Tai Chi Chuan
Yang family Tai Chi Chuan ( Grand Ultimate Fist) is an Internal Chinese martial art practised for both its defence training and its health benefits.
The origins of Tai Chi Chuan date back many centuries and there are scores of myths and legends surrounding this ancient art. Sometimes forgotten in Western societies is that Tai Chi Chuan is primarily a martial art and an extremely effective one at that.
The words Tai Chi sometimes spelled Taiji, is in fact the term used to represent an ancient philosophy, elements of which can be seen throughout the teachings of Buddhism, Confucianism and especially Daoism. However, Tai Chi Chuan meaning Grand Ultimate Fist is the correct term for the Martial Art of which there are now five main styles throughout the world. Yang style is arguably the most popular especially in the Western World.
The Beijing short form was the result of an effort by the Chinese Sports Committee, which, in 1956, brought together four tai chi teachers -Chu Guiting, Cai Longyun, Fu Zhongwen, and Zhang Yu- to develop a simplified form of tai chi as exercise for the masses, young and old alike.
The creators condensed the traditional Family style Tai Chi forms to 24 postures. These could be learnt in a relatively short space of time and gave the beginner an introduction to the essential elements of Tai Chi Chuan, yet retained the foundations of traditional longer hand forms (in general, 88-108 postures).
Henceforth, this form was avidly promoted by the Peoples Republic of China for general exercise, and was also taught to internees in Communist “re-education” camps”. Due to this official promotion, the 24-form is most likely the Tai Chi-form with the most practitioners in China and the world over. This form is the first to be taught within the Chun Ming Dao School, alongside some other fundamental elements that coincide to aid the beginner in becoming familiar with the intricacies of Tai Chi Chuan.
When a student progresses to a certain level they will begin to learn the long form (Cheng Fu 108) consisting of 108 postures. Pushing hands, Chi Gong (flexibility and meditation training) and Chin Na (Chinese grappling art) are also taught along with Tai Chi sword (Gim) to complete the art.