Yang / Chen Style Tai Chi
Tai Chi is low impact physical exercise, which makes it suitable for all age groups and fitness levels. This old Chinese ‘martial art’ form is characterised by the fluency and gracefulness of its movements. Once mastered, the improved levels of precise muscular control, in combination with the increased breathing rhythms and abilities to focus and concentrate, should ensure a better ‘way of life’.
Over the years, many styles of Tai Chi have been created. The five most popular styles are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Yuxiang and Sun. Chen is the original style which emphasizes low stances, slow and quick tempo changes, and fa jing (explosive energy). Yang was the first style derived from the Chen style and is slow, relaxed, and evenly paced. The stances are also higher compared to Chen.
We teach Yang /Chen Style Tai Chi at the Beenleigh, Coomera and Agnes Water schools. Our classes cater for all ranges of skills, experience and physical conditions. The classes are focused on achieving the health benefits of Tai Chi in a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
History of Yang / Chen Style Tai Chi
The origins for Tai Chi are not clear. According to the research of Wushu historian Tang Hao, Tai Chi Quan was first exercised and practised among the Chen family members at the Chenjia Valley – located in Wenxian County in Honan Province. The earliest choreographer of the Tai Chi Chuan was Chen Wangling who was both a scholar and a martial artist. Chen combined his knowledge of ancient psychological exercises and Chinese medical theory of passages, blood channels, airflow and energy, with the exercises and practices of Wushu.
Benefits of Tai Chi
Some of the benefits of Tai Chi include:
- Increase energy levels;
- Increased self discipline;
- Increased flexibility and stamina with supple, fluid movements;
- Increased coordination;
- Stres reduction and control over emotions; and
- Increased self awareness and ability to focus and concentrate.
Although different in style and form, all Tai Chi Chuan routines require their practitioners to be tranquil, calm, relaxed but concentrative. In Tai Chi Quan the spine is the pivot around which the body moves. Forces and energy should be generated from the spine and waist before reaching the arms and legs. The movements are executed slowly, continuously and softly, but hardness is implied in softness. Substantialness should be distinguished from insubstantialness. Practitioners are required to breathe regularly and smoothly. The inner strengths and energy should be exuded through external movements and actions.
Yang Lu-chan was born in 1799 in Yung-nein in the prefecture of Kuang-p’ing in the province of Hopeh in China. There are several versions of his early life. One maintains that his family were farmers but his father soon noticed an interest in his son in martial arts. He arranged for lessons for him from a teacher named Liu. Yang Lu-Chan soon mastered all his teacher could teach him and wanted to know more. Liu told him about Tai Chi Chuan, the secret of the Chen Family, but said that it was impossible for outsiders to learn the form.
Undeterred Yang Lu-chan set out for Hui-hsing in Hunan province where he managed to get employment as a servant in the household of Chen Chai-kou. At this household there was a famous teacher of Tai Chi, Chen Chang-hsing (6th generation master of the famed Chen Family) who was teaching the form to the young men there. Yang spied on them and at night practiced what he had seen.
After some time Chen Chiang-hsing happened to see him practicing one evening and realized the excellence of his technique. He decided to break with the tradition of secrecy and invited Yang into the school. Other accounts of Yang Lu-chan’s early life claim that he came from very poor circumstances and was a bonded worker in a pharmacy before coming to Chen Chang-hsing’s attention.
In any case, after some period of study, so great was his mastery of the form that Chen dismissed him and Yang returned to Yung-nein to teach martial arts. Later, one of his students Wu Yu-xiang, recommended that he go to Beijing to propagate the art. Yang eventually established a school of Tai Chi there, although not without some difficulties. In time he taught Tai Chi to the Imperial court and became known as ‘Yang the Unsurpassed’.
China has a very long and ancient history of movement systems that are associated with health and philosophy. The philisophical teachings of Tai Chi were born from Taoism in the 6th centrury B.C. from sages such as Lao Tsu. In one way or another all of these systems have helped create the climate in which Tai Chi was born.