The Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi Training Centre
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Tai Chi Chaun
  • An Introduction to Tai Chi & its History
  • About Chen Style Tai Chi
  • About Yang Style Tai Chi
  • Tai Chi as a Martial Art & Spiritual Practice
  • The Chen Tai Chi Lineage
  • A Summary of the Health Benefits of Tai Chi Practice
  • Benefits of practicing Tai Chi


  • Wang Zhi ping in a Yang Posture
    What is Tai Chi?

    Tai Chi Chaun (Taiji Quan) is a way of life that has been a practiced by the Chinese for thousands of years. Literally, it translates to “The Supreme Ultimate Art of the Fist”).

    Tai Chi is much more than a martial art; it can actually be defined as a method of accessing and sustaining harmony with and the universal energy of the universe.

    Tai Chi is the practical act of cultivating, purifying, and circulating Qi (life force energy) for healing and healthy life that is deeply rooted in the very nature of the earth and the immense universe in which spreads.

    Tai Chi is connected meditation with the mind quiet and still yet the eyes are open and the body is active; it is perfection in movement- poetry in motion; it is internal strength and power manifest.

    Tai Chi is a time-tested art which gently exercises the body, the energy flow and the mind, and can be used for health, longevity, self defense, mental freshness and spiritual development, irrespective of race, culture or religion.

    Tai Chi can be the path to your highest personal development, for those who wish to reach for the “Ultimate” in their life

    The chinese boxing which spreads far and wide among the masses. It is characterized by its soft and slow movements. Its techniques can be used both for defense and for improving health and prevennting diseases.

    Tai Chi History
    Todays Tai Chi Quan is abstracted primarily from modified the Chinese Taoist Wu-tang Mountain Temple spiritual tradition and the Chinese Shaolin Temple System (based on a combination of Kungfu and Buddhist Meditations). These teachings have been rooted in Chinese culture for over a thousand years.

    There are two main styles in existence today:

    - Chen Style originating ~ 1640 in Chenjiagou Village, China

    -Yang Style originating from Chen in ~ 1820

    Chen Tai Chi was orginally created by Chen Wang Ting, By combined his knowledge of Yin/Yang theory Chinese Medicine Qi theory, ‘Tu Na’ (Exhalation of Dirty Qi, Inhalation of Clean Qi) and Internal Qi Gong (Chi Kung) with the family Kung Fu teachings and created Tai Chi, as we know it today. The Chen style of Tai Chi, known for its circular Movements with alternating rhythm, wide-deep stances, and Fah Jing (explosive power) moves,

    The Chen style is best known for its martial aspects. It most closely resembles Shaolin Kungfu in its demonstration. Its emphasis is the Yin-Yang principle and the flow of internal energy. In the last century Chen Tai Chi developed significantly with the addition of Xin Jia.

    Wang Zhi Ping in Chen Posture
    A style of Tai Chi characterized by its two routines, one is softness outside but hardness inside, the other is hardness outside but softness inside. Its features are combination of movement and stillness, and close corrdination of will, body and biological energy.

    Yang Style Tai Chi was originally created by Yang Lu Cheng. The Yang style of Tai Chi, known for its steady, ballet-like, slow-paced, large circular movements with a fairly high stance, Originally a Chen style practitioner, he was drafted by the Manchurian/Chinese Royal family into Imperial Service to teach Tai Chi to the Imperial family and other Nobility. He modified the traditional Chen Tai Chi form to better suit the Nobility and spent his life publicly teaching this form.

    In the past century the Yang Style has been further altered to make it easier to learn for and more wide spread to the general public. The Simplified Yang Style 24 and the Standardized Competition Yang Style 42 (a mix of Yang and Chen Styles) are the result.

    The Yang style is the most widely practiced, to the extent that many people have the mistaken impression that is the only form of Tai Chi Chaun. Yang style emphasizes softness and lightness in movement and is what responsible for the beauty and grace associated with this form.

    Wang Zhi Ping in a Yang Posture

    A style of Tai Chi originated from Yang family and characterized by its grand posture, unfolding movement, close structure and both softness and hardness. It has been the most popular and widespread style since modern times.

    Tai Chi has a strong tradition and foundation yet is alive and changing all the time with each master adapting it to the needs of the time.

    The Wu and Sun styles of Tai Chi are little known, highly specialized forms of Tai Chi with few practioners. Tai Chi is not only popular in China, England, France, Sweden and Singapore. It has become an international medical and health sport.

    So what is it?

    Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art system which places emphasis on the development and control of Chi (Consciousness) energy within the body.

    This is achieved with the aid of forms / sequences of movements which are practised in a meditative state of mind.

    The practitioner aspires to develop a state of ‘fang sung’ within his/her body and mind.

    For Tai Chi, this state can best be described as a combination of relaxation, alertness, poise and balance.

    A state of being totally in the ‘Now’ in body and mind.

