My approach to teaching Chen style taijiquan is based on how I was initially taught by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang and later on refined by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Xing. They developed a clear and easy to follow methodology for students around the world to learn their family treasure. Their system reinforces core principles and trains the practitioner to understand his or her body alignment and energy flow. Grandmaster Chen said many times that taiji is not something mysterious. He said that it is mysterious only when it is not understood. I described learning taijiquan as the 4 P’s – Physics, Physiology, Psychology, and Philosophy. It can be explained. I described applications of taijiquan as the 4 S’s – Stability, Sensation, Speed and Strength and the basics as 4 C’s – Calm, Centered, Command and Control.
Learning Chen style taijiquan is like learning how to write. We begin writing by putting our pen to a blank piece of paper. The dot of ink represents the standing posture. We then write out each alphabet, and in our case, each alphabet would be each silk reeling exercise. Putting the alphabets together form a word and that would be the movements in a form. Stringing words into poems would represent our form. When the dot is not placed correctly (weight and position), the alphabets and words will not look good, so the dot is very important. When I teach, I adhere to the movement principle as taught to me. Everyone will begin with standing and then silk reeling exercises (Chan Si Gong) and then a form. Further progression depends on the amount of effort put in by the student outside class time. I strongly encourage all my students to practice outside the class and continuously seek corrections when opportunity arises.