soundhunter

Types of Tai Chi/taiji (updated)

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Edited: Steve suggested the simple and perfect solution to the issue that prompted my original post, but now I'm curious about what styles of Tai Chi many of you do, and your thoughts on it, if anyone cares to share :)

 

 

I've been learning Taoist Tai Chi off and on for the past two years, taking off 9 months in there while pregnant. I was getting fairly good at it, feeling it working internally and it has been a great joy in my life. Unfortunately the teacher has just rearranged the class times and I can't make it to the new classes, I live on a small rural island where there are no other teachers and no other way to get to a regular class. I remember much of the set and can keep practising that, but I'd like to keep learning.....

 

I'm curious about some of the other forms of Tai Chi, the older styles that are more popular in the Asian communities. And then, well, after being in a class situation that I loved, I'm going to have to learn from videos I guess, which kinda bites but it's the best I can do for now if I want to keep learning. So now that I don't have a class I can get to and there's no reason to be limited to that form of Tai Chi, what styles do you more experienced folks recommend, and what videos? We are tight financially these days so I can't afford to shell out too much for lots of different ones.

 

Thank you, anyone who helps out with recommendations :D

Edited by soundhunter

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Well there's a book by Mark Chen about the first frame of Chen style taijiquan here

 

There are a lot of videos on youtube of various masters like Chen Xiaowang performing that form (there are some moves that will be a little different, but overall it's pretty much the same form) if you want to see a more visual representation.

 

If you don't want to learn the whole first frame, Chen Xiaowang made a more compact form of 38 steps to introduce the style to new people at seminars, kind of like a crash course, and the book for that is here

 

Again, vids on youtube are out there for you to see it.

 

Yang Jwing Ming has a book on the 24 and 48 postures of tai chi with a DVD. He has a book/DVD on what he says is "classical yang style", but that form kind of went through a bit of modification from Yang's teacher before being passed on, so it's really not exactly what was originally learned from the Yang family... not to mention his stuff can get pretty pricey.

 

There are two books for Yang Style Tai chi, The Essence and Applications of Yang Style Tai Chi as well as Mastering Yang Style Tai Chi that teach the "final" revision of the popularly accepted Yang Tai Chi form.

 

There are also some books here and there about Yang Tai Chi sword, but I haven't read any of those. Maybe a few out there about Chen style sword, but I don't have any of those either. For Chen style, there seem to be a lot of things out there about the New Frame, Old Fram, Small frame, and weapons, but again, I haven't read any of those. Apparently there's a translation of Chen Xin's work (Chen Xin compiled all the Chen style knowledge into a book a long time ago), but the only copy of that I've seen is several hundred dollars :lol:

 

Don't know about many resources for the other style. Oh, wait, Sun Lutang I think wrote three books, one on Xingyi, one on Bagua, and one on Tai Chi, so those might be worth checking out as well.

Edited by Sloppy Zhang

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google chen zhenglei dvds. He has the best teaching dvds for authentic and traditional chen style taiji that I've seen. He's got everything, lao jia, er lu, sword, guando etc. You can't go wrong with his stuff because it's one of the most popular. he breaks everything down step by step.

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I'd suggest that you continue to practice the same style that you learned from a teacher. Supplementing direct teaching with video instruction is probably better than trying to learn an entirely new style with video alone... Does the Taoist Taiji group have any books or videos?

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I'd suggest that you continue to practice the same style that you learned from a teacher. Supplementing direct teaching with video instruction is probably better than trying to learn an entirely new style with video alone... Does the Taoist Taiji group have any books or videos?

 

That's a very good idea, and I could probably borrow one for free from one of the locals! Duh! Such a simple and good idea, thank you. I was too immersed in disappointment about the class changes to see this option.

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True Adam, although their are programs to learn tai chi through DvDs to a certain level and some of the people have strong enough energy to transmit some stuff through long enough distances... although the quality would be much different if you were their in person and highly questionable how much of a transmition you would be getting... much more desirable.

