NORTHERN CRANE

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Research Society

 

         THIS CURRICULUM IS DESIGNED FOR MARTIAL ARTISTS AND INCLUDES THE PRACTICE OF MARTIAL APPLICATIONS. THIS CURRICULUM THEREFORE MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR THOSE NOT INTERESTED IN MARTIAL INFORMATION.

 

YANG STYLE TAI CHI CHUAN

(TAIJIQUAN)

  For Health and Self defense.

 

File:Yang-single (restoration).jpg

Yang Chengfu performing 'Single Whip' c.1931

Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial arts system based on the Taoist philosophy of the balance represented by the opposing universal forces of Yin and Yang. It is a style incorporating a series of meditative movements into the body's structure in order to stimulate the flow of internal energy or Qi (Chi). In turn, this develops radiant health in the practitioner as well as the quality of inner calm.

Tai Chi Chuan is a peaceful system designed to promote health and longevity, as well as a style effective in harnessing an opponent's energy to be returned to him in its self defense applications. Long term practitioners experience changes in their body's structure allowing one to release muscular tension rather than to store it.

One's movement and thoughts begin to flow harmoniously while still being capable of using the body to generate great amounts of energy when needed. This principle is particular to the internal Chinese styles of martial arts where one is taught to allow energy to flow through the body rather than to try to create it only from the muscles. 

***For a comprehensive history of the martial arts go to the Karate Tab in this website.***

BENEFITS OF TAI CHI CHUAN PRACTICE:

The tensions and stress reducing qualities of Tai Chi Chuan have become particularly relevant in today's times, where stress and tension are part of the major causes of illness in our population.

The effects of Tai Chi Chuan on the body is that of regulating the flow of internal energy in the same way that an acupuncturist reduces or increases the flow of energy by the insertion of needles in the key points of the body's meridians. Tai Chi Chuan is of course much less invasive to the body and thus more natural.

Tai Chi Chuan is also an excellent method of self-defense especially well suited to a mature person. All the techniques imbedded in the form have been successfully battlefield tested over many centuries in hand to hand warfare.

Some conditions known to be positively affected by the practice of Tai Chi Chuan are:

  • rheumatism

  • arthritis

  • bursitis

  • tuberculosis

  • epilepsy

  • hypertension

  • circulatory disorders

  • osteoporosis

  • respiratory disorders

  • ulcers

  • asthma

  • constipation

  • diabetes

  • colds, influenza

  • insomnia

  • senility

  • lethargy

  • stress

  • heart disease

  • bronchitis

  • arteriosclerosis

  • multiple sclerosis

  • hemi paresis

  • neurasthenia

  • liver disease

Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan is one of the oldest and most respected Martial Arts in the world. Its popularity is mostly due to its holistic health benefits especially suited to the mature person. It has been called meditation in motion and the world's softest aerobics. This course is designed to teach the form and its postures. The Taoist principals of Yin and Yang along with Qigong, meditation, Push Hands, and Chan-Ssu-Shin practice will also be taught. This curriculum is taught to accommodate those interested in Tai Chi  Chuan as holistic exercise as well as those interested in the martial side of the art. Please call for more information.  

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AMERICAN MEDICAL STUDIES PUBLISHED ON TAI CHI AND ITS BENEFITS:

PHYSICAL FUNCTIONING RESEARCH:

Study reported in the August 2002 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine:

"A group 72 people aged 65 to 96 took Tai Chi classes twice a week for six months. Researchers assessed the impact of the exercise on day-to-day physical functioning - activities such as climbing stairs, carrying groceries, recreation, and personal hygiene.

Compared to a group of older people who did not take the classes, those who started tai chi with low levels of physical functioning improved rapidly, with an overall improvement of 83 percent across six different categories. Participants found the classes relaxing and said that the exercise increased their energy, flexibility, balance, and strength."*

PREVENTING FALLS:

Study reported in the May 1996 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society:

"One study assigned 215 people aged 70 and older to three groups. One group practiced Tai Chi three times weekly. Another got computerized balance training using machines that help people relearn balance after a fall. A third group did no exercise, but met to discuss issues relating to the elderly. Seventeen months after the training stopped, the Tai Chi practitioners had reduced their risk of falls by nearly half. The other groups had not reduced their risks at all."*

PAIN CONTROL:

Study reported in the 2000 - 4th quarter issue of the Journal of Nursing Scholarship:

"Researchers at Case Western Reserve University found that one hour of Tai Chi a week may have significantly reduced chronic arthritis pain in a group of older adults. The study involved 16 people aged 68 to 87, half of whom attended 10 weekly one-hour tai chi classes. At the end of the study participants reported that their pain levels had dropped from a score of 3.25 out of 10 (where 10 is "the worst possible pain") to a score of 1.75. Tai Chi may help to reduce arthritis pain by increasing circulation and stimulating repair of damaged joints."*

IMPROVES IMMUNITY:

Study reported in the September 2003 issue of - Psychosomatic Medicine:

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles took a group of 36 men and women whose average age was 70 and assigned them either to a 15 week Tai Chi class or placed on a waiting list to act as a control. Those who took the 15 week course showed improved immunity and better physical health and mobility.