    Wang Zhi Ping sometimes describes it by holding a glass. The tension in your body should be such that the slightest relaxation of your tension level will cause the glass to drop.

    Tai Ci constantly brings up the challenges of polarities, of hardness and softness, of power and subtlety of yin and yang (the Tai Chi).

    Committed practice teaches the practitioner to surrender to the Tao that can guide one between the yin and the yang in the truth of the moment.

    Wang Zhi Ping calls this natural movement, it is spontaneous and unaffected without conceptual ‘faking’.

    It is a spiritual perfection path of the highest order for those who wish to reach for the Ultimate in their life.

    About Chen Style Tai Chi

    Chen Style Tai Chi is amazingly beautiful to do and to watch when performed well. But it is extremely difficult.

    The movements are circular, the stance is low and the pace alternates between periods of slower and quicker movement. There are also sudden releases of power called Fah Jing, the Chen explosive movements.

    The martial applications are quite evident in Chen yet it is a complete internal martial art unlike Kung Fu.

    Chen Tai Chi is divided up into the Old Frame (Lao Jia) and New Frame (Xin Jia).

    Each Frame consists of the First Way (Yi Lu) and the Second Way ( Er Lu).

    For each of these there are many hand and weapon Tai Chi forms

    The Yangshuo Tai Chi School mainly teaches Lao Jia Yi Lu although Wang Zhi Ping, Chang Chang and Cheng he Chang also practise Lao Jia Er Lu.

    Er Lu is more demanding and explosive than Yi Lu which contains the power more, making it harder to learn well. It may be offered to appropriate students but Wang Zhi Ping believes in learning the basics of Fang Sung movement and relaxed Fah Jing movements competently before tackling such difficult Tai Chi.

    This is also true for Martial Applications. The teachers can teach interested students the applications behind each movement they learn but Wang Zhi Ping is generally reluctant to teach too much until the student displays sufficient competence in the Tai Chi itself for this knowledge to be of any relevance. It’s important to learn to relax first and be empty.

    Wang Zhi Ping and Chang Chang in a Chen Martial Posture
    Chang Chang and Tian Gan showing Martial Chen Tai Chi

    The New Frame of Chen (Xin Jia) created by Chen Fake is much more complicated to learn and practise and is only relevant to the highest level of practitioner with a total life commitment to Tai Chi. We can demonstrate Xin Jia along with many of the other difficult Tai Chi Forms.

    About Yang style Tai Chi

    Yang Style Tai Chi is also beautiful to do and to watch but in a different way to the Chen.

    It’s beauty is the simplicity of its movements which are easy to learn and perform even when a person’s health is not that strong.

    The movements are more linear, the stance is fairly high and the pace remains fairly even and gentle.

    Hence it achieves the purpose for which it was created which was to be a tool for achieving health, accessible for the majority of people.

    By being less demanding physically, it allows the practitioner to focus directly on achieving softness / Fang Sung in the movement and a state of meditative peace.

    WangZhiPing in a Yang Posture
    The school teaches Simplified Yang Style 24 which is ideal as a beginners Tai Chi. This style is taught all over China in the parks, but its important to find a teacher who can teach the movment with internal Qi otherwise it becomes simply a form of dance.

    Tai Chi as a Martial Art vs Spiritual Practice (Way of Zen or Tao).

    One of the interesting aspects of Tai Chi is that it manages to function both as a Martial Art and a Spiritual Practice. As such it attracts people from both backgrounds and to some extent they meet within the practice of Chen Tai Chi.

    Opposed to the External martial arts, such as Kung Fu or Karate, which rely on the limited power of strength and speed to exert their force, Tai Chi is a Internal martial art drawing from the unlimited power of the stilled-mind connected with the infinite universal energy source to produce feats of strength and action, far above what the average body is capable of, with wisdom and a peace of mind unsurpassed. As such, Tai Chi attracts people from both backgrounds.

    Those from a more contemplative, meditative interest can benefit well from the Yang Style and then grow into the more ‘feeling’ side of Chen style.

    Those from a more martial background can find their needs met in the Chen with fast application and eventually martial applications. Most of the Chen practitioners in China are more on the martial side.

    In the end though both paths combine and good practice at the highest level requires aspects of both.

    Wang Zhi Ping has a strong interest in ‘Natural’ Movement with feeling as well as martial Tai Chi and is a long term practitioner of Internal Qi Gong or Nei Gong. He is unusual perhaps in his empasis on the feeling side.

    Likewise, though the Internal Energy Qi Gong and the Tai Chi is totally meditative, the student benefited greatly from sitting Meditative retreats which developed the Hara or Dan Tien and quiet mind and Spontaneous Qi Gong work.

    Chen Style Tai Chi Lineage

    Tai Chi has a concept of lineage. The progressive line of master teachers, with each learning from the previous generation masters. Chen Wang Ting (1600 –1680), [9th Generation] founded Chen Tai Chi in the 1600’s. Previous to this the Chen family practiced hard Kungfu. For many generations it was kept private within the Chen fmaily. Even so over time the lineage has branched out and so there are many lines now.

