48 Form Tai Chi Chuan Teaching
These 48 Forms of Tai Chi Chuan have all the special features of the traditional schools of Tai Chi Chuan--the spirit of relaxation, softness, smoothness, circularity and continuity. Their Practice calls for a quiet mind, a relaxed body, consciousness-guided movements, and combination of hardness and softness. These forms are mainly based on the Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, but also draw upon the strong Points and techniques of other styles. The exercises are smooth, circular, balanced, complete, lively and simple.
The 48 Forms of Tai Chi Chuan have the following characteristics:
The entire set has 48 forms of movements, including the three hand forms: fist, palm and hook; nine stances: bow step, empty step, crouch step, cross-legged resting stance, T-step, semi horse stance step, one-leg stance, standing stance With feet apart, and side bow stance; four leg techniques: the kick, heel kick, slap kick, and lotus kick; and various hand techniques and different kinds of footwork. These movements represent the main cont6nts of Tai Chi Chuan, and omit repetitions of movements in the traditional routines. Generally speaking, a single movement is used once each in the left and right forms.
(II) Circular Movements
The 48 Forms include not only the vertical circular movements of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, but also the horizontal circular movements of the traditional routines of Wu Style and Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan. These include the single Whip, the waving of hands like cloud, Piercing and rubbing movements in the stroking and pushing forms, and the circular connecting movements for downward striking with a forward step, shuttling to the left and to the right, and the right heel kick. All these movements are circular, smooth, and well coordinated. In the footwork, the 48 Forms include the backward step and follow-up step of the Wu and Sun schools of Tai Chi Chuan to make the footwork more flexible on the basis of the steady, light and nimble movements of the Yang Style. In forming patterns, the set calls for the full extension of the parts of the body in an integrated manner. In the forms of Leaning oblique, Standing on One Leg to Mount Tiger, White Snake Sticks out Its Tongue, and Turning Body with Big Strokes, for example, the movements both demonstrate the characteristics of Chinese kung fu and present excellent artistic patterns.
(III) Balance and Completeness
In the 48 Forms attention is paid to the completeness and balance of the movements. In the forms of Single Whip, Waving Hands like Clouds, and Strike, Parry and Punch, the symmetrical right forms have been added, based on the left forms, thus correcting the imbalance of movements in some traditional routines. For the legs, the set includes 29 bow steps (l5 left bow steps and 14 right bow steps), l2 empty steps (seven left empty steps and five right empty steps), six crouch steps, and six one-leg stances (three for each leg). This helps balance the weight on the legs. Also, many fist techniques are used and account for one third of the hand movements, thus exceeding the limit of “five fist strikes in Tai Chi Chuan" of many traditional routines.
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