CLASSICAL TRAINING FROM THE HUANG AND YANG STYLE TRADITIONS
The Beauty of TaiJi Quan
If we were to select two key qualities that traditional Taijiquan excelled at teaching, it would be release (Yin) and conscious absorption (Yang). When these two qualities are applied in the correct manner, mobilisation of the inner force (Jin) is achieved. In this way, Taijiquan uses a combination of bodily development, mental training and internal mechanics to teach the inter-play of Yin and Yang, the great philosophical tenet of Daoism.
Taijiquan is based upon the study of 37 key postures or ‘Shi’ which each mobilise the body’s Qi in a particular fashion. Originally a combination of Nei Gong, Gong Fu principles and alchemical methods, these postures were gradually linked together into a flowing sequence that most would recognise as the ‘Taiji form’ these days. It is understood that the postures are the root of understanding Yin and Yang within the body whilst the movement from posture to posture is based upon the theory of the Wu Xing or ‘five phases.’ It is these underlying philosophical concepts which link Taijiquan practice to the Daoist tradition though its actual origins are shrouded in myth.
The key to effective Taijiquan training is to understand how to transform the body and its function according to Taiji’s teachings. The entire of the body’s functioning must be retrained so that it is the ‘inner-engine’ that mobilises the body rather than the contractive muscles of the body. This is achieved by understanding how to establish the correct combination of ‘releases and pulls’ within the body and then sinking the Qi until a certain degree of ‘fullness’ arises. Rather than being an art based solely upon ‘technique’, Taijiquan trains key ‘inner qualities’ known as ‘Song’ and ‘Ting’ which lead to the mobilisation of Qi and Jin. Despite Taijiquan’s widespread practice globally, these are teachings often lacking from an art that has suffered terribly from being watered down to a point of losing much of its great potential.
Lotus Nei Gong’s TaiJi Quan
Within Lotus Nei Gong, the Taijiquan taught is largely taken from the Yang family lineages though Damo Mitchell has also studied the Chen, Hunyuan, Wudang and Longmen systems of practice. Beginners begin with the Taiji of Huang Xingxian which is heavily focused upon the process of inner-release; through loosening and mobilising the Qi, the Huang method helps to teach the Jin mobilisation methods of the Yang method. More advanced students study the Yang methods of other lines which focus on mobilisation of Qi and Jin through more complex mechanics. The final and highest stages of training include training the straight sword (Jian) and staff.
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Taijiquan Forms Practice
- Huang Taiji 37 Sequence
- Advanced Yang Style Sequences
- Yang Taiji Jian Sequence
- Tang Dynasty Long Quan Taiji Method
Foundation Drills and Inner Development
- Standing Exercises for Transforming the Body
- Loosening the Joints and Mobilising the Qi
- Taiji Moving Drills and Sequences
- Drills from Various Yang Methods of Practice
- Development of the Eight Key Jin through Drill Practice
Health and Alchemical Practice
- ‘Eight Gua in the Arms’
- ‘Five Elements Under the Feet’
- Harmonising the Body’s Qi
- Zang Fu Release Process of the 37 Postures
- Medical and Alchemical Theory
- Numerous Pushing Hands Drills
- Partner Principles of Jin
- Sensitivity and Awareness Drills
- Applications Training and Boxing Drills
- Taiji Sword Drills
- A Complete Study in Internal Theory
- Taijiquan Theory
- Medical and Alchemical Theory
- Understanding the Internal Arts
One of the most famous aspects of Taijiquan is that it is a form of ‘moving meditation’. Though this claim may seem strange to many, those who move deep into the style may come to understand how this is the case. Both alchemical meditative principles derived from Daoism and absorption methods derived from Chan Buddhism are incorporated into and necessary for mastery of Taijiquan. Through consistent training, a student of Taijiquan may learn how to stabilise their awareness within the moving form of the body and to understand the nature of conscious release via the vehicle of the body. Within Chinese culture they have long understood that the root of many internal diseases is the quality of a person’s mind; though it is true that the bodywork of Taijiquan is greatly beneficial to a person’s health, the greatest changes to a person’s overall well-being can be found through evolution of their mental state.