    Each student’s Tai Chi is subtely different from the teachers and even students with the same teacher will make the Tai Chi their own and so over time it has developed.

    In the late 19th Century, the Chen family produced their most famous practioner since Chen Wang Ting, Chen Fake (1887 – 1957 ) [17th Generation]. He developed the Tai Chi to a higher level, creating Xin Jia and no doubt improved Lao Jia and the whole of the Chen Arts.

    One of Chen Fake’s main student was Chen Zhou Pei (1928-1981)[18th]. Chen Zhou Pei taught many good students including Chen Xiao Wang, Wang Xi An and Wang Zhi Ping’s teacher.

    What are the Health Benefits of Tai Chi?
    Mind

    Good practice requires a flowing, detached, conscious, meditational state of mind.

    This state works to free the mind from static negative mental patterns and leads to greater consciousness.

    This is very helpful with anxiety, depression and anger patterns.

    Generally one develops greater stillness of mind in every day life and greater mental energy.

    It is also normal tofinish a session feeling happy!

    Body

    During practise Chi / consciousness energy circulates throughout all of the energy merideans of the body.

    Old physical tensions in the body and trapped energy are opened up allowing the practitioner to recover their vitality.

    Performance of the forms requires a high level of relaxation which teaches relaxation in every day life with all of its benefits.

    The exercise develops strength in the legs and so is very good for developing grounding in a persons energy and rebuilding physical health.

    The body gets exercised without straining the heart or anything else and so it is ideal for people with weak health.

    In fact it is of all round benefit to the circulatory and digestive systems strenghtening the internal organs including the heart and liver and nourishing the whole body.

    Chen Tai Chi as oppose to Yang works to develop massive relaxed strength in the legs and is a path to a state well beyond ‘good health’.

    Generally Tai Chi will assist in many conditions of dis-ease because it helps the mind and body learn to be at ease together.

    What are the Benefits of Tai Chi for Bodyworkers/Therapists?
    General Health

    One of the most obvious issues for therapists is the importance of maintaining ones own health and energy.

    This ability to recharge and clean your energy is essential if you are spending much time round people who by their very nature are ‘low on energy’ and you’ve been opening yourself to them.

    As you Tai Chi progresses, the time required to recharge becomes less and less. Possibly this can reach a state of free flow in which one rarely gets tired while allowing the energy to flow through you.

    Flexibility, Posture and Coordinated Use of the Whole Body

    Its interesting to watch different people doing similar physical things because you’re then able to see how well they use their body and how well it works together as a single coordinated organism. Good Tai Chi practice develops skillful body use.

    For table based massage, the whole body needs to be involved in each stroke, and ones coordinated shifting body weight can provide the power rather than just the arm and shoulder muscles. This also involves a lowered posture which requires strength in the thighs.

    The experience of the massage is very different for the receiver when this whole body energy is used, and I don’t believe it takes so much from the giver. The giving experience is more relaxed and heavy rather than tense and aching – very different for both people.

    Tai Chi naturally develops all of these skills, legs build strength gradually as one performs the forms time and time again. Natural coordination just comes with time – this is a primary focus with Tai Chi. Posture improves gradually as your body learns to relax and let go more deeply. The Tai chi forms are made up of many individual stances which really challenge bad posture (with a good teacher and plenty of self –effort).

    Shiatsu with its kneeling emphasis really requires flexibility to relax and be comfortable. Tai Chi works well to get Chi flowing better and this turns into flexibility eventually. Natural conscious movement using Chi seems to produce stillness and meditation inside, stillness produces movement inside. Both seem to develop together and without one noticing.

    Healing Energy / Consciousness and Emptiness

    The difference between Chi Kung and Tai Chi is the greater opportunity for emptiness and surrender that Tai Chi gives. Both cultivate Qi, but there’s just something else there to be discovered in the movement which is very interesting. It has similarities to long meditation sittings yet allows involvement with nature at the same time. In fact it feels very Shamanic.

    The capacity for emptiness and space is probably the most subtle, yet significant aspect of therapeutic contact and relationship. It seems to give ones Chi a more refined quality and is not necessarily the same as abundance of Chi. Both would be nice.

    Concentration

    One of the hardest skills for the therapist is to be present with the client 100%. As a form of meditation, with an awful lot to concentrate on Tai Chi really does develop concentration skills and the ability to relax in the now. You really can’t do it if you don’t start to pick this up.

    At the same time, the concentration isn’t just single pointed focus as in some meditations, but a continuous flowing concentration that you just have to surrender into and let go. this is particular useful for intuitive bodywork.

    So why not learn Tai Chi……
    The Yangshuo(West Street)Taiji Quan Health Centre,
    Bao Quan Road,
    Yangshuo,
    Guangxi GuiLin,
    China

    Email us:
    taichiqigongschoolchina@gmail.com

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