*Mount Sinai School of Medicine - Focus on Healthy Aging ® Publication - Volume 6 / Number 5 - May 2003 - Tai Chi: Good Exercise At Any Age.

BENEFITS OF TAI CHI JIAN (STRAIGHT SWORD) PRACTICE:  

 Bill Stepchew & Phil Perez - Jian Chan-Ssu Chin

Taiji Jian is good for internal martial arts training:

Tai Chi Jian enhances a practitioner's understanding of the principles of Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi Jian is more complex than the empty-handed Tai Chi Chuan form because of the relationship between the number of touch points and the continuously changing nature of yin and yang. In empty hand combat, there are two touch points, so yin and yang can be separately associated with each of the two points and changes in yin and yang can be clearly felt. In the Jian form, however, there is only one touch point (where the swords touch each other) and yin and yang both center on this singular point. In order to create balance, the practitioner must use their empty hand and their mind to create a second touch point. Then, yin and yang can be separately associated with the one actual touch point and the touch point created by the mind. To create the second touch point and distribute yin and yang correctly, the practitioner must have a sound understanding of Tai Chi principles.

Tai Chi Jian practice is superb in the cardiovascular training of the body, especially the legs and waist. Many requirements of the Jian form, such as the balance positions, the footwork and the larger range of movement, are more difficult than those in the empty-handed form. The empty hand form is much more concerned in the dynamic stability of each of the postures because of its grappling (Chin-na) aspects whereas in the Jian form, mobility and nimbleness of hand and foot is stressed to a greater degree.

Tai Chi Jian practice assists in movement coordination. The movements of the Jian form are more complex than those of the empty-handed form and therefore the timing is also more difficult. In the Jian form, the practitioner has to hold and manipulate a sword. This makes hand skills, step skills, and the coordination of internal and external components more complex. As a result, students may feel uncomfortable at the beginning of their study of Tai Chi Jian. Gradually the student's skills and coordination will improve, and they will begin to feel better. Jian practice can yield clear and quite rapid increases in the strength of the internal components Shen, Yi, and Qi.

Tai Chi Jian is excellent for Qigong training and for improving and maintaining one's health. Because the range of the movements is greater in Tai Chi Jian than in the empty-handed form and because the sword extends the energy of the body, Qi can move more smoothly and more extensively. Also, the circles of Yi can be larger and Shen can be projected out to a greater distance. All of these differences contribute directly to an improvement in Qigong training. Another result of Tai Chi Jian practice is an improvement in health. This outcome is a consequence of the concentrated physical training that Tai Chi Jian demands.

 

 

"Tai Chi Chuan training is the one most beneficial thing the elderly can do to prevent falls and the related injuries which usually lead to a decline in health and hasten death."

Journal of the American
Medical Association
May 1995

TAI CHI CHUAN CURRICULUM

INTRODUCTORY: 10 Classes

  • Ying/Yan Theory

  • Qi Theory

  • Stances

  • Basic (Reverse Abdominal or Prenatal) Taoist Breathing Pattern

  • Stepping Patterns

  • Basic Yang Style Eight Pieces of Brocades Exercises

  • First Set of the Yang Chengfu Long Tai Chi Chuan Form (12 Postures)

  • Basic Martial Applications Analysis of Postures in First Set

INTERMEDIATE: 10 Classes

  • Chan-Ssu Chin Exercises

  • 5 Element Theory (Acupuncture Meridian Theory)

  • Spiral or S Curve Theory (Pi/p & Golden Rectangle/Triangle Theory)

  • Second Set of the Yang Chengfu Long Tai Chi Chuan Form (32 Postures)

  • Basic Martial Applications Analysis of Postures in Second Set

ADVANCED: 20 Classes

  • Clinical Eight Pieces of Brocade Exercises (Ba Duann Gin)

  • Shichen Theory (24 Hour Pressure Point Access Theory)

  • Third (Last) Set of the Yang Chengfu Long Tai Chi Chuan Form (39 Postures)

  • Basic Martial Applications Analysis of Postures in Third Set

CONTINUING (MASTERING) YANG TAI CHI CHUAN: 

