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Yang Style Tai Ji Quan

My teacher, Dr. Wang Zhi Xiang has organized the system of Yang Style Tai Ji Quan into three separate forms which represent different levels of practice. Each form follows the same sequence of movements, but each has its own unique flavor in the expression of those movements.

Yang Style Tai ChiIn each of these forms the most important point is to use mind and energy rather than physical strength.

The first form is very much like the standard Yang Family long form. It builds a strong foundation of correct structure and body alignments. The body’s energy should flow fluidly like the water in a river.

The second form was taught to Dr. Wang by Dong Bing of Shanghai. This form is more dynamic and expresses its martial qualities more obviously. It is very good for push hands and sparring skills because it develops strong internal Qi and also a very strong energy outside the body. The energy in this form flows with a powerful wave energy like the ocean waves.

Dr. Wang calls the third form “the natural form.” Dr. Wang learned this form from Wang Zhuang Hong formally of Shanghai; he now lives in Hong Kong. The energy of this form moves in spirals like a whirlpool, or a tornado. Spiritually this form really helps us dissolve our limited concept of self as an ego attached to a physical body into that state which Buddhists know as “Emptiness.”

This slow moving exercise that thousands of people practice daily in the parks of China is only one aspect of the complete study of Tai Ji Quan. In all the full art of Tai Ji Quan covers five areas. Besides the popular long routine, it also includes basic exercises, push hands (a two person practice), sparring (which is also a two person exercise), and meditation or qi gong. The two person practices of push hands and sparring give us an arena in which we can test our ability to respond naturally using energy, rather than to either struggle against the opponent using strength or suffer defeat.