Tai chi chuan syllabus (2)

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Ability is everything in tai chi

Remember this - martial arts are a meritocracy. Ability is everything. Not knowledge. Not time served. Ability. If you can do it, then you can advance.

From coarse to refined

A new starter can only approximate the required movements. Nobody starts class with good body habits. With practice, a student slowly begins to use their body in the internal way.
In order to move from coarse to refined, it is necessary to have your practice regularly assessed and corrected.

Go easy on yourself

Tai chi cannot be forced; acquiring the fighting skills takes as long as it takes. Take small methodical steps. Proceed at a pace that suits you and your level of ability and commitment.
Do what you can without becoming anxious or stressed.

Be patient but not lazy

Focus on a topic, learn it and then move onto the next one. Be patient with yourself. Set realistic learning goals. Each grade involves only a limited number of topics, exercises and drills.
Aim to pass a couple of new items every time you are assessed. Look to existing skills. Correct any mistakes and remove gaps in your knowledge.

Do not neglect material

With tai chi, you must constantly refine and improve your basic skills. The most simple-seeming and obvious drills are with hindsight actually quite complex and sophisticated.
As you move through the grades, Sifu Waller will be looking for increasing skill in all areas of knowledge. You cannot just learn a skill and move on. You must also go back and re-consider.

Repetition and familiarity

The only person that can train your body do tai chi is you. Talking, watching video clips or reading books will not lead to skill. You must get on your feet and do the work.
This means lessons, assessment, regular repetition of movement patterns and familiarity with partner work.

5 missing pieces

Many tai chi classes lack 5 important elements necessary in order for tai chi to function as a martial art:

  1. Neigong (whole-body strength)

  2. Martial concepts (what combat constitutes and how to do it effectively)

  3. Chin na (the art of seizing)

  4. Shuai jiao (take downs)

  5. Jing (whole-body power)

Without these 5 components, tai chi is lacking something and may not work in combat. Newcastle Tai Chi explores an advanced version of the old/classical Yang style tai chi.

Establish a ranking system similar to that used by the Japanese martial arts. Improve the art by uniting in an effort to create standards for future generations of kung fu practitioners

(Adam Hsu)

Our syllabus

Our 'classical' tai chi syllabus includes chin na, shuai jiao and weapons. Here is a summary of the subjects explored:

Partner work
Pushing hands (5)
Horse stance
Yielding basic skills
Long Yang form
Floor work
Weapons drills (3)
Martial concepts
Martial sets (5)
Weapons forms (3)
Fighting skills
3-tier wallbag (4)
Form applications
Neigong (5)
13 methods
Jing (5)
Fa jing

Full breakdown?

The complete tai chi syllabus is located in the School Database A-Z.

Page created 18 April 1995
Last updated 22 January 1996