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Taijiquan

Tai Chi Chuan 太極拳

Traditional Yang and Chen style

Taijiquan has been practiced by the Chinese for health and self-defense for many centuries. The study of Taiji gives the practitioner an excellent method for relaxation and for enhancing internal energy ( Qi). It can be practiced by people of all ages. The practice of Taiji has been shown to improve one’s health with a variety of problems such as high blood pressure, arthritis, asthma, stomach ailments, heart problems, and nervousness.  

Taijiquan is a healing/martial art that combines martial arts movements with Qi circulation, breathing, and stretching techniques. It utilizes the ancient philosophy of Yin-Yang 陰陽學說 and the Five-Element theories 五行學說 for its foundation and for establishing its training principles. There are many styles of Taijiquan throughout China.  The five most popular ones are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu-Hao, and Sun Taijiquan. There are different training approaches within each of these Taijiquan styles.

Our school offers classes in Yang 楊 and Chen 陳 styles Taijiquan.

Yang Style Taijiquan太極

The originator of the Yang style Taiji was Yang Luchan (1800-1873) from Yongnian in Hebei Province. Yang went to learn Taiji boxing from Chen Changxing in the Chenjia Valley as a boy. When grown up, he returned to his native town to teach the art. To suit the needs of common people, Yang Luchan made some changes and dropped some highly difficult moves, such as force irritating, broad jumps and foot thumping. His son shortened the routine, which was further simplified by his grandson. The grandson's form of the Yang style Taiji was later taken as the prototype of the Yang style Taijiquan. Because of its comfortable postures, simplicity and practicability, this form has become the most popular routine for exercise and practice.

The Yang style Taijiquan features agreeable movements and actions combining hardness, softness and naturalness.  

Like other styles of Taiji, Yang style relies on partnered push-hands practice to develop the student's ability to listen, stick, neutralize, follow, and uproot an opponent. Yang style and its descendants include weapons training with straight Jian (sword), Dao (saber ), Gun (staff) and  Qiang (spear).

 

Chen Style Taijiquan太極

Chen style is the oldest style of Taiji practiced today. It originated in Chenjiagou in Henan province near the town of Dengfeng (and near the famous Shaolin Temple). It was first taught by Chen Wan-Ting in the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

Chen style practice is characterized by low, powerful stances, by supple whole-body twining and coiling movements, and by explosive releases of power called fajin.

The Chen style includes two barehand training sets, usually called Yilu (first set) or Changquan (Long Boxing), and Erlu (second set) or Paochui (Cannon Fist). Chen style Taiji also includes Tuishou (push-hands), and numerous classical weapons, such as Jian (sword), Dao (saber), Qiang (spear), Gun (staff) and others. All the weapons sets exhibit the characteristic twining and coiling motions of the Chen style Taijiquan.

The Chen Style Taijiquan falls into two categories - the old and the new frames. Chen Wan-Ting created the old frame himself. It has five routines, which were also known as the 13-move boxing. Chen Wan-Ting also developed a long style boxing routine of 108 moves and a cannon boxing routine. It was then handed down to Chen Chang-Xing and Chen You-Ben, boxers in the Chenjia Valley who were all proficient at the old frame. Chen Fa-Ke created the new frame (Xinjia) in the 20th century and added more details to the old frames. The present day Chen style Taiji boasts of the Laojia (old frame) and the Xinjia (new frame).

 


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