Mind And Body In Perfect Harmony
Having established a good foundation and understanding of the John Ding Tai Chi Chuan form, students are able to progress quickly in learning the popular 108 Traditional Yang Style Long Form. The Traditional Yang Style Long Form is commonly known as 108 or 88 Form. This is usually based on the method used in determining the number of posture of the long form. However, it is important to note that the essences of all forms are derived from the thirteen Tai Chi Chuan postures which comprise the Ba Gua (eight trigrams) and the principles of Wu Hang (Five elements). This was explained in The John Ding Tai Chi Chuan Form. In addition, Tai Chi Chuan principles and concepts must always be incorporated and be an integral part of your daily Tai Chi Chuan training practice including the form. Practising Tai Chi Chuan correctly enables the Chi energy to flow freely within the body, it improves the quality and strength of these energies and stops them being blocked or trapped by bad body structure or hard muscle. Blockages in the energy system are removed and one can then move with suppleness, poise, lightness and speed.
In traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, the form practiced is classified in three different Jià Shì 架式(structural framework): Dà 大(Large), Zhōng 中(Medium) and Xiǎo 小(Small) with stances at three different heights: high, medium and low. These heights are often referred to as crane, tiger and snake stance.
Dà Jià Shì 大架式(Large Frame):
In the large frame, the posture are usually extended, opened and relaxed with a high stance resembling a crane. The large frame form is much easier to learn and more suitable for improving health and fitness.
Zhōng Jià Shì 中架式(Medium Frame)
For more experienced practitioners who want to get more out of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, they should begin the next level of their training - medium frame with the tiger stance. The shoulders width leg stances are the same as the Crane style but the posture is lower and compact with less extended movement. This route of training helps to further strengthen your body structure while settling and concentrating your Chi at the Tan Tien point.
Xiǎo Jià Shì 小架式(Small Frame)
Only when Yang style practitioners have reached a sufficient level of skills would they be taught Xiǎo Jià Shì by their master. The form is even more compact and movements are light and agile. This practice emphasises on Chi power development.
In general, the traditional Yang Style long form is divided into 3 parts corresponding to the 3 primal powers of Heaven, Earth and Man. You start off with simpler postures in Part 1 of the form which later progress to more complex postures in Part 2 and Part 3 of the long form. All three parts should always be practiced together in a continuous flow without break - from beginning to end! When practiced correctly, there is a picture of slow perpetual flowing motion in a circular form. People are often mesmerised by movements of the form carried out by experience practitioner. It is commonly referred to as “moving meditation” - mind, body and spirit working as one in perfect harmony. With concentrated Chi, you can use it for health, healing and also as an effective internal martial arts.
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