About the Forms
There are many forms, which exist in Tai Chi today and especially regarding the most popular form, which is the Yang style short form. This form has been reduced from 73, postures to 37 and then to date 24, depending on who you study with and what your preference of learning is. I teach the original Yang Style form, without modification as my preference is to teach authentic Tai Chi in line with the great ancestors of Tai Chi.
The form is a series of individual postures joined as woven strands of silk, each one independent, yet joined in such a way, our spiritual cloth remains strong, flexible and yielding.
We start from a standing position and then journey through a series of movements containing all the essential postures of Tai Chi. The form allows us to express our energy and has many names such as ‘dancing with the Tao’ ‘meditation in movement’ ‘Qiong in movement’
The form to me represents many centuries of hard work and specialist knowledge applied to health, spiritual growth and energy. In essence the movements allow our energy (QI) to flow through our meridians and provide us with good health and to establish our root, our connection with the ground.
We capture the spirit of the form by moving through the postures with an imaginary opponent. By working like this, we can express ourselves to the full. Our imaginary opponent can be gentle and contain more yielding than ourselves, ensuring that we never experience victory, we instead learn to yield and improve our Tai Chi through softness and understanding.
Students naturaly progress through a series of forms starting from the beginning or the foundation form as it is known.
There are no exceptions here as all students must start from the beginning to ensure that they understand and can work with the principals of Tai Chi and work their way through each of the forms, until attaining the highest level of Yang Style Tai Chi.
16 Step beginners form
A three minute form designed to liven up the student and give them an introduction into the footwork and the principals of Tai Chi. This form takes just a few weeks to learn but is great for confidence building and clearing up of any coordination problems students may have. The form consists of postures taken form the short form and long form right side.
The short form is the classical Yang Style form, consisting of a series of postures which takes about ten minutes to complete. It is a very gentle form and a great way for students to really get into their form work after having learnt the basic moves and steps of Tai Chi.
Other forms which students progress to.
Long form right side
Long form left side
San Shou (Dance of equality)
Sword form, Fan Form and Long Stick
Internal forms and advanced energy training
The level of Qi Gong, which you are introduced to at the beginners of your Tai Chi and Qigong, is learnt and practised to regain a good level of health and flexibility, while gently massaging the entire body, nervous, muscle and bone systems. These 21 exercises will remain with you throughout your form progression.
For advanced levels of Qigong, please see the Chinese Qigong Yoga page here.