I studied tai chi for many years here in Toronto. Looking back, I wish I hadn't stopped! At the time, I felt a real need for a change, but I've definitely lost something by not keeping tai chi in my life. Maybe 2021 is the year to return!
Tai chi is a classical Chinese martial art, passed from person to person in a lineage. If you're curious about what that means, have a look at this: http://www.chebucto.ns.ca/Philosophy/Taichi/yang.html
My teacher, Paul McCaughey, studied with Lee Shiu Pak, so his Toronto school would belong on the bottom row of the "family tree."
Tai chi is kind of like slow motion kung fu. I think, that is! Haven't studied kung fu myself -- but for sure you could (if you wanted) speed up the gentle movements of tai chi into killer holds, throws, kicks and punches. Part of the fascination of studying tai chi was learning about the purpose and function of the movements.
However, the focus is on fitness, balance, and overall wellness. The ancillary studies would be the martial aspects, Taoist philosophy, and traditional Chinese medical arts such as acupuncture, tui na massage, and herbalism.