Posts Tagged ‘Tai ji Chuan’

A Chinese documentary on whether Tai Ji as a martial art still has any interest on China’s youth. It goes through its history and its applications as three youths learn from masters.


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I first encountered the Practical Method in the lonely winter of Japan, where I lived in rural Wakayama, with a Ukelele to strum the cold weather out. Japan has mild winters, though too cold to practice Tai ji, I turned to Youtube for hints and fascination. Having learned from Dr. Wu, many varying styles, I became interested in Chen, because it was the one I had the least exposure to, also it being said as the original form, I knew I had to learn it. Flipping through the channels of Chen, I encountered the prolific, Chen Zhong Hua, teaching from western pacific Canada. He was one who had broken down the old forms from its present flourished forms to a simple elegant dynamic force. His demonstrations are powerful and unique. One cannot but be amazed by the power of this beauty. At that time, he had a small youtube following with some blogs by fellow practitioners. Quickly his following grew, and his presence became international. I did buy his DVD of his form, but found it difficult to follow through. I left it on my back burner, as I came back home. Two years had passed, and again I remembered about that time that I was fascinated with this style, there had to be a practitioner back here in the states. Only finding a small group in Milwaukee, and one person in the far west suburbs, I tried to follow through it again, but failed miserably. In a strange coincidence of things some time later, a posting by a fellow acupuncturist, Yaron Sideman, who practices a form of Chinese Herbal Medicine that has a similar regional root, Huan Yuan, reminded me of the Practical Method. I reached out again, with my interwebs, and stumbled finally on someone, Spencer Jones, who recently had studied in China intensively the form, and lives in Chicago.
So far, its nothing like the Tai ji that I have learned, finding it a lot more rooted than any form I’ve done. I have only completed the first form, and I am eager to continue.

Spencer Jones teaches in Ukrainian Village, out of Bend Yoga on Damen.

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  Many years back, when I first started dabbling with the I – Ching, I stumbled on to this trigram, and it seem to resonate with my person. It stuck with me, and for some reason it is still with me. The name of the Tri-gram can be translated in many ways, “Fidelity”, “Inoncence”, and “The Unexpected”. Recently, I stumbled onto it again, as I saw a comparison of the Tai ji forms with the I – Ching. Actually many of the basic moves are contrasted to the Wu-Xing, the Five movement, or Phases. Positioning and action are characterized by the five movements in the Tai ji symbol position. As larger forms are mapped out, some have drawn I – Ching correspondences. As sifting through the forms, I noticed “my trigram” pop up, corresponding to a move. Not one of my favorite moves, but nonetheless it was there.

INNOCENCE. Supreme success.
	Perseverance furthers.
	If someone is not as he should be,
	He has misfortune,
	And it does not further him
	To undertake anything.

Actually the move looks far from innocent but breaking down the symbol, it consists of Thunder, supporting Heaven. It maybe a difficult move for beginners and the like, since it is a spinning turn on one foot while the other is held at a high kick. Balance is the key to this movement otherwise one will fall.Thus practice would make it perfect, if one cannot concentrate on the move they are sure to loose rhythm and balance, and may even fall.

Turn heel and kick (more…)

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A very intriguing style, another hybrid of sorts, but this time of Xing yi and Tai chi. Sun Lu Tan developed this form after many years of studying and finding the most compatible resemblances between the two. Quicker and livelier than the other standard forms of Tai chi, Sun presented a challenge to me at first since it was nothing like I had ever exerienced before. Sun has a slow tempo with quick nimble pick up moves and jumping or hopping forward steps. It is very playful, and also practical.

Sun Competition Style
This is one of the better demonstrations of the form on the web.

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There are 13 basic upper and lower postures in Tai ji chuan. The first 8 are arm postures that coincide with the 8 trigrams, and the last 5 are leg and torso directions that coincide with the 5 elements. Together they compose 13 postures, that in turn make up the larger moves in any form.

  • 1. Peng- Ward off- Heaven

      Used in Ward off. When one has grasped the ball, the coiling tension is released almost like fajing, a defense and an attack, and a recoil.

    2. Lu- Roll back- Earth

      Roll back- Diverting force

    3. Ji- Press- Water

      Palm press on fore arm- a measurement, a waiting of contact

    4. An- Push- Fire

      Fair lady works shuttles- diverting an attack, gauging contact, and returning force. An example of all of the above

    5. Tsai- Pluck- Wind

      Needle to the bottom of the ocean- Grasping an opponents wrist or clothing and pulling them down

    6. Li- Seperate- Thunder

      Parting the Wild Horses Mane- The seperating action, upper and lower or left and right, ungrounds an opponent by splitting them in two directions

    7. Chu- Elbow- Lake

      Elbow strike- It is all of the five actions- advancing, withdrawing, looking-left, gazing right, and fixed rooting (see below) like a lake at rest

    8. Kao- Shoulder- Mountain

      Shoulder strike- All movement is rooted in the feet and then summoned to the shoulder

    9. Jin- Advance- Metal
    10. Tui- Retreat- Wood
    11. Ku- Step to the left- Water
    12. Pan- Step to the right- Fire
    13. Settle center- Ding- Earth

  • They are mnemonics to help you remember the moves. For example with the steps, Metal cuts, it is an advance, Wood springs back, Water defends, and fire exposes, earth simply holds. The trigrams are little more difficult, but to shoulder strike would be like holding a mountain, seperating would be like a thunder clap, wind would be like plucking one’s shirt and pulling them around. A press is like water gauging movement, and fire would be the explosiveness of contact. Peng is the complete Yang of an inner coil, while Lu is the complete Yin of reception in a rolling back movement.

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