About Modern Taijiquan
Taijiquan and the development of the athlete in chinese wushu went through a transformation last century. The Chinese Wushu Sports Committies controlled by the PRC China government have standardized the Traditional forms of taiji, for their national fitness needs and to meet the growing interest of enthusiasts around the globe. The creation of the 24 step Yang style in 1956, a national form from china, is the best start for beginners. It is a condensed version of the Traditional Yang Long form. The long form of 108 postures uses mostly a right front stance and takes up to 20 minutes containing many repeated postures. The 24 form uses 70% of the postures of the long form and is symmetrical to exercise both sides of the body.The form is usually performed in 5 minutes.
Once proficiency is maintained, the 48 step taiji form is introduced to the intermediate student. The 48 form contains series of movements from the Chen , Yang ,Hao, Wu and Sun taiji families. The 48 combined form is very beneficial in allowing the student to endure a longer form with more sections, new postures, and applications. The 24 and 48 forms of taiji are practiced in most parks in mainland china under licensed teachers. By learning these forms, a sound foundation for future progress in International Taiji competition is laid, as well as assets into health, self defense, philosophy, and most importantly research into the traditional classics of Taijiquan.
Advanced levels of training begin with learning the competition routines that are specifically one family style. The 40 Yang style competition set contains a bolder and traditional flavor, and introduces more postures than 24 form. A 32 movement sword form was later created based on the movements of the Yang school of taiji sword.
A 36 chen style short form was developed by the wushu sports committee from the Lao Jia Yi lu (old frame) or first routine of the chen family for beginners interested in chen taiji. The world moves closer to sampling a taste of chen taijiquan. The 56 movement Chen competition routine enables the advanced practitioner to participate in a form that unifies the first Xinjia Yi lu (new frame)and second routine called Er lu (pao chui) routines of the Traditional Chen style.
The china sports committee has also added the 78 Sun Style and the 48 Wu style competition routines that are also shorter versions of longer traditional forms, but contain the essence of each without adding or deleting to much information. It should be noted that these forms are designed by leading representatives of those traditional forms. Some cases grandmasters were included in the production. However some experts disagree with some of the arrangements as well and prefer the more traditional routines.
Lastly the 42 International Compulsory taijiquan routine is learned which contains the four styles of taiji within. The form is filled with the rich history of the development of taiji, and is quite demanding like the 48 form. Strict standards and timing are placed on this form as well as the 42 sword form, which combines sword techniques of the four styles. Since they are International Competition routines there are books and videos out to give details for competition standards. 42 is timed between 5-6 minutes in competition.
In the late 90's a 16 movement spear form was developed using the Yang, Wu and Sun styles of traditional spear techniques.
An important point of attention about taijiquan is that every student should be aware of the history, the past masters' contributions, and lineage. There exists traditional living masters of the respected family styles, they're input, guidance and corrections should be sought out.
All the forms here described are Modern contemporary forms of Taijiquan developed by the Chinese Wushu Associations in PRC China. These are the standardized forms for competition in International and National competitions.
The 24 form is usually a beginner form, yet excellent start for people who want to learn Advanced Taijiquan competition routines. I learned this form from Sifu Weiqi in 1992.24 Taijiquan
In 1995 Master Xia Bai Hua cameto visit Sifu Weiqi to teach a seminar on 36 Chen Taijiquan. This was my first experience in Taijiquan outside of Yang Taijiquan. Chen Taijiquan is one of the oldest styles of Taijiquan. Yang Taijiquan is a simplified version of Chen taijiquan. Chen taijiquan has obvious coiling (chan su ching- silk reeling), jumping, stomping, and Fajing (explosive) movements. The 36 form is an introduction to the chen 'Old frame' first road form. Traditional Chen has Old style and New style. Both Old and New styles have 2 routines. These two routines are called first and second roads. Second road in both Old and New styles is called Pao Chui or 'Cannon Fist' due to its high content of Fajing movements.36 Chen Taijiquan
In 1996 Madame Xu Ru an associate of Sifu He Weiqi was invited and taught the Chen 56 competition routine. This is an Advanced form that combines New Style- First and second road routines.56 Chen Taijiquan
In 1997 I moved to Virginia Beach and practiced Taijiquan with Madame Leanne Gehan from Shanghai. She is licensed teacher who taught 36 Liang Gong Shir Ba Fa, 24 form, 48 form and 42 sword form. Her class was very good in that 24, 48, and 42 sword forms were to be practiced twice each per class.48 Taijiquan
While teaching Taijiquan and Wushu in Virginia Beach, I met Dr. Xianhao Cheng, a Taijiquan expert from china who also taught Traditional Taijiquan. He taught the 40 Yang competition form to his beginner level students before teaching the traditional 'Long form' of 108 movements.40 Yang Taijiquan
In 1998 I moved to Washington DC metro area in pursuit of the desire to join the USA Wushu team under Sifu Lu Xiaolin, director of Omei Kung Fu school. She also had structured a Wushu and Taijiquan grading system whick I recieved my Black Sash from. I had previously touched on the 42 and 42 sword competition rountines under other teachers like Sifu He Weiqi, Sifu Zhou Jianhua, and Madame Gehan,and Coach Nick Gracenin but since the form requires alot of attention to detail, another level of training is required. Even the 42 forms performed here would receive many score deductions because of movement and timing violations42 Taijiquan International form
In 2000, Sifu Lu Xiaolin was teaching the 32 standard routine and a newly designed 16 spear form for competition and demonstration purposes for her students.32 Taiji sword