 

Last thing you might want to take into consideration is it is helpful when people that do long distance learning is when you send back what you've learned and the long distance teachers correct you in certain things... I mean... it can be done but its never anything compared to doing it in person.

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I've studied Taijiquan for over ten years now.

 

Been learning mostly Yang in the process and also of late Tai Yi Wu Xing Quan from Wudang. I've also learned some lesser known Taijiquan such as Ruyi whilst in China.

 

From what I've heard about Taoist Tai Cheese I would say it is fairly basic stuff, and I say this because there is no focus on fighting principles at all. Fair enough you may say: "I only study for health", but Taijiquan is a fighting style and should be taught as such; the health benefits will sought themselves out naturally over time.

 

Re: 'self instruction form videos/books' -

If one has been taught by a teacher and understands the principles of Taiji then they can easily pick up other styles from books and videos.

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I've studied Taijiquan for over ten years now.

 

Been learning mostly Yang in the process and also of late Tai Yi Wu Xing Quan from Wudang. I've also learned some lesser known Taijiquan such as Ruyi whilst in China.

 

From what I've heard about Taoist Tai Cheese I would say it is fairly basic stuff, and I say this because there is no focus on fighting principles at all. Fair enough you may say: "I only study for health", but Taijiquan is a fighting style and should be taught as such; the health benefits will sought themselves out naturally over time.

 

Re: 'self instruction form videos/books' -

If one has been taught by a teacher and understands the principles of Taiji then they can easily pick up other styles from books and videos.

 

 

Zheng Man Qing 37 Form Taiji Quan. Zheng Man Qing, a disciple of the Yang Family Taiji Quan school.

 

Peace,

Lin

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Yuen Biao, I've heard criticism of the kind of Tai Chi I've been learning from many other practisers, which is why if I'm losing the benefits of the class anyways I wondered if I might as well check out some of the other types, or if there was one particular video of a respected style that could be easy for me to learn from if I already have some base understanding of the moves and what it can feel like. I have loved learning tai chi, even the tai cheese I've been learning so far, it did have great health benefits for me, particularly elongating my spine which had been scrunched before, but I'd love to take it up a notch if there was a way I could do that without access to a class.

 

Lin, I googled what you posted and it sounds good and the youtube videos look beautiful, I'll look more into it, thank you.

 

Mal, I don't think I could've learned tai chi well directly from a video or book without previous experience, unless it was a really good one then maybe. I haven't seen anything that great on youtube yet that is easy to learn from though, maybe I'm just not seeing the good ones. I keep looking, admittedly I haven't looked ~that~ hard yet though, hoping someone will make it easier for me here :P As for your friend though, I think she'd need a damn good video but I found the intricacies of the moves to be pretty challenging to learn the first year within a class, I'm not sure I could've personally done it without the class, though I was no formally trained dancer.

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Master T.T. Liang had ten theorems for his daily guiding principles. This is number 2:

 

"If I believe entirely in books, better not read books. If I rely entirely on teachers, better not have teachers."

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... Fair enough you may say: "I only study for health", but Taijiquan is a fighting style and should be taught as such; the health benefits will sought themselves out naturally over time.

 

I agree with this statement. It seems, especially here in the USA that so many teachers have trained in systems that are based upon this but lost their way in that they do not tell the students that each move has devastating martial power.

I am no expert on Tai Ji, but I have been around it for a long time. My favorite form, IF I was a Tai Ji person, is Chen Pan Ling style. There are really only a very few teachers of this in the USA. Chen Pan Ling was an engineer who learned many different styles of Tai Ji and utilized engineering principles of such things as force vectors and moment arms to arrive at an optimal and more efficient strike. I studied this form with his senior student Y.W. Chang for 3 years before he passed on. A truly amazing form with 320 separate moves. Of course I recognize that 3 years is nothing in studying such a thing and I fully admit I know not-much-at all. I really only studied this because I wanted to study Hsing I and master Chang would not teach me his Hsing-I unless I studied the Tai Chi in conjunction with the Hsing I. But Master Chang DID know each separate martial application of each move such as break his arm, dislocate his shoulder, stop his heart, etc. It still amazes me that most teachers in the USA do not understand these things.

