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Standing Posture (Zhan Zhuang – 站桩)

Standing posture is the first taiji “form” that anyone would learn. Easy to learn, difficult to master.  Practicing this posture with regular corrections, one will develop proper posture (relaxed upper body, strong quads), you will become more aware of your core of the body known as Dan Tien. Some have experienced body temperature rising while standing in a relaxed posture, i.e. no movements on the outside but qi flows continuously and unimpeded inside.  The following post described a common experience with Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang when he corrects the Standing Posture – Pizza with GM CXW.


Silk Reeling Exercises (Chan Si Gong – 缠丝功)

Builds upon the proper structure developed from standing posture, SRE is a set of exercises that trains the core muscles around the lower dan tian (丹田) to move in different axes. These exercises will allow the student to perceive the core movement principle of Taijiquan which is: driving all movements from the dan tian. This idea can also be described as “when one part moves, all parts move and each part is connected to the next part”. SRE involvs single arm, double arms, shifting weight from one side to the other, walking forward and backward, and large and small silk reeling circles.

The usual method of learning is to start off with 4 counts and as the lessons progresses, it is reduced to no counts, i.e. your movements are more connected, squarish movements become round. After prolonged practice, your dan tien may continue to spin after you stop the exercises. The arms feels light as you are doing the movements but there is structure and strength (peng energy) in them.

Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang performing silk reeling exercises.

18 Form (十八式)

The Chen 18 Form was created by Grandmaster Chen Zheng Lei for a simplied version of Chen Style Taijiquan. There are two main sections in the form. Movements are taken from Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame First Routine)It is an entry level form for beginners to learn and can be performed in 3 – 5 minutes.
Master Chen Hui Xian (GM Chen Zheng Lei’s niece) performing the 18 form.

19 Form (十九式)

The Chen 19 Form was created by Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang in 1995 at the request of many students from around the world. There are four sections in the form. The principles are based on the Chen Style Lao Jia (Old Frame), Xin Jia (New Frame), and the Xiao Jia (Small Frame). The principles must be clear and then applied to all the 19 Form postures. It is an entry level form for beginners to learn and can be performed in 3 – 5 minutes.
Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang performing the 19 form.

Old Frame First Routine (Lao Jia Yi Lu – 老架一路)

This is the long beginner’s form that is typically taught in Chen Village after the student is familiar with standing posture and silk reeling exercises. It contains slow and fast movements with repeated movements to increase familiarity.
Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang performing Lao Jia Yi Lu. Nice video format.

New Frame First Routine (Xin Jia Yi Lu – 新架一路)

Xin Jia Yi Lu, which translates as “new frame, first path”, is unique to Chen family Taijiquan. This form was created by Grandmasters Chen Xiao Wang and Chen Xiao Xing’s grandfather, Chen Fa Ke, and further developed by their uncle Chen Zhao Kui. Although it has a few more movements, it is based upon Lao Jia Yi Lu but with more overt spiraling. It is a beautiful form and greatly adds to one’s understanding of Lao Jia Yi Lu.
Grandmaster Chen Xiao Xing performing Xin Jia Yi Lu.

Single Straight Sword (Dan Jian – 单剑)

The jian  (straight, or double edged sword), is a beginner’s weapons form. It is suitable for all taiji practitioners. The sword is a more delicate weapon compared to the dao (broadsword) or spear. It is associated with the Phoenix. The jian is the weapon of the scholar or gentleman. The practice of the sword develops precise movements, focused awareness and the ability to project one’s jing or intention to the blade of the sword. This form is characterized by light, spiraling movements that demonstrate the internal aspects of Chen Style Taijiquan. The movements of the sword form is performed like a dragon flying through the sky – fluid, smooth and continuous..
Grandmaster Chen Zhen Lei explains and performs the form.

Push Hands (Tui Shou)

Push hands training usually starts after learning Lao Jia Yi Lu. There  are 5 levels of Push Hands and each level builds upon the previous level.
Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang teaching push hands with his son Chen Jun.