  • Entire Yang Chengfu Long Tai Chi Chuan Form Practice (85 Postures)

  • Advanced Martial Applications (Chi-Na) Analysis of all Postures

  • Push-Hands Practice

  • Tai Chi Chuan Free Sparring*

  • Advanced Taoist Tai Chi Breathing Technique Practice*

  • Taoist Meditation Techniques*

  • Pressure Point striking

YANG TAI CHI CHUAN JIAN STRAIGHT SWORD FORM: 

  • Entire Yang Chengfu Tai Chi Chuan Jian Sword Form Practice (53 Postures)

  • Jian Chan-Ssu Chin

  • Applications

* Taught only to advanced practitioners

Below is a chart which shows the body's meridians of energy and the acupuncture/acupressure points of interest in healing as well as martial applications. Wikipedia asked and was granted rights to reproduce it in their  Meridians of Acupuncture web page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meridian_(Chinese_medicine)

SHORT HISTORY OF THE YANG FAMILY TAI CHI CHUAN MARTIAL ARTS SYSTEM:

Many legends abound concerning the origins of Tai Chi Chuan, especially those involving the mythical and apparently immortal Chang San-Feng, who is said to have lived anywhere from the Tenth Century (Sung Dynasty: (960 AD -1278 AD) to the Sixteenth Century. The most common legend has him living in the Thirteenth Century.

All legends aside, we can be certain of some facts concerning Tai Chi Chuan. The I-Ching and its hexagrams, the concepts of Yin and Yan and the sophisticated methods and philosophy of Taoism and Taoist meditation are at the root of Tai Chi Chuan’s development. Furthermore, the meditative and martial exercises known as 'Luohan Shou' / 'Arhat Boxing' or 'Eighteen Buddha Palms' developed or possibly imported by an Indian Buddhist yogi or monk known as Bodhidharma or Ta Mo are unquestionably the historical basis of not only Tai Chi Chuan but also: Shaolin Chuan-Fa (Shaolin Kung Fu), and most if not all Wushu (modern Chinese martial arts), Kenpo, Karate, Jujitsu, Aikido, Judo, Taekwondo, Muy Thai and influenced many other indigenous martial styles. Ta Mo taught at the Shaolin Monastery around the mid Eight Century AD.

Yang Luchan (1799 -1872) of Yongnian county in Hebei province went to Chen Village in Wen county around the age of ten in the pursuit of work. He not only found a livelihood there but also studied Laojia (Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan) from Chen Village’s boxing master Chen Zhangxing (1771-1853). Returning home after reaching maturity Yang Luchan started teaching this art form. People started calling it Zhan Mian Quan (cotton boxing) and Hua Quan (transformation boxing).

The Wu brothers, from a prominent Yongnian family persuaded him to go to the capital to teach this boxing to the Qing Imperial princes. Becoming quite famous at the capital, he was appointed martial arts instructor to the Imperial Banner Battalion.

Gradually Yang Luchan revised his boxing from the original Shaolin styled art form of Chen village which included leaps, stomps and many difficult to learn techniques into an art form much easier to learn and practice. His third son Yang Jianhou (1839 -1917) further revised it, developing it into what is known as “middle frame” again making it easier to learn and practice. It was then passed down to his third son Yang Chengfu (1883 -1936), who again revised and standardized it into the “large frame” Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan practiced today.

The Yang Chengfu Style Tai Chi Chuan Solo Long Form has become the most popular Tai Chi Chuan Form practiced in the world today because of its simple, straight forward, relatively even and slow movements. It is distinctly different from the original Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan and its alternating of fast and slow, extreme spiral or screw like windings, twists, turns, leaps and stomps.

***For a comprehensive history of the martial arts go to the Karate Tab in this website.***

Phil Perez's training in Tai Chi Chuan started quite casually in the late 1970's in New York City at the 23rd Street YMCA where he learned the Chen Mang Chin Yang Style short form. He went on to learn the Yang Style long form in 1988 in Ogunquit, Maine from a business acquaintance, Mr. David Evans, with whom he would quite often work out and kickbox with. In 1990, Sensei Perez became a private student of Master Luping Zhang, and remained so until his untimely death in 1998. Master Zhang was an internationally renown mathematician, martial artist and master of all 5 styles of Tai Chi Chuan as well as Baguaquan (Pa-Kua Chuan), Qinjiquan (Chin-Ji Chuan) and Shaolin Chuan (Shao-Lin Boxing). 

 

 

 

 

Copyright © 1998  By Phil Perez [Northern Crane]. All rights reserved.

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