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The fall of taijiquan

150 years ago taijiquan was the pinnacle of kung fu.

In 1956, the Chinese Sports Committee created 24-step tai chi: a 'moving yoga' routine entirely devoid of combat skills.
The onus was purely upon aesthetically pleasing form practice.
Taijiquan had become slow-motion exercise.


Secrecy

The combat methods and principles behind taijiquan have been a well-kept secret in China for hundreds of years.
Very few members of t
he general public understand how to use taijiquan as a martial art.
Consequently, there are not many schools teaching the art correctly. 

Taijiquan had become a victim of its own secrecy.



The lost art

The martial art of taijiquan is based upon the yin/yang concept.
Taijiquan means 'supreme ultimate fist' or 'absolute boxing'.

In combat, taijiquan uses evasion, stickiness and sensitivity rather than brute force. The muscles remain relaxed at all times and the body moves as one whole unit (neigong).
Chin na (seizing), shuai jiao (take down) and jing (internal power) are the three combat skills.

There are 5 traditional styles: Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao and Sun.
 

Yang style has something of the feeling of 'killer energy' about it; it is more martial in appearance.
A spectator can see the applications of the movements when they watch the form.

(Master Xu Shu Song)

Yang the invincible

The Yang style of taijiquan was developed by kung fu legend Yang Lu-chan.
Yang Lu-chan rose to fame in China by teaching taijiquan to the Manchu Emperor's elite palace guards.
His nickname was 'Yang-the-Invincible'.


The real deal


The secrecy surrounding taijiquan's martial methodology was effective.
Most taijiquan people in the UK have absolutely no idea how to use the art in combat.

Schools offering the complete taijiquan martial syllabus are very rare in the UK.


Power


In a 2008 Stanford University
experiment taijiquan master Chen Xiang generated a force 14 times his body weight when striking.
0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds.
This power is known as 'fa jing' and is just one area of skill.


The art of balance

Balance the body, mind, emotions and energy.
Harmonise with other people, both martially and in everyday life.

Instead of blocking and opposing, blend, re-direct and neutralise.


Advanced kung fu

Taijiquan
was originally designed to be an advanced kung fu method.
It is significantly understated, subtle and complex; with a diverse range of methods for dealing with all manner of assault.
The skills are impressive, powerful,
fast and varied.


More than combat

Taijiquan is not simply a highly sophisticated, intelligent martial art.
It offers so much more:

A way to use millennia old Chinese wisdom in everyday life  
Meditation
An unusual form of strength that requires only moderate practice to maintain
Stress-relief
 Emotional composure in the face of confrontation and crisis
The release of deeply-held muscular tension   
Philosophical study involving some of the most influential books ever written 
A NHS endorsed physical therapy suitable for many medical conditions
Boost energy
Improve balance
Cultivate confidence and resourcefulness
Ease neck, knee, elbow and back problems
 

The principles, tactics and skills of taijiquan are radically different from those of the much greater number of external martial arts styles.
Although all martial arts styles are designed to be effective in combat, the internal martial arts styles and taijiquan in particular, emphasis efficiency as much as effectiveness.
Efficiency is measured by the ability to achieve success by using the absolute minimum amount of effort necessary.

(Zhang Yun)
 

Tai chi for health

Not everyone is fit enough to train the martial art of taijiquan, so we offer tai chi for health also.

Tai chi for health students must still understand the real purpose of the kung fu movements and train many of the traditional martial exercises/drills.
They just refrain from actual combat.



Our school

Our school specialises in teaching taijiquan.

Our school ha
s a vibrant, active training environment, free from cliques and politics. There is a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere of camaraderie and good humour.
Personal safety and individual wellbeing are important to us.

Students work towards a comprehensive understanding of the martial art, using the body in an intelligent, healthy manner.
We offer a very high standard of tuition from a master with decades of experience.


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Page created 11 January 1993
Last updated 25 July 2014