The common Yang style tai chi chuan can be described as having slow, controlled, graceful movements. It is difficult to differentiate it from other styles without knowing the movements of the form, as it is often practised somewhat differently by different people: it can be practised in a high-stance, middle-stance, or low-stance; it can contain some quick or sudden movements; it can include high kicks and/or low crouches; etc. Sifu Mark teaches a middle-stance form with slow and controlled movements (the height of kicks and crouches are directly dependent on the height of one's stance).
The Yang style was created for the purpose of making tai chi chuan more available to the elderly and the sick. It's movements are slow and controlled, and are less physically demanding. However, the Yang style does not compromise any of the benefits of tai chi chuan. Yang style still develops a relaxed and focused mind, a relaxed and strong body, a healthy and peaceful attitude in its practitioners, and is an effective form of self-defense.
The Short Form consists of 27 movements, and acts as an easier and simpler introduction to tai chi chuan. Despite being simpler than the long form, the short form still teaches relaxation, focusing one's mind, and strengthening one's body. One can practise the short form, without ever learning the long form, and still attain health benefits.
- Chinese version
|1. Ready||15. Strike Opponents Ears With Both Fists|
|2. Commencement||16. Turn and Kick With Left Sole|
|3. Partition of Wild Horse's Mane (L,R,L)||17. Single Whip|
|4. Stork Cools Its Wings||18. Snake Creeps Down|
|5. Brush Knee and Twist Step (L,R,L)||19. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg|
|6. Play the Fiddle||20. Fair Lady Works at Shuttles (R,L)|
|7. Step Back and Repulse Monkey (L,R,L,R)||21. Needle in Sea Bottom|
|8. Grasp Bird's Tail (L)||22. Fan Through the Back|
|9. Grasp Bird's Tail (R)||23. Chop Opponent With Fist|
|10. Single Whip||24. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch|
|11. Wave Hands Like Clouds||25. Apparent Close Up|
|12. Single Whip||26. Cross Hands|
|13. High Pat on Horse||27. Conclusion|
|14. Right Foot Kicks Upward|
The long form is more closely related to the original form created by Yang Lu Chan. When all movements are considered, there are about 108 in total (some counts have been as high as 160 movements). Sifu Mark teaches the 85 movement version of the long form, created by Yang Cheng Fu, which is about three times as long as the short form, containing every movement from the short form as well as over two dozen other movements, many of which are performed numerous times. It can be said that the long form requires more physical ability than the short form, but when performed slowly, as is desired, all movements can be accomplished by anyone who can successfully practise the short form.
- Chinese version
|1. Ready||30. High Pat on Horse||59. Golden Cock Stands on One Leg|
|2. Commencement of Tai Chi Chuan||31. Separation of Right Foot||60. Step Back and Repulse Monkey|
|3. Grasp Bird's Tail||32. Separation of Left Foot||61. Slanting Flying|
|4. Single Whip||33. Turn and Kick with Heel||62. Raise Hands and Step Up|
|5. Raise Hands and Step Up||34. Brush Knee and Twist Step (R,L)||63. Stork Cools its Wings|
|6. Stork Cools its Wings||35. Step up and Punch Downward||64. Brush Knee and Twist Step (R)|
|7. Brush Knee and Twist Step (R)||36. Turn and Chop Opponent With Fist||65. Needle in Sea Bottom|
|8. Play the Fiddle||37. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch||66. Fan Through the Back|
|9. Brush Knee and Twist Step (R,L,R)||38. Right Foot Kicks Upward||67. Turn and White Snake Puts Out Tongue|
|10. Play the Fiddle||39. Hit a Tiger at Left||68. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch|
|11. Brush Knee and Twist Step (R)||40. Hit a Tiger at Right||69. Step Up, Grasp Bird's Tail|
|12. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch||41. Turn, Right Foot Kicks Upward||70. Single Whip|
|13. Apparent Close Up||42. Stike Opponent's Ears with Both Fists||71. Wave Hands Like Clouds|
|14. Cross Hands||43. Left Foot Kicks Upward||72. Single Whip|
|15. Carry Tiger to Mountain||44. Turn, Right Foot Kicks Upward||73. High Pat on Horse|
|16. Fist Under Elbow||45. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch||74. Turn and Cross Legs|
|17. Step Back and Repluse Monkey||46. Apparent Close Up||75. Step Up, Brush Knee and Punch Opponent's Midsection|
|18. Slanting Flying||47. Cross Hands||76. Step Up, Grasp Bird's Tail (Step)|
|19. Raise Hands and Step Up||48. Carry Tiger to Mountain||77. Single Whip and Snake Creeps Down|
|20. Stork Cools its Wings||49. Diagonal Single Whip||78. Step Up to Form Seven Stars Fist|
|21. Brush Knee and Twist Step (L)||50. Partition of Wild Horse's Mane (L, R, L, R, L)||79. Retreat To Ride Tiger|
|22. Needle in Sea Bottom||51. Step Up, Grasp Bird's Tail||80. Turn Around and Kick Horizontally (Lotus Kick)|
|23. Fan Through the Back||52. Single Whip||81. Shoot Tiger with Bow|
|24. Chop Opponent with Fist||53. Fair Lady Works at Shuttles (L, R, L, R)||82. Turn, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch|
|25. Step Up, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch||54. Grasp Bird's Tail||83. Apparent Close Up|
|26. Step Up, Grasp Bird's Tail||55. Single Whip||84. Cross Hands|
|27. Single Whip||56. Wave Hands Like Clouds||85. Conclusion of Grand Terminus|
|28. Wave Hands Like Clouds||57. Single Whip|
|29. Single Whip||58. Snake Creeps Down|
