What is Taijiquan
Taijiquan or Tai Chi Quan, commonly referred to as just Tai Chi, is a martial art skill with more to it than most people realise. Commonly known as a health exercise, Taijiquan combines the principles of developing health with a powerful martial art. There are several styles of Taijiquan, but the original skill was developed over 400 years ago by the Chen family and is call Chen Taijiquan. This is the skill that we teach.
Due to its combination of health and martial art aspects, some people chose to study Taijiquan just for its health benefits. The forms and and meditation are the focus for people studying just for health. For those wishing to also learn the martial, there are the applications of the form to learn as well as Tui Shou (push hands), a two person exercise in which we learn the principles of using Taijiquan for self-defence.
Chen Taijiquan is unique in its spiral energy which is generated from internal turning and movement to generate very powerful and sometimes explosive movements.
In 16th century China there lived a man called Chen Wang Ting whose martial arts skill was such that it is said that he single handedly defeated one thousand bandits. He was of the ninth generation of the Chen Family, from Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Henan Province. After an adventurous life as a warrior, he returned to his village to develop his martial skills. Combining movements from Qi Jigaung’s Long Fist and Daoist breathing techniques he created five forms of Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Pao Chui (Cannon Fist). He is said to be the creator of the original Taijiquan. Since Chen Wang Ting, the Chen family continued to develop and pass the skill from one generation to the next.
Today, Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang is the 19th Generation head of the Chen family skill. Having started studying Chen Taijiquan at just 8 years old, Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang has spent his life teaching his family’s skill all over the world. Due to his incredible skill and commitment to teaching, Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang is one of the most famous Taijiquan masters in the world.
What Will I Learn in Class?
Short Forms & Long Forms
There are many forms that have developed in Chen Taijiquan's 400 year history. The older forms are call Lao and forms are called Jia and so Laojia means old frame. Xin means new and so Xinjia means new frame. Frame means the set or frame of movements. The old frame forms have bigger circles and spiralling movements whereas in the new frame forms, the spirals are much smaller which make the forms more challenging as the waist is used even more.
As part of your training, you will study the traditional Chinese weapons forms which are part of the Chen Taijiquan skill, including the Broadsword, Straight Sword, Spear and finally the Da Dao - Spring and Autumn Big Broadsword, which is unique to Chen Taijiquan. Though we may not use weapons like this today, these forms are vital to understanding how to Chen spiral energy with weapons, which is different to the empty-hand forms.
Tui Shou (Push Hands)
We do Tui Shou (Push Hands) to help us better understand and apply the energies and applications found in the forms but in a safe and non-combative situation. If we only think of using strength, our Taijiquan skill will be low level. High level is learning how to defeat an opponent using sensitivity, skill and footwork.