Tai Chi Training Methods

The 2014 Symposium features workshops with each of the Grandmasters of the main styles of Tai Chi Chuan. Since many people only practice one style and would choose to continue to practice their style, a common question is: What is the value of learning from various styles at the Symposium? If you look at the Symposium schedule, you will see each Grandmaster’s workshop described as “Tai-Chi Kung: Tai-Chi Training Methods”.

For the Symposium, each Grandmaster has designed a 10-movement sequence unique to their style which teaches the essentials of that particular style. Learning only ten movements will make it easier for attendees to remember the sequences so that the Grandmasters can go into more in-depth training beyond just learning the movements. Training methods train the way of practicing the Tai Chi Chuan style. For example, all Tai Chi Chuan styles talk about unifying energy but they use different methods and have different training approaches for this. Another example is in the Chen style, they use the method they call “silk reeling”. They have a very detailed way to talk about when to have this type of coordination. Yang style doesn’t use this term. Yang style and the other styles have a simpler approach but do something similar. By studying this method of silk reeling with the Chen family, you can gain a deeper understanding of where this exists in other forms. Also, Yang style rotating and circling is similar to Chen’s in theory, but Yang style does it differently. All the styles can give ideas to improve your own style.

Attendees will learn the five basic areas (footwork, body shape, hand technique, eyes/spirit, and methods) of each style. They will also learn the meaning of the movements in terms of energy development and martial application, and will learn what is special about that particular style. Attendees will also experience teaching techniques unique to these particular Grandmasters.

The Grandmasters’ workshops will provide insights into how the five traditional styles vary in their approaches to learning Tai Chi Chuan while showcasing the similarities that make all Tai Chi Chuan styles part of one family. Through this enriching learning experience, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of each method and be able to compare the similarities and differences with their own chosen Tai Chi Chuan style, thus enriching their understanding of their own style.