 

The only DVD's I could recommend to the OP would be Jianye Jiang's. He has some that are really easy to learn. If this interests the OP I could dig up a couple of titles that I have. He has over 300 DVD's released and really knows his stuff.

I would also suggest to the OP that they may wish to look at energy-based qigong movement forms. There are several good movement forms out there.

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I started with Yang style long form then learned an older Yang short form of uncertain provenance and now I practice Chen Pan Ling's form as well. I really like Chen Pan Ling taiji - it's the form I practice the most.

 

The form has many more explicit martial applications compared to Yang although all the same stuff is hidden in Yang. It really works on opening the kua and coordinating all movement with the waist. It does a great job of building strength in the legs. It also has some influences from Bagua and Xingyi. It is a hybrid form derived from Yang (Yang Ban Hua and Yang Chien Hua, pre- Yang Chen Fu ), Wu, and Chen styles. Chen Pan Ling's purpose in developing the form was to try and preserve important stylistic elements of Yang, Wu, and Chen forms in creating a single unified form that could be taught large scale. Unfortunately, the cultural revolution interfered with his plans... Some people attribute his form to Wang Shu Jin (there's politics everywhere) but most agree that he developed the form and Wang Shu Jin was his student.

 

There's a very good book about his style that includes lots of very detailed photography and descriptions but I don't think it's possible to learn his form from book or video. It's got an enormous amount of subtelty of execution and I think it's best learned if you already have some experience in Taijiquan. His son, Chen Yun Ching, has a videotape out on the Taiji form. I don't think it's a very good video and wouldn't recommend trying to learn from it.

Here's a link to the book which is an excellent resource.

 

 

Here are videos on youtube that show the form as done by a student of Wang Shu Jin. It's a bit different from my teacher but close enough to get the flavor. In my opinion, the practitioner in the video leans and breaks posture too much, particularly in the kicks. Otherwise, it's a very nice performance.

5h5R1ltRaSs

XUOLY7tsmjw&feature=related

 

 

I agree that learning taiji from a teacher that is experienced in the martial aspects is ideal even for those not interested in martial applications. Many of the health benefits are dependent on proper execution of the form from a martial perspective.

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I have learned the 108 tai chi form of Master Hwa at classsical taichi from video. I did have tai chi experience before, but the videos are very clearly presented.

There is very detailed instruction of the internal discipline within each move as well as how yin and yang separate and work together in each move. I have never seen a live teacher go into that amount of detail before let alone a video. He has some videos on you tube that you could search for to get a taste of the form and instruction. I find his form with its internal discipline to have a very organic (non forcing) way of qi stimulation. The postures are medium to small frame which work internally in a different way than the large frame forms.

Bill

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I started with Yang style long form then learned an older Yang short form of uncertain provenance and now I practice Chen Pan Ling's form as well. I really like Chen Pan Ling taiji - it's the form I practice the most.

 

The form has many more explicit martial applications compared to Yang although all the same stuff is hidden in Yang. It really works on opening the kua and coordinating all movement with the waist. It does a great job of building strength in the legs. It also has some influences from Bagua and Xingyi. It is a hybrid form derived from Yang (Yang Ban Hua and Yang Chien Hua, pre- Yang Chen Fu ), Wu, and Chen styles. Chen Pan Ling's purpose in developing the form was to try and preserve important stylistic elements of Yang, Wu, and Chen forms in creating a single unified form that could be taught large scale. Unfortunately, the cultural revolution interfered with his plans... Some people attribute his form to Wang Shu Jin (there's politics everywhere) but most agree that he developed the form and Wang Shu Jin was his student.

