“Taiji Quan and Qi Gong are a form of positive action that offers significant health benefits for both the young and the old. It is a window through which we can observe and impact upon our personal condition. It empowers us to assume control over ourselves and to cultivate a beneficial lifestyle that is both fulfilling and optimally healthy. It is the counterbalance to the sheer seductive weight of the modern materialistic world.”
‘Eternal Spring – Taiji Quan, Qi Gong and the Cultivation of Health, Happiness and Longevity’
At our Association, we teach an authentic, traditional and comprehensive syllabus of Wu style Taiji Quan and Qi Gong.
Whether your interest lies in improving your health or learning a martial art, the journey begins with the Big Slow Form or ‘Da Man Quan’, a series of 108 martially-derived movements strung together in a beautiful, flowing and integrated sequence.
This is the essential vocabulary of movement and the primary means of practice, and is taught in six sections from beginners through to advanced level. Alongside this, you will learn essential exercise sets that train posture, structure and principles of movement.
Together, this forms the foundation of our Taiji Quan syllabus. It takes time to learn, and requires commitment and practice. For some people, this is enough and once the form is learned it can be practised anywhere and at any age. It is a ‘treasure for life’ and a means of restoring and promoting good health and mental wellbeing through to old age.
Taiji for Health
“The elixir of life is inside
By which we can restore purity.
Spiritual cultivation brings great virtue
Regulate it well and the Qi and body will be whole.”
The Legacy of Zhang San Feng – Yang Family Transmission
While Taiji Quan is a traditional martial art, it can also be practised as a holistic health and therapeutic practice. Historically, it has developed in accordance with the philosophy of Daoism and the framework of Chinese medicine, and consequently has become not only a hugely beneficial health practice but also embodies a profound and relevant philosophy.
To begin with we teach the ‘Big Slow Form’ and related exercises in accordance with key principles for the body, breath and mind. At this stage they are not yet oriented towards a martial outcome and students typically decide after they have studied the form if they wish to also understand it on a martial level.
The foundation of your practice is therefore primarily aimed at the development of body strength, structural integrity, centering, balance, advanced coordination, efficient respiration, deep relaxation, mental focus and mindful awareness. It also serves as a mildly aerobic workout, and creates a stronger and more dynamic and flexible structure.
As your practice deepens, it can evolve to become an embodied philosophy and a sophisticated expression of the Daoist understanding that all life is interdependent and exists in a state of constant flux, as expressed in the theory of Yin/Yang.
This offers you a strategy for adjusting how you perceive and interact with the world and deal with the general ebb and flow of life, enabling you to achieve a point of balance between the external pressures of our modern lives and your internal stresses and demands.
In China, Taiji is considered the most effective form of self practice for maintaining and promoting good health and achieving longevity (Yang Sheng Dao). It helps us take control of our lives and nurture our health, happiness and wellbeing, and is an investment in a healthy future.
Taiji as a Martial Art
“How wondrous is Taiji Quan whose movements follow nature. They are continuous like a jade bracelet, each movement symbolises the Taiji. The whole body is filled with unbroken Qi, there is no imbalance above or below, step like a cat and move energy like reeling silk.
In movement everything moves, in stillness everything is still.”
Wang Zong Yue (Li Yi Yu):
Song of the Essence and Methods of Taiji Quan
After studying the Big Slow Form (Da Man Quan) students who wish to deepen their knowledge or cultivate essential Taiji Quan martial and contact skills can study ’Tui Shou’ (Push Hands). This is the means of studying the functional applications (Yong Fa) of the form and of developing the defining contact skills of Taiji Quan as a martial art.
As students advance, they can learn traditional weapons like broadsword (Dao) and double edged sword (Jian) and spear (Qiang) forms, two person combat exercises, and associated martial Qi Gong and exercise practices (traditional methods used to cultivate the ‘martial’ body and mind).
In addition you can also study a rare Wu style double broadsword form (transmitted from Grandmaster Li Li Qun) and a Miao Dao Form (long two-handed sword), as well as a hand form (Sword Fist), all of which are unique to our Association.
This comprehensive syllabus will give you a full and deep understanding of Taiji Quan as a martial art and provide you with essential self defence skills. It is delivered in a non-competitive and structured way over several years, and allows you to progress at your own speed. We do not train for competitive/professional fighting, demonstrations or Pushing Hands competitions.
For the committed martial artists who have already studied other systems, Taiji Quan is an excellent choice. It synthesises and refines existing skills by adding a ‘top layer’ of sophistication and a different way of thinking about attack and defence strategies. It is often studied in China alongside other ‘external martial arts’ and is the preferred skill for the ageing martial artist.