13 areas of study
   
     

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Taijiquan syllabus

Taijiquan students study all 13 areas of practice:

  1. Qigong (breath work)

  2. Fitness

  3. Form

  4. Pushing hands

  5. Theory & principles

  6. Brain work (meditation, awareness, metacognition)

  7. Neigong (whole-body strength)

  8. Jing (whole-body power)

  9. Self defence

  10. Martial skill (kung fu)

  11. Chin na (seizing)

  12. Shuai jiao (take downs)

  13. Weapons

Exploring these 13 areas of study will offer a balanced comprehension of the Art.


Qigong


Qigong offers beginners an opportunity to improve their health, balance and coordination without being encumbered by the technical intricacies of form.
Virtually anyone can practice qigong.


Fitness

Being healthy is all about feeling good, relaxed and at ease. Aches and pains fade.
Your body is well-coordinated, mobile and comfortable to move around in. 
Fitness is different to health.
Being fit
entails a wider range of concerns e.g. increased flexibility, suppleness, strength, cardiovascular fitness, agility...



Form

Form is a training tool for whole-body movement and martial sensibilities.
It enables the practitioner to train multiple skills in a systematic way without the need for additional exercises.
There are 8 stages to learning form: pattern, biomechanics, shen, martial applications, whole-body strength, whole-body movement, whole-body power, natural-feeling body use.
Each form must also be mirrored.


Pushing hands

Pushing hands provides an opportunity for biofeedback.
The student is required to incorporate a wide range of technical skills in a relatively risk free training exercise.


Theory & principles

Taijiquan theory and principles must be understood and incorporated into your training.
Martial theory must be fully explored and implemented.
Slow motion movement, chilled out exercise or dance cannot be considered taijiquan. The Art adheres to specific parameters, guidelines and clear rules of practice.
An in-depth understanding of Taoism is also necessary. Taoism sprang from the observation of what is.
From watching reality and understanding its character; the how, the Way, the essence.
It is about seeing what is in front of you and then moving in accord with what is actually taking place.


Brain work


Working the brain is the real key to success.
A strong, pliable, flexible, adaptive brain is required for learning this art.
Brain work includes
: meditation, awareness, clarity, composure, metacognition, constructive reading, memory and rest.


Neigong

Taijiquan requires the student to move the body in an unusual manner.
Many students never realise this and do the Art as though it were yoga, wing chun or karate.
As a student progresses through the syllabus, the neigong concerns become increasingly intricate and subtle: with a small movement producing a disproportionately large effect.


Jing


Jing can be translated to mean 'power'.
Yet it is not power that you own. It is power you can use. There is a difference.
This quality of borrowing power is 'te' in Taoism.
For a very long time, the student need only concern themselves with the cultivation of 'obvious' jing.
Gaining whole-body power and bona fide energy expression will be an ample challenge.


Self defence

Self defence is the process of doing whatever you have to do in order to survive a hostile attack.
This is very different from fighting or brawling.
It is also different from learning a conventional martial art.
Defending yourself is about getting out of a bad situation, preferably unharmed. This may not even involve combat.


Martial skill

Kung fu is about discovering how to use the taijiquan.
Without this knowledge and ability, a student is doomed to repeat a meaningless set of movements that serve no real purpose.
The main martial skills are: strategy & tactics, close-range combat, kicks, punches, palm strikes, finger strikes, elbows, knees, throws, seizing, joint locks, trapping, escape from holds, grappling whilst standing and on the floor, being hit and striking.
Unlike self defence, martial skill is not just about avoiding harm. It teaches skills from Ancient China and not everything involves 'reasonable force'...


Chin na

Chin na involves: applications, misplacing the bones, dividing the muscles, sealing the breath, cavity strikes, joint manipulation/leverage, breaking, splitting, tearing, finishing off and flowing.
Students learn how to counter-act all chin na applications.



Shuai jiao

Shuai jiao is concerned with escapes, applications, combat throws, tripping, sweeping, grappling whilst standing and on the floor.


Weapons

We focus on sticks because they are a defensive weapon.
Stick work involves a rattan stick for drilling, form and partnered training.


Instructing

The process of passing-on knowledge requires the student to re-think their own taijiquan and examine how to explain things in a manner that makes sense to somebody else.
This leads to a better understanding of the Art.
Teacher training takes time and necessitates the watchful guidance of a skilled instructor.

Remember, when moving, there is no place that does not move.
When still, there is no place that is not still.

(Wu Yu-hsiang)

Taijiquan fighting method

A student seeks to explore all 13 areas of study.
The experience will be quite an adventure; demanding patience, tenacity, enthusiasm and curiosity.
There are many mysteries to be explored and secrets to be uncovered.


Jigsaw

Sifu Waller has designed the syllabus so that everything is interlocking and interconnected.
The syllabus is like an enormous
jigsaw.


Page created 29 May 1996
Last updated 04 September 2017