Tai Chi Syllabus

At Absolute Tai Chi we teach Chen family tai chi chuan (Chen Taijiquan) the syllabus includes:

  • forms
  • relaxation and meditation
  • push hands and martial applications

Chan Si Gong

These are a set of exercises developed by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang to teach the fundamental movement principles of Taijiquan. The Chan Si Gong exercises are sometimes known as “silk reeling” exercises and are based on the twisting movements of silk worms as they produce silk. They outling the core movement principles of the Chen Taijiquan system and were developed by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang: (1946 - ) 19th Generation Standard Bearer.

There are 10 Chan Si Gong exercises. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Chan Si Gong exercises

The 19 Step form

This is a short form developed by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang to allow students to learn a complete form at weekend seminars. It is short and gives a general flavour of Chen Taijiquan.

There are 19 postures in the form. Posture names to the Chen Taijiquan 19 step form

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Laojia Yilu

This translates as “old frame” (lao jia), “first road” (yi lu). Traditionally it is the first of the taijiquan forms that you would learn and you would be expected to work on this for some years before moving on to any other forms.

The Laojia Yilu was compiled by Chen Changxing (1771 - 1853), 14th Generation Standard Bearer of the Chen family, based on a range of shorter forms developed by Chen Wangting (1600 – 1680) 9th Generation and originator of Chen Taijiquan. The name “laojia” is used in contrast to the “xinjia” (new frame) forms developed by Chen Fake (1887 - 1947) 17th Generation Standard Bearer. The Laojia Yilu is the form that Chen Changxing taught Yang Luchan and so all the other family styles of taijiquan stem from this form.

The Laojia Yilu consists of 74 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Laojia Yilu

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Laojia Dao

The “old frame” (laojia) “broadsword” (dao) is sometimes known as the 13 broadsword after the traditional thirteen broadsword techniques.

This is a relatively short form and is usually the first weapon form learned. It can be performed either slowly or quickly. The weight of the broadsword also helps with conditioning for the Laojia Erlu or Paochoi.

The Laojia Dao consists of 23 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Dao

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Laojia Erlu

This translates as “old frame” (lao jia), “second road” (er lu). It is also known as the “Paochoi” or “cannon fist”. This form is far more dynamic than the yilu and is characterised by stamping, pounding and the issuing of fajin.

Again, this form was compiled by Chen Changxing (1771 - 1853), 14th Generation Standard Bearer of the Chen family. It was based on forms that date back at least as far as Chen Wangting (1600 – 1680) 9th Generation, but may go back to Chen Bu first generation and founder of the Chen family, who lived during the reign of Emperor Hongwu, the founder of the Ming dynasty in the 14th century.

The Yilu and Erlu forms stand in a yin yang relationship to each other, and the Erlu in some ways reverses the taiji principles of the Yilu. Where the in the Yilu the body leads the arms in the Erlu the arms can also lead the body. The Erlu should not be practiced to much as it can be wearing on the body and it is recommended that it is always practiced with the yilu so that the body can recover.

The Laojia Erlu consists of 45 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Laojia Erlu

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Laojia Jian

The “old frame” (laojia) “straight sword” (jian) is a complex and detailed form and requires substantial practice to master.

The jian is usually the second of the weapons to be learned. The jian and dao are both considered short weapons and stand in a yin yang relationship to each other, where dao is yang and jian is yin.

The Laojia Jian consists of 50 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Jian

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Qiang

The “qiang” (spear) is the first of the long weapons. The Chen family spear is based on both spear and staff techniques and is sometimes also known as the plum blossom spear and white ape staff.

Spear and Da Dao are also in a yin yang relationship, where the spear is yin and the da dao is yang. With the spear the weapon moves around the body while the body stays on the line. With the da dao the da dao holds the line and the body gets the hell out of the way.

The Qiang consists of 67 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Qiang

Here is an exemplary demonstration of the form:

Da Dao

The “Da Dao” (Big Broadsword) is a weapon unique to China. It is sometimes also known as the Guan Dao after General Guan Yu from the popular literary history ‘The Romance of the Three Kingdoms’.

In Chen village the Da Dao is popularly associated with Chen Zhongshen (1809 - 1871) 15th Generation, who was a high ranking military leader famed for his use of a 30lb da dao.

The Da Dao is traditionally a cavalry weapon, but is also used on foot.

The Da Dao consists of 30 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Da Dao

Xinjia Yilu

This translates as “new frame” (xin jia), “first road” (yi lu). This is based on the Laojia Yilu, but was developed by one of the great masters of the twentieth century Chen Fake (1887 - 1947) the 17th Generation Standard Bearer.

The Xinjia involves additional spirals, with more twining and tighter movements than the Laojia, which has larger more open movements. Chen Fake also worked closely with Hu Yaozhen a master of Xing Yi and Qigong to develop the internal aspects of Chen Taijiquan.

