Introduction to Chinese Martial Arts
- Discipline of Body, Mind & Spirit that based its Foundation on Qigong -
What is Taijiquan / Tai Chi Chuan?
Popularly known as Taiji. It is a trinity of 3 arts - that of Healing, Meditation and Self Defence. Regular practice of Taijiquan promotes the cultivation of soft intrinsic qi flow which is essential to the preservation of one's health. An ideal therapy for poor circulation, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis and back, neck and joint problems. Its gentle non-jarring movement exercises every muscle, ligament, tendon, joint, lymph node and internal organ of the body.
As a form of moving meditation, Taijiquan encourages one to approach one's practice with a quiet attitude of serene attention as opposed to overtly concentrating one's focus only on part of the composition of the form which tends to create a condition of stress and an illusion of false power. Correctly embraced, Taijiquan stimulates awareness, develops a calm mind which dissolves internal conflicts and tensions to bring forth a state of harmony and emotional balance within oneself.
As a form of self-defence, the non-opposing yielding methods of Taijiquan enable one to control and redirect the attack of an opponent while retaining the option of counter attack if one so chooses. The Taiji Classics refer to this as: using 4 ounces of strength to shift the force of a thousand pounds.
The curriculum of Taijiquan includes: slow-moving Meditative Forms for health, Fa Jing Forms for power development, San Shou / Sparring Forms for self-defence, Push Hands for sensitivity enhancement, plus Weaponry, Qigong and Nei Gong for advanced study.
To see video footage of Lama Dondrup Dorje demonstrating Taiji forms and applications in action please visit the Pathgate Theatre Page.
There are five major Traditional Taiji Chuan Systems:
- Yang Style Taijiquan: large extended open postures, circular and even in motion, known for its speciality on Fa Jing - the issue of explosive power. The founder of this system was Grandmaster Yang Lu-Chan (1799-1872). The original Yang Style he created was based on Chen Style Taijiquan he learned from Chen Chang-Hsin which included many fast and explosive movements. This form was later modified to make it more accessible to the masses by his grandson Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936).
- Wu Style Taijiquan: medium size postures, gentle and even in motion, known for its subtle approach in the yielding and transformation of energy. The original Wu Style Taiji Form was created by a Manchurian named Chuan Yuo (1832-1902) whose family later adopted the Han's surname of Wu after the demise of the Manchurian Empire. Chuan Yuo was a disciple of Yang Ban-Hou although he was taught by Ban-Hou's father Yang Lu-Chan himself. Chuan Yuo's son Wu Jien-Chuan was responsible for the restructuring of the Old Form into what is known as Wu Style Taijiquan today.
- Chen Style Taijiquan: vigorous rapid coiling movements interchange with slow gentle ones, famed for its silk reeling methods and spiralling energy. There are 3 main variations: Chen Chang-Hsin's Old Style, Chen Yu-Ben's New Style and Chen Chin-Ping's Shiao-Jar (Small Posture).
- Woo (Hao) Style Taijiquan: the epitome of the body and energy mechanics of the Chen Style Taijiquan with small compact postures and short intricate movements. It's founder Woo Yu-Hsing (1812-1880) was a disciple of Yang Lu-Chan.
- Sun Style Taijiquan: derived from Woo Style Taiji with additional input from Bagua Zhang - for its waist turning, and from Xingyi Quan for it's dextrous foot work and crushing palm. It's founder is Bagua & Xingyi Master Sun Lu-Tang (1860-1932).