Tai Chi Foundation
About Chen Tai Chi
Chen style Tai Chi is an internal martial art, slowly moving the body in a relaxed yet powerful way, using coiling and spiralling movements to aid health and wellbeing. Chen style originated from Chen Village (Chen Jia Gou) in China. View over the following webpage to find out more about the historical lineage of Chen style Tai Chi. Read the article ‘This isn’t your grandmother’s Tai Chi’ about Chen style. Here at Earth Balance Tai Chi we follow the forms of Grand Master Chen Zhenglei.
Chen Style Health Benefits
Expansion/compression of joints – Coiling of soft tissue
Lengthening connective tissue – Softening muscles
Relax the nervous system – Posture and structure
Whole body coordination – Focused concentration
Uninterrupted circular motion – Being present in the moment
Diaphragm breathing – Balance Yin Yang in the body
These preparatory exercises are an introduction to Chen style Tai Chi. They are easy to learn, symmetrical and repetitive, giving the student a good basic understanding of what makes a movement a 'Tai Chi' and the philosophy behind Chen style. These practices help the student develop the and improve their physical alignment, using the Tai Chi anatomy principles to guide their body into a new pattern. Both stillness and movement practices are trained combining posture with breathing and an increased physical awareness. Suitable for anyone of any age, these movements are non-impact, slow, powerful and gentle on the body.
Before you practice, take time to go through a series of joint loosening exercises to make the most out of your training session. Your body will be very grateful it is properly warmed up before you begin standing practice, silk reeling and the foundation movements.
Traditional standing like a pole practice. This is the most important part of any student's training programme. Whether for 2-3 minutes or half an hour, standing practice is difficult, taxing and worth every drop of sweat. Who knew standing still could be so hard.
Silk reeling is the signature movement of Chen style Tai Chi. Exercise drills are practiced on both sides of the body using spiralling body movements for strength and conditioning, learning the principles of Chen Tai Chi, relaxation, muscle memory and training to move with an aligned posture. All essential body mechanics to take into your Chen Tai Chi form practice.
Beginner students who have progressed through silk reeling and the foundation movements, move onto the Chen five elements form and then the Chen four corners form. These mini forms contain the first five movements of the short and long form. The five elements is made up of five key movements in Chen Tai Chi.
Students who have completed the Chen five elements, move onto the four corners. This adds on a transition to change direction around the four directions; north, south east and west.