Taijiquan Class Content Description
Below are very brief descriptions of some of the content offered in our classes.
The benefits of standing meditation are plentiful, but to put it simply, it helps to relax the mind and body as well as find your center and correct body alignment; this can help with the practice of taijiquan and also to keep your calm in daily life. With the help of a skillful and sensitive instructor, a serious student of taijiquan can discover the principles of taijiquan within standing meditation in order to transform the actions and reactions of the practitioner. What is developed in standing meditation can be carried over into the movements of the taijiquan form where further progression of the principles can take place. It is recommended to practice standing meditation for at least 20 minutes a day for health benefits, and one hour a day for martial benefits.
Through smooth, circular motions, silk reeling exercises are basic standing exercises which help the taijiquan practitioner at any stage of progress to develop strength, flow, body/mind awareness, and control. The idea is to develop streams of energy within the body like "silk threads." These threads being fine and fragile are "twisted" for strength through spiral movements and must be worked slowly and carefully so as not to break them. With consistent and conscientious practice the practitioner can first become more aware of the “threads” and then continue to strengthen them.
Forms or routines are a sequence of basic movements which are designed to help the tai chi practitioner develop the tai chi principles to the point that they become second nature. The student will go through a process of self-discovery with the practice of forms, finding one's center and gradually having more control over it, developing a nuanced awareness of the body and forming a strong union between mind and body until they become one, a place from which a full mind-body consciousness can spring.
It is natural for a student to first learn the external, basic pattern of the form so that arms and legs, hands and feet are being coordinated. Once the form is memorized the finer details of movements and body structure can be corrected with the instructor's help. When the external structure is in place, like a vessel that holds water, the internal mechanics and energy can be allowed to develop.
Push hands practice is a form of silk reeling practiced with a partner. Training starts slow and simple in a static standing position with both parters joined at the wrists. If silk reeling and forms practice help the taijiquan practitioner develop awareness and control of one’s own central equilibrium and movements, push hands helps to develop this awareness and control of another’s central equilibrium and movements. Partners stay in constant contact in order to allow for energy transfer. The two become one, and sensitivity or "listening skills" (tingjin), is developed over time.
LAOJIA YI LU (Old Frame First Road) 75 Postures
Laojia Yi Lu is a form, or sequence of movements, which is described as the “mother form” from Chenjiagou and traditionally precedes practice of other taijiquan forms. It consists of slow, smooth movements which utilize the silk reeling exercises with steps moving in all directions. There are few explosive power moves throughout the form which help to begin development of "fali" or "fajin," explosive martial power. It is within Laojia Yi Lu that we can develop entry level understanding of body mechanics to develop whole body unification and coordination of movements. Practicing this form in its entirety can take from 12 to 20+ minutes depending on speed of practice. Make this a part of your daily training.
LAOJIA ER LU (Old Frame Second Road)
Whereas Laojia Yi Lu is practiced slowly and builds up qi (energy) within the body, Laojia Er Lu is a form that is practiced quickly and explosively to train expelling the qi (energy).
DAJIA ER LU (Large Frame Second Road)
Dajia Er Lu is a short form developed by 20th generation Chen family member Master Chen Ziqiang. It is a more advanced routine and consists of stomping, stepping, pivoting, jumping, leg sweeping, many explosive movements and strikes, lower stances, and moves at a faster pace.
TAIJI DOA (Broadsword)
Like a hungry tiger hunting for prey, this short form demands quiet stealth and quick, powerful jumps and leaps performed with precision and agility while wielding the broadsword. Basic uses of the single-edged sword can be studied here.
TAIJI JIAN (Straightsword)
With 49 postures, this form will introduce the student to basic movements of the double-edged straight sword.
A traditional weapon used in combat in ancient times, the spear is a fun weapon to train with. Arm strength and coordination can be developed while always keeping in mind the taijiquan principles.
SHAUNG JIAN (Double Mace)
A Chen family weapon routine designed to be practiced at a faster pace with taijiquan principles existing within the movements.