t’ai chi ch’uan (taijiquan)

Taolu (forms)

This tai chi practice is the first to learn sequences going from 9-108 movements within your preferred style. Common is the natural range of movements focus on your breath a straight spine and majestic like look and movements. After some time of practice this also includes the tai chi weapons.

Taolu (solo)

The taolu is designed to take the individual student through a complete, natural range of motion and movements evolving around their gravity center. Accurate, repeated practice of the solo routine will retrain posture, encourage circulation throughout the body, keeping it both flexible and strong. After a longer practice of empty hands (fist form) the student will begin to be thought weapons.

Tuishou (pushing hands)

Tuishou is designed for the beginning of combat training and is practiced in pairs still with the essence of tai chi. It relies on sensitivity to the opponent’s movements and redirection of the opponent’s center with appropriate responses.

The sensitivity needed to capture and redirect the center is acquired over thousands of hours of first yin (slow, repetitive, meditative, low-impact) and then later adding yang (“realistic”, active, fast, high-impact) training through taolu (forms), tuishou (pushing hands), and then sanshou (sparring).

Sanshou (sparring)

T’ai chi ch’uan mainly uses pushes and open-hand strikes and most of the kicks are to the legs and lower torso. T’ai chi also uses the rest of the body such as fingers towards eyes  side of the hand towards the throat, also fist and elbows are used towards main arcupoints. Chin na, which are joint traps, locks, and breaks are also used. Most t’ai chi ch’uan teachers expect their students to thoroughly learn defensive or neutralizing skills first and a student will have to demonstrate proficiency with them before offensive skills will be extensively trained. Sparing is only performed by very advanced students and is not commonly used.

Weapons

Variations of t’ai chi ch’uan involving weapons also exist such as taijijian. The weapons training and fencing applications employ:

  • the jian, a straight double-edged sword, practiced as taijijian;
  • the dao, a heavier curved saber, sometimes called a broadsword;
  • the tieshan, a folding fan, also called shan and practiced as taijishan;
  • the gun, a 2m long wooden staff and practiced as taijigun;
  • the qiang, a 2m long spear or a 4m long lance.
  • the large dadao and podao sabres;
  • the ji, or halberd;
  • the cane;
  • the sheng biao, or rope dart;
  • the sanjiegun, or three sectional staff;
  • the feng huo lun, or wind and fire wheels;
  • the lasso;
  • the whip, chain whip and steel whip.

Training Plan of Tai Chi

An outline of the daily training schedule is given below. Class times change slightly with the seasons and teaching plans may be personally adjusted for individuals according to their training program or goals.

Training Plan

1-3 months

The student will learn the basis of tai chi philosophy and about the 5 styles; the basic taichi steps and movements and 1-3 fist forms  of a preferred style.

3 - 6 months

The student will learn 1-2 weapon forms most commenly to begin with is the sword or the staff,, the students understanding of the steps and the style will

6 - 12 months

The student will have understood and mastered the basis of taichi and understood the the forms well. At this point a student will be able to perform 1-5 fist forms and 3-4 weapon forms very well.

1 year

After one year training the student will begin to practice sparing and gain a deeper understanding of the meditative parts of taichi both on his own body and soul.

2 - 5 years

The student has understood that tai chi is not a sport but a life long art.

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