TRAIN TAIJI QUAN KUNG FU FOR HEALTH
Taiji Quan (太極拳) is an internal Chinese Martial Arts which has slow and stretching movements. The exact translation of the term is “Supreme Ultimate Boxing”. The purpose for practicing Taijin Quan is not only for improving health but also for pushing hands (competitive wrestling) and competitions.
The styles of Taiji Quan are:
- Chen (陈式) Taiji Quan is considered the original Taiji Style from the Chen Village.
- Yang (楊式) Taiji Quan is the most practiced Taiji style in China and around the world.
- Wu (吴式)
- Sun (孙式)
- Wu (武式, a different Chinese character from the other Wu Style).
Taiji Quan, no matter the style, has some common characteristics and some which are specific to the style. The moves in Taiji are soft, slow with low impact on body joints which makes it a great health exercise for older people. There is big emphasis on relaxation of the mind of body so the intentions of the opponent can be understood. The Yin and Yang principle is applied in combat (the momentum of the opponent is used to counter- attack). The power in moves is controlled by the waist while the feet are rooted. During practice, the breathing techniques are emphasized and Qigong in order to build up the internal strength.
The philosophies which govern Taiji are from the doctrines of Taoism and Confucianism.
Each training plan for learning Taiji Quan Kung Fu will follow the structure below:
FORMS (TAOLU 套路 /TÀOLÙ)
We teach forms with empty hands and with weapons. The most taught Taiji forms belong to Yang, Chen and Wudang Taiji Quan. Tai chi forms consist of individual Taiji moves or steps which are linked together. The number of steps can be as low as 4 and as many as 108. The competition form of Yang Taiji 24 steps can be performed in 10 minutes or even 20 minutes. The moves in Taiji are in itself an exercise to help improve your balance, coordination, relaxation and your breathing. The specific move called “cloud hands” is found in several styles of Taiji but there are differences in the position of the hand.
You can chose to practice Taiji with weapons. For example the Taiji Stick is a Medical Healing Qigong form certified by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. The weapons used for Taiji practice you can chose are: stick, sword, double sword, spear and broadsword. Some students prefer to train Taiji ball.
SELF DEFENSE TECHNIQUES (SANSHOU)
The highest level of Taiji Quan techniques in actual fight is to be natural. This means that all the body parts are used to attack. By being natural you can use the opponent’s strength.
“Supreme Ultimate Boxing”, the name Taiji is known by, it is an energetic style of fighting and can be used on street fighting defense.
There are four main types of attacks: Strike, Kick, Fall and Hold. The strikes are also classified as four main types: Top, Middle, Bottom and Sides. The four kicks are: High, Middle, Low and Side-ways. One very important aspect of Self Defense is the Skill and Force.
NEIGONG (内功) & QIGONG (气功)
Neigong means internal work and the practice starts inside the body with effect on the outside body. The practice is focused on the deepest energy meridians. This will help to open and strengthen all the meridians of the body. The mind can move the Qi at will through the meridians. The Neigong internal power system includes 16 parts such: breathing techniques, moving the energy in the body by achieving different goals (feeling, alignment, transforming, transmuting, connecting body channels, controlling energies in different parts of the body and channels, Lower – Middle- Upper Dantian energy, unify the body, moving the Qi at will inside the body), stretching the body along the Yin-Yang Meridians, remove spiritual – physical – emotional blockages, energize the body’s tissues.
Based on the Daoist Teachings, there are three types of energy called Three Treasures: Essence (Jing精), Life Force (Qi氣) and Spirit (Shen神). Sometimes they also called: Heaven (Tian天), Earth (Di地) and Man (Ren人). The Dao (道) generates the One, the One generates the Two (Taiji太极 or Yin and Yang 陰陽), the Two generates the Three Treasures and the last generates all what exists in Heaven and Earth (Wanwu 萬物).
Qigong means life force and the practice starts outside on the body with effect on the inside body. The exercises practiced have a direct effect on the body energy meridians. During practice the breathing will move the Qi and activates only one or two meridians at one time.
PUSH HANDS (TUISHOU 推手)
Push Hands represents a fighting art and the technique of Taiji Quan. The fighting art includes the applications of the movements as well as free sparring. The fighting techniques includes:
- Strikes (use the body parts to punch or kick the opponent)
- Throwing (involve more strength and requires a higher skill level)
- Fa Fang (bursting and releasing) – the higher level of sparring in Taiji Quan
- Fa Fang requires you to understand the Jin (strength of yourself and the opponent).
- The most difficult is to how to manage the opponent’s strength after you know it.
Taiji has many health benefits such as: improving the body’s balance, agility and control, flexibility of the joints, more energy, decrease high blood pressure and improve the cardiovascular system, reduces the body inflammation, reduces the stress and improves the depression symptoms. There are many older people which practice Taiji on daily basis with many health benefits. In China approximately 10 million people Taiji on daily basis.
ADDITIONAL NOTES ABOUT YOUR TRAINING
When you join, the level of your skill will be assess during practice time and your class will be decided based on this. We have classes for ADVANCED, INTERMEDIATE and BEGGINERS students in TAIJI QUAN. We also run classes for COACHES and ASSISTANT COACHES.
During your training time you can be moved between these classes based on your OWN progress.
INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED students which train for short term, can train only on the main goals for their trip. The same is for COACHES and ASSITANT COACHES.