 

There's a very good book about his style that includes lots of very detailed photography and descriptions but I don't think it's possible to learn his form from book or video. It's got an enormous amount of subtelty of execution and I think it's best learned if you already have some experience in Taijiquan. His son, Chen Yun Ching, has a videotape out on the Taiji form. I don't think it's a very good video and wouldn't recommend trying to learn from it.

Here's a link to the book which is an excellent resource.

Here are videos on youtube that show the form as done by a student of Wang Shu Jin. It's a bit different from my teacher but close enough to get the flavor. In my opinion, the practitioner in the video leans and breaks posture too much, particularly in the kicks. Otherwise, it's a very nice performance.

5h5R1ltRaSs

XUOLY7tsmjw&feature=related

I agree that learning taiji from a teacher that is experienced in the martial aspects is ideal even for those not interested in martial applications. Many of the health benefits are dependent on proper execution of the form from a martial perspective.

 

Hi Steve. Cool. Are you in USA and do you mind me asking who taught you? There just aren't that many teachers of the form here. The book is good in that it talks about the form and even diagrams the moves. But I agree with you that I don't think ANYBODY could learn this form from a book or DVD. Master Chang had practiced from age 6 until I met him in his 90's. As a senior student of Chen Pan Ling and with 80 something years of practice he was really really good. When I met him and asked him to teach me his Hsing I he told me I had to first hit him. Then he gave me that old frail man look that these masters like to give to new students. At first I didn't want to but he kept saying I had to or he would not teach me. So I gave him my best shot. Somehow, I ended up flying toward the wall where he was waiting to catch me before I hit the wall.

Master Chang was the man responsible for the book you linked to. He and his wife Pat were the main translators.

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Yes, I'm in the USA. My teacher is Huang Chien Liang. He studied with one of Chen Pan Ling's senior students named Chen Jin Bao in Taiwan. He learned the 99 forms as well as Xingyi and Bagua from him. We have a Chen Pan Ling division in our annual tournament and a few practitioners show up every year from all over the East Coast. There are a few schools around that teach the form (North Carolina, New York, and two schools in Maryland - ours and one in Frederick,MD).

 

Hi Steve. Cool. Are you in USA and do you mind me asking who taught you? There just aren't that many teachers of the form here. The book is good in that it talks about the form and even diagrams the moves. But I agree with you that I don't think ANYBODY could learn this form from a book or DVD. Master Chang had practiced from age 6 until I met him in his 90's. As a senior student of Chen Pan Ling and with 80 something years of practice he was really really good. When I met him and asked him to teach me his Hsing I he told me I had to first hit him. Then he gave me that old frail man look that these masters like to give to new students. At first I didn't want to but he kept saying I had to or he would not teach me. So I gave him my best shot. Somehow, I ended up flying toward the wall where he was waiting to catch me before I hit the wall.

Master Chang was the man responsible for the book you linked to. He and his wife Pat were the main translators.

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Yes, I'm in the USA. My teacher is Huang Chien Liang. He studied with one of Chen Pan Ling's senior students named Chen Jin Bao in Taiwan. He learned the 99 forms as well as Xingyi and Bagua from him. We have a Chen Pan Ling division in our annual tournament and a few practitioners show up every year from all over the East Coast. There are a few schools around that teach the form (North Carolina, New York, and two schools in Maryland - ours and one in Frederick,MD).

 

I think Jampa Stewart in Austin teaches this form as well. At the NQA conference a couple of years ago he gave a demonstration of this form and he was quite good.

I wonder if Y.W Chang and Chen Jin Bao knew each other. I don't remember exactly when Master Chang came to the USA from Taiwan but I do know he was in Chang Kai-Shek's airforce and flew many of the planes to Taiwan when they left mainland China.

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