Tai Chi Chuan training takes several forms:
movement and breathing exercises
exercises which stengthen stamina, mental focus and flexibility
of movement that encourage strength and balance, and which contain the
development of strength and the spiral movement, as well as increasing
the mental focus during the movements
the ability to sense your own and anothers balance, intention, as well
as other skills needed for the practical application of tai chi - Sticking,
Yielding, Listening, Void.
Five Components of Tai Chi Chuan
1 - Hand Form
This is the most basic, fundamental and most well
known aspect of Tai Chi Chuan. Knowledge of this alone is insufficient for
selfdefence purposes. There are two stages in learning the Hand Form. First
the movements are learnt in a step by step
fashion ('Square Form'). Once this is mastered we move on to learn the more
intricate 'Round Form'. This consists of the same techniques as the Square
Form, but is performed in a free and flowing manner (the familiar experience
of Tai Chi Chuan).
The movements come in a set sequence, and have self-defence
applications. Practice of the Hand Form results in tranquillity of mind, helps
to relax the body, strengthens muscles, and improves respiration and balance.
2 - Pushing Hands
Pushing Hands is to train us in methods of applying techniques while having
an awareness for our own and our partner's center of gravity. It also increases
sensitivity and improves reactions. Pushing Hands is a key element to learning
the self-defence techniques.
3 - Self-Defence
These are applied techniques taken from the Hand Form.
Practice with a partner develops our ability to use these
techniques, defending ourselves and presenting the opportunity to counter-attack.
The techniques become second nature so that they become the natural reaction.
(The hand form was used to "hide" the self-defence
applications so allowing public training and practise without allowing opponents
to sneakily learn your techniques!)
4 - Internal Strength - Nei Kung
Moving meditation, concentrating on the mental state while holding set postures
or repeating set movements. The exercises produce exceptional results but
on the inside. This develops a physique capable of defending itself from injury
and able to apply the techniques with ease.
(these are only taught to advanced techniques and
are passed on as part of a tradition dating back to the inception of Wudang
Tai Chi Chuan)
5 - Weapons
There are three main weapons used in Tai Chi Chuan the Chinese Sabre (tiger),
the Straight sword (serpent), and spear
The weapons' forms develop the physique, mental focus
and effectiveness of the hand forms, as well as their own obvious applications.