The Tai Chi levels indicated are intended to help people choose the classes they may be interested to attend (not to rank students)
Foundation Chen Tai Ji Quan Sunday Course
In Tai Ji Circle’s Foundation classes, we practice warm up exercises, the Chen stances, basic footwork, hand and body position, silk reeling exercises, chansi gong, and standing practice, zhang zhuang. These are all important foundations to learning Chen tai chi and Shifu Liu will correct posture and movement so that you are then ready to continue to learn the 19 Part Form.
The shorter preparatory forms and silk reeling exercises are vitally important to obtaining correct development in tai chi practice. With posture correction and repetition the student can develop smooth movements and transitions, increased energy, relaxation and gain good balance and coordination. These movements are the ‘qi gong’ of tai chi and are important for every level of student development and should be practiced regularly.
Some terms we are also teaching the Chen 9 Part Form, created by Chen Xiao Wang for beginners to tai chi, the form introduces new students to movements taken from the longer Chen forms.
Shifu Liu will also sometimes teach a short set of movements, Four Direction Fist, Sifang Quan, which can be practised in both directions continuously.
• Chen Two-Person Form it is part of the Duan Wei system of tai ji/and other martial arts, assessment levels that are set by the Wushu Association of China. The short routine is taught step-by step before working with a partner and is lively to perform and different from the classic Chen Taijiquan routines.
The class is open to all levels
After completion of a term of Foundation and during training at Foundation level you can try:
• The 19 Step Chen Form (created by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang), this is an entry level beginners form to familiarise the student with movements of the Chen style
• Dajia or Chen Big Frame Routines, have two forms, Dajia Yi Lu is a short modern ‘yin’ form and Dajia Er Lu is the ‘yang’ second form, it’s vigorous with lots of jumps and fajing (energetic releases). These are routines created and taught in Chenjiagou and in London by Shifu Liu. It is better to have some Foundation training before learning these forms
• Chen Single Sabre traditional short form
When comfortable with the forms you can move on to the intermediate classes when you have had an assessment from Shifu Liu.
Students at all levels should continue to come to Foundation classes as they are important for continued refinement of movement and posture and there will be five Foundation classes a week in 2016.
• 38 Step Form (created by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang), this is an intermediate level form. It contains movements from the Chen 74 part Laojia Yi Lu, traditional old frame and the Xinjia New frame form. This prepares and facilitates learning the more complex routines and is also suitable for performing at Competition level.
• 74 Step Form, Old Frame, Laojia Yi Lu is the oldest 1st traditional Chen long routine, from which many of the shorter forms and other tai ji styles (Yang) derive. It is a very important foundation routine for conditioning and training in the Chen style. It is designed to promote concentration, condition the body and acquaint students with the inventory of movement techniques for more advanced styles of martial arts training.
The form contains many slow continuous movements that use the silk-reeling movement quality typical of Chen Taijiquan. Laojia Yi Lu also contains fajin, which are the explosive releases of refined strength. Martial strategies within the form include strikes joint locks and throws.
• Chen Sword the 43 Part traditional Chen sword form
• Chen 56 Competition Form Specially formulated as 4 minute Competition routine which takes elements from Old and New Frame routines and combines them to demonstrate skills, flow of movement and ‘fajin’ energy releases, typical of the Chen style (there is a 56 Competition Form class on Tuesday evening).
• 83 Step Form, Xinjia Yi Lu – New Frame 1st Form
Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang’s grandfather, Chen Fake created the “Xinjia” forms, so called ‘New Frame’ because it was adapted from the classic old frame. The main difference from old frame (Laojia Yi Lu) is that the movements are smaller and there is more obvious torso twisting, silk reeling and twining of the arms/wrists is employed. This form tends to emphasise manipulation, seizing and grappling (qinna) rather than striking techniques. In Chen village schools, Xinjia Yi Lu is learned once Laojia Yi Lu is mastered after 3 years. Xinjia has two routines the Yi Lu and Er Lu (1st and 2nd) forms.
• Cannon Fist (Paochui) is the advanced 2nd traditional Chen routine Laojia Er Lu (as it is full of explosive ‘fajin’ movements). It is definitely advisable to have learnt the 74 Part Form, Laojia Yi Lu before beginning this form.
• Double Sabres it is necessary to have studied Chen style hand forms, single sabre, and sword form before attempting the double sabres class.
Tai Ji Push Hands and Martial Applications
Push hands introduces the student to working with a partner, it increases sensitivity to another persons energy and is the preparation for using martial applications. New students not attending other classes should check with Shifu Liu prior to coming Push Hands and before attending the Martial Applications classes.
Warm Up Exercises
Some classes also include warm ups of the joints, muscles and tendon stretching to loosen up the body and increase flexibility, mobility and strength.