Form pattern: versions
Whole-body movement

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15 versions

Each pattern involves distinct alterations to both the appearance and the functionality of the form itself: 

  1. Square

  2. Lines of force

  3. Round (5 bows)

  4. 13 postures

  5. Folding

  6. Unite upper & lower

  7. Opening & closing

  8. Moving with stillness

  9. Jing

  10. Moving from centre

  11. Yin/yang

  12. Reeling silk

  13. Combat speed

  14. Small frame/circle

  15. Empty form

Old school

The purpose of the earlier versions is to coalesce into a martial expression of taijiquan.
As soon as the student is able to handle a more challenging routine, they should be encouraged to adopt combat-oriented features within their form:

  1. Changes to the stances

  2. Different steps

  3. Altered weight distribution

  4. Increase scope for viable application

  5. Smoother

A more martial form is essentially an 'old school' form. It is the polar opposite of the modern performance methods being commonly taught.
The nature of the form is specifically martial.
There's no superfluity or flamboyance, nothing showy or crowd-pleasing. Rather, it is tight, crisp and functional.

More martial?

This spirit of combat will infuse and transform the pattern; making it energised and edgy. The martial spirit/intent is evident in the gaze, poise and every movement.
This is good news for every student - health and martial.

Is the Long Yang form slow?

As slow as you want it to be. Unless you are training jing.

Final version

The empty form is about agility, nimbleness, jing, power generation and kinetic energy emission. It requires a high degree of softness, sensitivity and lightness.
Expertise with form application, shuai jiao, chin na and the other areas of skill is a must.

The Chen form derived from battlefield military movements, where people wore medieval body armour that had to be compensated for. The Chen-style stances were specifically designed to achieve these compensations and obtain a workable position from which to realistically throw an armoured opponent.

By the time Yang had reached Beijing, times had changed. With the advent of firearms, battlefield armour became obsolete; hence, the need for techniques to deal with armoured foes had passed.

Yang and his students had to deal with situations encountered by bodyguards, not armies opposing each other.

(Bruce Frantzis)

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Page created 9 March 1995
Last updated 1 November 1998