In April of 1644, the last emperor of the Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) hanged himself and marked the beginning of the Qing dynasty (1644 - 1912). The Manchus of the Qing dynasty were an ethnic minority that forced the Han majority into submission. This period of transition–from the late Ming to the early Qing–was a pivotal period in the development of barehanded martial art styles such as Taijiquan. It was during the late Ming dynasty that Daoist alchemical beliefs, cosmological concepts, and physical practices were integrated with martial techniques. The Manchu conquest of China influenced the creation myth of these martial styles, and the syncretic arts of fighting, healing, and self-cultivation that resulted from this period have appealed to generations. Before we explore the development of Taijiquan, we need to understand what a martial art is, and the classification of Chinese martial arts today.