Three amigos go training

Three of us were able to meet up in a suitable location while adhering to social distancing rules. It was nice to meet up for a couple of hours. Having a catch up and remembering to keep our distance. We had plenty to do practicing our forms and having a brief discussion to see what we’ve forgotten, what we have discovered while training alone and sharing these ideas and giving feedback on how each of us can improve. We went through our short and long form a few times while a storm was brewing in the distance. With a rumble of thunder we thought we leave the running thunder hands till next week.

Big stone hands in Lake District

Single whip

Single whip as demonstrated by jon
Single whip

Single whip is common in most styles of tai chi. It appears several times in the forms and is a good posture to hold for qigong practice. Single whip appears early in the form and repeated throughout.

Single whip is a useful self defence move and has multiple variations. Defending from a punch, grabbing the arm and striking their head can be quite effective.

The arms being raised and standing in a horse riding stance can provide health benefits to the heart and groin area.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical practitioner and you should always consult your doctor before undertaking any exercises.

Cloud hands

With large circling arms interchanging while the the trunk/waist rotates left and right. This is a relaxing exercise with martial practicality. Done with small weights can build strength and improve grip.

No special equipment needed

Easy to start practicing with no specialist equipment or clothing required. Most of what you need is probably in your wardrobe or easy obtain.

Pair of flat pumps or trainers are ideal, try to avoid footwear that has a heel like running trainers.

Loose fitting gym clothes like a t-shirt and jogging bottoms are great because they don’t restrict movement.

Silk pyjamas in the park or Supreme ultimate fist

Supreme ultimate fist, tai chi is the supreme ultimate and chuan in this context is fist.

Many when they think of tai chi they conjure up images of people in silk pyjamas moving very slowly in a park. That is an aspect of tai chi and very popular as a exercise, but it couldn’t be farther from the origins of Chinese boxing another term used for Tai Chi Chuan.

Tai Chi Chuan curriculum can broken down into five disciplines

Forms, partner work, weapons forms, nei gong and applications

The forms are what most people associate with tai chi. This involves a sequence of moves performed slowly which can last five to thirty minutes depending on the amount of moves and speed. Within the form are the techniques. The techniques come from the applications of the fighting aspect of Tai Chi Chuan . Forms are useful, they give us a memory aid for remembering techniques and applications. When practiced slow can be a form of meditation and good exercise.

Partner work is getting more toward the chuan/fist aspect of tai chi and many of the principles can be practiced. Partner work and practicing applications can be a good a precursor to sparring and Sandra. Partner work can be exercises and drills practiced in couples such as push hands, reeling silk and executing techniques in a controlled way.

Three main weapons are spear, sabre and sword. Each have their own forms and applications.

Nei gong is internal exercises, in our style these are taught only by an experienced teacher who has been certified by Dan Docherty to teach these exercises or by himself. They can be quite challenging to do correctly and if practiced incorrectly can cause problems.

Applications are the techniques and principles being realised. These are the fighting and self defence part of the art. Practicing these techniques will enhance your form and give you a better understanding of tai chi.

Tai chi chuan has a complete curriculum that covers health and self defence.