Scott's Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Curriculum
Song of the 13 postures
(by unknown author)
The Thirteen Postures should not be taken lightly;
the source of the postures is in the waist.
Be mindful of the interchange between insubstantial and substantial;
The ch'i circulates throughout the body without hindrance.
when attacked by the opponent,
be tranquil and move in stillness;
changes caused by my opponent fill him with wonder.
Study the function of each posture carefully and with deliberation;
to achieve the goal is very easy but takes time.
Pay attention to the waist at all times;
completely relax the abdomen
and the ch'i rises up.
When the tailbone is centered and straight,
the shen [spirit] goes through to the head top.
To make the whole body light and agile
suspend the head top.
Extension and contraction, opening and closing, should be natural.
To enter the door and be shown the way,
you must be orally taught.
Practice should be uninterrupted,
and technique achieved by self study.
Speaking of the body and its function, what is the standard?
The I [mind-intent] and ch'i are king,
and the bones and muscles are the court.
If you do not study in this manner,
then you will waste your time.
Development and Training
Forms Training - Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi is considered an internal martial art but in reality incorporates a balance of internal and external principles (Yin and Yang). Legends say that Tai Chi was developed from the skills of the snake and crane. The snake represents softness, flexibility and deep breathing (control of chi). The crane represents poise, calm and grace. Because of its principles of balancing yin and yang, Tai Chi represents the mental, physical and spiritual manifestations of both softness and of strength. The forms are very complete and include the warm up and cool down necessary for healthy physical training. Some modern day practitioners claim the need for a warm up routine before practicing Tai Chi and lack the true understanding of the traditional training as it was passed down through the traditional family lines. The forms train the beginning principles and motions (postures) of Tai Chi Chuan. They are used to develop a strong foundation, mental focus, internal & external strength and flexibility. They also develop the muscles, tendons and so much more. You can liken the forms to the alphabet of a language although they are not the complete language the are vital for developing a good foundation in preparation for further development of the language of Tai Chi Chuan.
Push Hands & Sensitivity Training - This training is absolutely essential for the true development of Tai Chi Chuan, without it one will only be waving the hands in the air and will never be able to understand Tai Chi. We develop these skills slowly so students aren't intimidated and can build their confidence through cooperation with other students instead of too much competition. These exercises are used for developing internal & external power, listening energy, eventually explosive energy and all of the advanced principles of Tai Chi Chuan. This is essential for developing a higher level of skill and understanding the principles of Yin and Yang. There are hundreds of variations of push hands and sensitivity drills that we practice, ultimately translating into thousands of different variations of self defense applications. These exercise not only develop self defense skills but more importantly teach students all of the most important mental, physical and spiritual principles that make up Tai Chi Chuan. These exercises are performed with a partner to help students train the ability to feel or sense the changes of any given situation. The exercises train the necessary skills and tools to truly learn to be completely immersed in the moment. This is the only way a student will eventfully be able to apply these skills in everyday life.
Qi Gung - Translates as energy work or cultivation. Used for further developing the internal energy and external power needed for any adverse situation.
Philosophy & Theory - Used for taking all that the student learns and putting it together in a comprehensive way to apply to every aspect of their life. This is where good training becomes engrained within the students being. We ultimately teach students to use the skills they develop for helping others and contributing positively to their community.
Main Hand Forms
Special Note - Yang Cheng Fu, a famous Tai Chi master of the Yang family, taught Tai Chi Chuan as a Martial Art which can be used to strengthen the body, his three books attest to this fact. There is no substance to the commonly believed assumption that Yang Tai Chi Chuan is solely health oriented and not a martial art. By practicing Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, one can gain the true health benefits.
Cheng Man-ch'ing's Simplified Form
Traditional Long Form
Double Edge Sword
There are a number of other development and training exercises taught to students that are not included in the above list. The above list represents a basic summary of Scott's Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.
Click for a brief history of Tai Chi Chuan
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