has previously been quoted saying taiji quan is not just a good form of gongfu, but is also good for business.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV in 2015, Ma said taiji "is about how you balance and how you work".

He said: "Taiji is like 'you fight there and I'll go over here. You're at the top, and I'll go down'. It's a balance. You are heavy and I'm small. When I'm small, I can jump. You're heavy. You cannot jump. Taiji is about a philosophy. I use taiji philosophy in the business. Calm down. There's always a way out and keep yourself balanced."

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