The Xinjia Yilu consists of 83 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia Yilu

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Xinjia Erlu

This translates as “new frame” (xin jia), “second road” (er lu). It is also known as the “paochoi” or “cannon fist”. This form is far more dynamic than the yilu and is characterised by stamping, pounding and the issuing of fajin. Again, this was developed by Chen Fake (1887 - 1947) the 17th Generation Standard Bearer.

The Xinjia Erlu consists of 71 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia Erlu

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Shuang Dao

The “shuang dao” (double broadsword) is a complex form that tests coordination and footwork.

The Shuang Dao consists of 35 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Shuang Dao

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Hunyuan Taijiquan

The Hunyuan system of Chen Taijiquan is the system as handed down by Feng Zhiqiang: (1928 - ) 18th Generation. Feng Zhiqiang was one of the closest students of 17th Generation Standard Bearer Chen Fake Taijiquan and grand master Hu Yaozhen of Liuhe Xinyi Quan. Hunyuan taijiquan varies slightly from the system as taught in Chen Village. It particularly emphasises the qigong aspects of the system and incorporates some aspects of Xing Yi.  The Hunyuan system is characterised by quite large and rounded movements. “Hunyuan” translates as “primordial origins”.

Hunyuan Neigong

Hunyuan Neigong (internal work) is a set of standing qigong exercises that are like a pre-foundation to the Hunyuan Taijiquan forms. It consists of 12 postures and a series of self massage exercises.

Posture names for the Hunyuan Neigong

Hunyuan Chan Si Gong

These are the silk reeling exercises of the Hunyuan system. They build on the neigong exercises and teach the movement principles of Hunyuan taijiquan. There are 28 exercises.

Posture names of the Hunyuan Chan Si Gong

Hunyuan Xinjia 24 Step Form

This is the shortened 24 step form developed by Feng Zhiqiang.

Posture names of the Hunyuan 24 Step Taijiquan form

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Hunyuan Xinjia 48 Step Form

This is the 48 step form developed by Feng Zhiqiang. It builds on the 24 step form and adds a more dynamic second half.

Posture names of the Hunyuan 48 Step Taijiquan form

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Hunyuan Xinjia 25 Step Form

This is a short form in the xinjia (new frame) style.

Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia 25 step form

Hunyuan Xinjia Yilu

This translates as “new frame” (xin jia), “first road” (yi lu). This is based on the Laojia Yilu, but was developed by one of the great masters of the twentieth century Chen Fake (1887 - 1947) the 17th Generation Standard Bearer.

The Xinjia involves additional spirals, with more twining and tighter movements than the Laojia, which has larger more open movements. Chen Fake also worked closely with Hu Yaozhen a master of Xing Yi and Qigong to develop the internal aspects of Chen Taijiquan.

The Xinjia Yilu consists of 83 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia Yilu

Hunyuan Xinjia Dao

The “new frame” (xin jia) “broadsword” (dao) is a vigorous form that uses the more fluid and twining motions of the Xinjia

The Xinjia Dao consists of 38 postures. Posture names for the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia Dao

Hunyuan Xinjia Erlu

This translates as “new frame” (xin jia), “second road” (er lu). It is also known as the “paochoi” or “cannon fist”. This form is far more dynamic than the yilu and is characterised by stamping, pounding and the issuing of fajin. Again, this was developed by Chen Fake (1887 - 1947) the 17th Generation Standard Bearer.

The Xinjia Erlu consists of 71 postures. Posture names of the Chen Taijiquan Xinjia Erlu

Here are some exemplary demonstrations of the form:

Taiji Qigong

Taiji Qigong is also known as “Shi ba shi” (which means “18 movements” in Chinese) and it is one of the most popular forms of qigong in the world. It is very simple to learn and was developed as a health treatment for people convalescing. It was created by Taiji Master He Weiqi (He Wei Chi) and Professor Lin Hou-Sheng in 1982 in Shanghai.

Taiji Qigong is based on the movements of Yang style taijiquan. It separates out specific taiji postures from the long form, synchronising movement and breathing, emphasising the qigong aspect of taijiquan. Taiji Qigong is designed to improve general health and well being.

It consists of 18 postures. Posture names of the Shi Ba Shi Taiji Qigong set

Tui Shou

Tuishou (push hands) has been an essential part of taijiquan since it was created by Chen Wangting. Tuishou provides a bridge between the solo practice of the forms and the free fighting of sanshou. Tuishou is a structured form of partner training allowing participants to develop skills, techniques and sensitivity.

Posture names for the Chen Taijiquan Tuishou routines from Chen Xiao Wang

Posture names for the Chen Village Tuishou routines

Posture names for the Hunyuan Tuishou routines

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