The Taijiquan sequence (known as ‘The Form’) was a set of slow motion postures strung together without interruption.
This is the activity most commonly associated with what people call Tai Chi. There are 119 movements which are all martial arts techniques, which are practiced along a predetermined sequence.
Practicing the form slowly has a myriad of positive health benefits including benefiting the heart, the lungs, breathing, circulation and so on. It strengthens body awareness, balance, coordination and other important determinants of technical performance capacity.
From a martial arts technicians’ perspective the form educated the practitioner in efficient and ideal body posture, which give potential for greater resistive strength and well and teaching you how to use your full bodies’ potential in offensive technique, building ever improving mechanics and neuromuscular efficiency.
Initially it’s practiced as a set of very distinct postures, which can be held indefinitely, to build greater alignment and body awareness, as well as develop muscular endurance.
Once it’s been learned this way it’s practiced in a smooth and circular manner, encouraging extremely light, agile and highly coordinated movement.
Then the advanced student moves onto learning the form ‘mirror image’ where what was done to the left is now done to the right. This further balances coordination and body control abilities and perhaps further enhances upper motor neuronal control over their lower counterparts, building perfect body awareness.
An extremely advanced practice is learning the form in reverse, which takes your mind/body control and ability to conceive movement possibilities to an absurdly advanced level. It also requires extreme concentration and focus, making it an excellent meditative tool.
Another training method, with martial specific benefits is to practice the movements singularly, or in your own combinations and designed using the five major movement possiblities of advance, retreat, left, right and simply stable. This is the original method of training forms for martial artists who require extreme familiarity with very potent and useful movement skills, whilst being able to move in an extremely fluid, balanced and potentiated way in all the major directions.
The classical Taijiquan (Tai Chi) long form
- Improved breathing patterns
- Perfecting posture and alignment
- Developing agile, highly coordinated movement
- Training the use of whole body force generations
- improves flexibility
- Calms the nervous system and increases body/mind relaxation
- Improves balance
- Improves aerobic fitness
- Develops strong bones, muscles and tendons
- Can be trained anywhere with no equipment required
- Teaches essential tai chi martial arts movements
- Encourages flow states
The Taijiquan form demonstrated partially by Deeming