In recent years there has been a flurry of interest in the Snake form - perhaps because of the elevated perception of what it can offer. It does have the potential to empower the Tai Chi practitioner to consolidate and mature on many levels. Yet without detailed insight and understanding into the principles and concepts behind the Snake Form, it is no more than a hollow shell with little substance. The Snake form then, shares a common approach with the forms before it and is an extension of the same methodology. Regardless of form type, all forms are used as tools to understand Tai Chi Chuan better.
The Snake form owes its creation to Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak - an extraordinary man whose single minded pursuit of excellence led him to be accepted as the first disciple of Yang Sau Chung, fourth generation of Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan. Through years of close and uncompromising Gau Sau (or exchange of hands) with his mentor, Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak gained vast practical and theoretical experience - rare knowledge and understanding of the traditional method that could only be achieved with a lifetime of disciplined and devoted practice.
After the death of his master, he remained faithful to the study, practice and development of Tai Chi Chuan. Like those in the tradition before him, he continued to explore and thus to expand the boundaries of Tai Chi Chuan.
Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak was a loyal traditionalist but was also a pragmatic innovator. He maintained throughout his life that the Traditional Long Form must remain faithful to its origins. This approach would ensure that lineage holders would pass on true historical transmissions from one generation to the next. However far from just didactic preservation of subject matter, Grandmaster Ip held a firm belief that Tai Chi Chuan had no boundaries and as such he would devote himself to “yin gau” 研究 (to investigate or research) it’s full potential.
This ideology meant that the shorter form known as the Cheung Kuen was chosen to be developed further. The Cheung Kuen was to become the platform from which evolution and hence progression could occur. Merging the traditional knowledge that had