www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE www.Ki-ways.co.uk Office: 07413 620344 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/kiways An Introduction to Tai Chi Chuan By Ray Pawlett www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE Contents 1. Introduction and Training Tips 2. The Ten Essences a. Background b. Understanding the ten essences c. Essence number 1 - Lift the head to raise the spirit 3. Thoughts about the history of Tai Chi 4. Tai chi Warm-up Exercises 5. The Tai chi form a. Tai Chi footprints b. Wu chi c. Left Ward Off d. Grasping the Sparrows Tail i. Ward Off ii. Roll Back iii. Squeeze iv. Push e. Single Whip f. Closing Form www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE Tai Chi Introduction and Training Tips www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE Introduction and Training Tips The aim of this information pack is to supplement your training sessions by giving you something to remind you what the basic movements look like. Tai Chi beginners invariably struggle with remembering the sequences of movements in both the warm-up exercises and the form itself. The photos and descriptions are intended to help you jump that first hurdle. There is a lot of added detail that could be included such as applications, stances, Yin and Yang concepts etc.. This detail has been avoided in this information pack to keep things more simple. In the early days, that is what you need to do \u2013 keep it simple! Possibly the most important aspect of Tai Chi is a good understanding of body alignment and position. Without understanding these factors, it is impossible to progress with your Tai Chi development. If you can understand the Ten Essences described later then you will be well along the way to improving your posture. The traditional method for teaching body alignment was to make the student practice for many hours so that the student\u2019s muscles eventually relaxed and something like the correct body posit ion was achieved. Whilst there is no substitute for time spent practicing Tai Chi, most modern people just do not have the time to dedicate to this sort of practice. There is however a quicker route towards achieving the correct body positions required for Tai Chi. To learn more quickly, you need to take responsibility for your own improvement \u2013 you cannot leave everything to your coach to correct. This means that you need to spend time thinking about your body position and how you are training. Read books, question your teacher and other students, and watch other styles and sports. The more that you put into your understanding, the more accurate that your training becomes. In modern times it is easy to get information \u2013 we just need to integrate the information into our training when we have found it. For instance, look at a first class archer. You will see much kinship with Tai Chi such as relaxed shoulders, straight back, deliberate weight distribution and coordinated movement throughout the whole body. Why is the archer doing this? What are you seeing him or her do that correlates with your understanding of Tai Chi? Dig deep, the answers are all there! You will find that some sports and pastimes do not follow the rules of Tai Chi. Why is that? For instance, in some style of horse riding, it is a requirement that the shoulders are pushed back slightly. This is counter intuitive to a Tai Chi player because in Tai Chi, the chest should be rounded \u2013 not the back. The reason for this is to do with how the body is used in the saddle. Not everything follows the rules of Tai Chi, but a lot of things do. This sort of research helps you to integrate what you see outside the world of Tai Chi into your Tai Chi and vice versa. Sufficient exploration will result in you being able to feel within a micro second if your body alignment is wrong \u2013 whether you are doing Tai Chi or just taking the dog for a walk! www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE The Ten Essences Background If you have ever looked at other Tai Chi books or Tai chi web sites, you will have come across many different formulae to help the keen student understand their Tai Chi better. Examples are \u201cThe thirteen postures\u201d, \u201cThe eighteen loci\u201d, \u201cThe song of the eight ways\u201d and so on. Usually there is a number in the title to remind the student how many points there are to remember. I had studied Tai Chi for a number of years before I met my current teacher, Christopher Pei. I was aware of these formulae and had actually got around to reading some of them. Just reading something is different to understanding it though and none of these formulae made very much impact on my Tai Chi. At least that is until I learned the \u201cTen Essences\u201d from Christopher Pei. Coach Pei has studied Tai Chi for many years with some of the top masters from many different styles of Tai Chi along with other martial arts and acrobatic styles. He also has the advantage of being able to talk to the Tai Chi masters with whom he has studied in their own language, so that the nuances of the teachings are not lost in translation. This experience brought him to the conclusion that the Ten Essences, originally devised by Yang Cheng Fu, contain much of what the Tai Chi practitioner needs to understand if they are studied in depth. Coach Pei did however rearrange the sequence slightly so that they flow through the body and actually give ten levels of understanding for your Tai Chi. Since those early days of being introduced to the Ten Essences, I have also done research around the subject and have found no better methodology than the Ten Essences to way mark progress and assist in the understanding of the form. I have also found that if you can understand the Ten Essences, other systems like those quoted earlier and many more besides will actually be saying the same thing in a slightly different way. www.ki-ways.com Wake House, Bourne, Lincolnshire Tel 07413 620344 PE10 9AE Understanding the Ten Essences If you are serious about improving your Tai Chi, you need to understand the Ten Essences thoroughly. This will become the toolkit that helps you to evaluate your own Tai Chi or if you are a Tai Chi coach, the Tai Chi performances of your students. The first thing that you will need to do is to be able to recite the Ten Essences in their sequence. Without being able to remember the Essences in sequence, you will struggle to work with them quickly and efficiently. 1. Lift the head \u2013 raise the spirit 2. Sink the shoulders \u2013 lower the elbows 3. Loosen the chest \u2013 round the back 4. Loosen the waist 5. Separate the substantial and the insubstantial 6. Coordinate the upper and lower body 7. Continuity in movement 8. Unite the internal intent of the mind and the external frame of the body 9. Use mind and not force 10. Seek stillness in motion and motion within stillness.