Three Levels of Training
Proper training in Tai Chi Chuan (also Taijiquan) can be divided into three basic categories: basic training (jibengong), forms training (tao lu), and applications training (tuishou, qinna, shuai, sanda). Basic training includes warm ups, calisthenics, conditioning, stance training, silk reeling (chansijing), meditation, and Qigong. Qigong is an ancient practice for cultivating and balancing “qi” (intrinsic life energy) in the body. Through simple movements, breathing and visualization exercises, participants increase mindfulness, awareness, and qi flow in the body, resulting in better health and vitality. Forms are traditionally choreographed sets of movement that are designed to exercise the martial applications, body dynamics, advanced body conditioning, internal energetics, and mental discipline that is inherent in Chen Style Taijiquan. In forms training students learn barehand forms and weapons forms as they are practiced in the village of Chenjiagou, the birthplace of Tai Chi Chuan. In applications training, the student learns how to directly use all the skills of Chen Style Taijiquan in martial situations. There are many training methodologies including sparring and push hands(tuishou) but the purpose is to train the four basic combat applications of kicking (ti); striking (da); grappling, wrestling, throwing(shuai); and controlling (na) within Tai Chi principles. To have a complete knowledge of Chen StyleTaijiquan it is imperative to train in all of these areas as befits the student’s age group and abilities.