Syllabus

The Tai Chi Centre offers comprehensive and graduated tuition in T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

The syllabus is the Yang style syllabus of the British T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association. Beginners start by learning Cheng Man-ch’ing’s Short Form alongside Pushing-Hands partner work. Students then go on to learn Yang Chengfu’s Long Form, the Ta Lu the Left-Side, Weapons Forms, and the Dance.

The Short Form

Stage one of ‘The T’ai Chi Centre’ syllabus is Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing’s Yang style Short Form.

This form is simplified T’ai Chi, yet it contains all of the basic principles of T’ai Chi and is regarded as the foundation for further studies - it takes just ten minutes to practise and is ideal for beginners and busy people.

The form is learnt gradually, posture by posture.  By working from the mind through natural movements of the body we learn to appreciate the importance of posture, to understand relaxation, to interpret energy and to apply this knowledge to our everyday lives. The short form is taught in nine six-week terms.

In Dr Chi’s version of the Simplified Yang Style Short Form the postures ‘Turn and Kick with Heel (L)’ and ‘Brush Left Knee and Push’ have been substituted with ‘Brush Left Knee and Push’, ‘Needles at Sea Bottom’, ‘Iron Fan Penetrates Back’, ‘Turn Body, Chop and Push’, ‘Step Forward, Deflect Downwards, Intercept and Punch’ and ‘Kick with Heel (R)’

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    The Short Form Resources

  • Warm Up Exercises

    A PDF outlining the warm up exercises.

    Download Warm Up Exercises

  • Short Form Posture List

    PDF list of short form postures.

    Download Short Form Posture List

  • Dr Chi demonstrates the short form

    Dr Chi demonstrates his Short Form in Taiwan. Thanks to Peer Brouwers of weiqi.nl for uploading the video to Youtube

  • BTCCA Handbook 1

    PDF of the original BTCCA handbook. Covering basic principles and the Short Form from the beginning to the Roll Back after Embrace Tiger Return to Mountain.

    Download BTCCA Handbook 1

  • BTCCA Handbook 2

    Part 2 of 3 of the original BTTCA Handbook. Covering “Sixteen Important Points and the Short Form from the Press after Embrace Tiger to Turn Body Chop and Push

    Download BTCCA Handbook 2

  • BTCCA Handbook 3

    Final part of the original BTCCA Handbook. Including a “Development of Important Points” and the Short Form from Step Forwards, Intercept and Punch to the end.

    Download BTCCA Handbook 3

Pushing Hands

Pushing hands is the part of T’ai Chi that allows us to work on the principles in relation to another person.

it is the foundation of learning to understand and join with energy from sources outside oneself. By letting go of tension and external strength the body gradually learns to soften and yield, the mind follows suit by becoming more open and flexible, we gain insights into ourselves and our relationship to the world.

Pushing hands teaches us about the spirit of connection and different aspects of Yin and Yang - we learn to deal with force by using softness, it is a way of being strong and effective without becoming hard and tense.

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    Pushing Hands Resources

    None at present

The Long Form

After learning the Short Form, we move on to study Yang Chengfu’s traditional Long Form

Through the Long Form, subtle aspects of T’ai Chi are investigated. Principles introduced in the Short Form are revised and expanded, greater emphasis is placed on quietening down the stirring mind and listening to energy. Students are encouraged to make all of their movements softer, more circular and expansive, by letting go of tension, throwing open the joints and rounding out their postures. Applications of the postures of the form are examined in greater detail. Familiarity with sinking and relaxing grows, the chi becomes stronger and more settled, stillness within movement gradually transforms the practice.

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Left Side

The Special Form is a mirror or ‘left-side’ of the Long Form which contains variations and revisions of the original postures.

It is at this stage of the syllabus that students develop and expand their understanding of the principles of spiral energy or silk cocoon jing. The circular movements cultivated in the Long Form are gradually transformed into continuous spirals which permeate the entire body and energy. Initially these spirals are external and exaggerated but over time they become more natural, subtle and internalised.

The Power Training cultivates intrinsic energy and commences when students have developed a deeper understanding of sinking and relaxing. Through the practice of standing, grinding, pressing and firing, the root strengthens and the whole body’s energy is developed as one unit - we then learn to yield the mind from a firm foundation and to issue energy naturally and freely from the ground.

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Ta Lu

The Ta Lu is a form of partner-work with active stepping and dynamic yielding. With practice we develop an intuitive and energetic sense of space and distance with regard to another. We explore spirals (silk-reeling), the 5 ‘elements’ - step forward, step back, look left, look right, central equilibrium. Also the 4 ‘corners’ - pull-down, split, elbow, shoulder. Combined with the 4 ‘sides’ of pushing-hands we have the 13 postures/energies of T’ai Chi.

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    Ta Lu Resources

    None at present

Sword Forms

It is at this stage of the syllabus that students develop and expand their understanding of the principles of spiral energy or silk cocoon jing.

When practising with a weapon one’s intrinsic energy is projected into that weapon, transforming the essentially inanimate object into a lively and natural extension of our energy. Straight-sword, sabre and staff are all part of ‘The T’ai Chi Centre’ syllabus, practice with each weapon cultivates a particular disposition of spirit associated with that weapon. Weapons training begins when students are proficient in the empty-hand forms.

When practising T’ai Chi sword with a partner we begin with the exercise known as ‘Sticking Swords’ - keeping the swords in contact whilst one person leads and the other follows. This develops into a practice very similar to pushing hands - where one person attacks, the other joins, sticks, yields and then returns the energy. In T’ai Chi sword there are no blocks or parries as in Western fencing, instead we join and work towards not being against the other. Gradually we develop sensitivity in the sword, we begin to ‘hear’ our partner’s energy and intention through the blade. Eventually, this inanimate object becomes a lively and sensitive extension of our mind and energy.

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    Sword Forms Resources

  • Dr Chi demonstrates the Sword Form

    Dr Chi Chiang Tao demonstrates the straight-sword (jian) form, Taipei, 1977.

  • Straight Sword / Jian Form Posture List

    PDF list of the postures of the Straight Sword / Jian form.

    Download Straight Sword / Jian Form Posture List

The Dance

Yang Style 88 posture two-person set.

John Kells (Mark’s teacher) learnt this privately from Chu Gin Soon in the 1970’s. This will be an ongoing course lasting at least 2-3 years, not a weekend workshop! If you miss the beginning, book some private tuition from one of the instructors to catch up.

The emphasis of the course will be on listening and neutralising skills, martial applications and Spirit. Over time we shall examine this set in considerable detail. Students must have some experience of stepping partnerwork (Ta Lu and/or Wa Bu).

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    The Dance Resources

    None at present