|In class, the four repetitions of "Fair Lady Works at Shuttles" is often referred to as "Four Corners," as the movements are directed towards the N.E., N.W., S.W., and S.E., in turn.|
|In class, these movements, consisting of seven distinct kicks, are often referred to as "Seven Kicks"|
The fast form is also a tai chi "boxing" form but of course contains some fast movements. This form was created by our Great Grandmaster, Tung Ying Chieh, and is based on both the Hao style (Wu Yu Xiang) tai chi chuan and Yang Cheng Fu's advanced set, Tai Chi Long Boxing. The fast form contains both slow and fast movements, many stomping and pounding movements, and uses fa-chin (explosive emission of energy) for some movements. This form demands more of its practitioner in terms of physical abilities, a focused mind, and much patience. It is much more difficult to learn, and so is reserved for senior students. When performed by an excellent tai chi chuan student, the fast form appears as a beautiful and graceful dance.
The sword form is a very difficult tai chi form to learn. Not only must the practitioner learn and refine the movements of the body, but he must also learn to control the sword as if it were a natural extension of the body. The sword form is performed slightly quicker than the short and long forms, and contains a few more movements than the short form. This form is not normally taught during regular class time, senior students who have obtained permission may learn the sword form by attending morning classes, or coming early on Wednesday nights.
The sabre form is a difficult form to learn for many of the same reasons as the sword form. However, the sabre form consists of fewer movements, is performed slightly slower than the sword form, and its movements tend to be similar to the movements of the long form. The weapon used in the sabre form differs from that of the sword form, as the sabre is sharp along one edge and blunt along the other, and the blade is curved. This form is not normally taught during regular class time. Senior students who have obtained permission may learn the sabre form by attending morning classes, or coming early on Wednesday nights.
Pushing hands is an advanced form used for developing an understanding of the essential meaning of tai chi chuan, "Subtle Energy Response." After one has memorised the form, and is beginning to refine the details of the form, one may begin to learn the art of "sparring," or pushing hands. Pushing hands is an exercise involving two people, where the thirteen principle movements are applied in graceful succession, until one feels an opening in his opponent's energy flow, which he attempts to take advantage of in order to unbalance his opponent, and therefore defeat him. Pushing hands goes hand in hand with the form. Each method helps to refine the other. After much patience and practise one may begin to truly excel in controlling one's chi, properly strengthening the body, improving balance (physically, mentally, and metaphysically), improving internal healthiness, relaxing the mind and body, and understanding how to defend one's self. In class, pushing hands is normally taught using three basic methods: a stationary form of pushing hands called fixed step; and two moving forms of pushing hands called three step and four corners.
Sticky Hands is an essential first step in learning how to feel one's opponent's energy flows. The idea is to keep the hands/arms of each person in contact, following or yielding to each other's movements, attempting to maintain control. One learns how to use one's own energy flow to gain more power when striking, and to gain more emptiness when being struck. This is where the true understanding of, "a force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds," is first obtained.
In fixed step pusing hands, one learns how to apply the 4 primary hands of the 13 principle postures: ward-off slanting upwards, pull back, press forward, and push forward. In this form the feet should remain flat on the floor at all times, forcing you to learn how to sink the chi in order to root yourself into the ground, and also how to use internal strength to uproot your opponent.
Three step is a moving form of fixed step. It teaches you how to apply the four primary hands of the thirteen principle postures, and to cultivate the coordination of the legs, waist, and hands while in motion. You must learn how to root yourself and apply internal strength when needed but be able to keep light on your feet while following or yielding when your opponent is in motion.
Four corners is also a form of moving pushing hands. Again, the goal is to improve one's ability to respond to the energy flows of one's opponent, and to coordinate the feet, waist, and hands. In this exercise, the four primary hands of the thirteen principle postures are performed, as in three step, but this time the defender and aggressor tend to use the four corner hands to unbalance his opponent.
Chi gong is a very general term refering to any of hundreds of Chinese breathing exercises. Chi gong is yet another method of relaxation, but is also a very potent method of improving and maintaining internal healthiness. A practitioner of chi gong should eventually be able to prevent/cure disease, strengthen internal organs, and focus the mind. Sifu Mark teaches various types of chi gong, including individual and group forms. A form of individual chi gong is practised in class every few days, just prior to practising the tai chi form. A group (sitting or standing) chi gong is held for one hour each monday, just prior to the tai chi chuan class.