The Tai Chi Chuan form taught in the Cheng Ming martial arts system is derived from the “Orthodox Style” developed in 1929, which is a complete sequence synthesized from the five major schools (family styles) of Tai Chi Chuan. One of the driving goals in developing the “Orthodox Style” was the preservation of the essence of Tai Chi Chuan. Extraneous and inefficient movements or techniques were discarded as the sequence was developed. The resulting form was developed with the intent that every movement, transition and posture possesses a usable martial application and health benefit.
This completed form was presented to the masters and their families to add to as they saw fit and to preserve the form with as many people as possible. Great-Grandmaster Wang Shu Jin was also presented with the completed form, and he changed and enhanced the entire form by blending in techniques from Hsing-I Chuan and Ba Gua Zhang.
The result is our Cheng Ming Tai Chi Chuan that is taught to all our students. Cheng Ming Tai Chi has one-hundred movements and is the foundation for training in Hsing-I Chuan and Ba-Gua Zhang within the Cheng Ming martial arts system.
One of the defining characteristics of Tai Chi Chuan is that it is practiced very slowly. Specifically, when practicing the form from beginning to end, it is done at a slow and steady pace. This fundamental training axiom is what allows the practitioner to express the beauty of the Tai Chi form while simultaneously providing a low-impact method for strengthening the body’s muscular, skeletal, and organ systems.
It is easy to associate descriptions such as “weak”, “passive”, and “slow“ with the fighting prowess of Tai Chi Chuan based on watching the form in practice. To see past this requires a separation of the practice of the form from the application of the form in free fighting.
Tai Chi fighting techniques are trained through a combination of form practice, application drills, and push hands, which itself includes a variety of push hands drills and freestyle push hands.
Tai Chi Chuan offensive techniques often train soft or hidden jing. Defensive techniques train to primarily neutralize an opponent’s power, which is based on two Chinese concepts: Hua Jing and Ting Jing.
Used in combination, one of the most common uses of Tai Chi Chuan fighting is to draw an opponent in order to disrupt their balance and then counterattack.
Another way to describe Tai Chi Chuan is by upper body vs. lower body. In this way, Tai Chi is described as the 8 Techniques and 5 Directions. The 8 Techniques refer to the eight major techniques in the Tai Chi Chuan form, which are: peng, lu, ji, an, tsai, li zuo, and kao. The 5 Directions refer to the orientation of the body throughout the form, which are: front, back, right, left, and center. This is why Tai Chi Chuan was originally called “13 Long Fist Form”.
A major advantage of Cheng Ming Style Tai Chi Chuan is in the flexibility of practicing the form. Our students can practice the whole form in its entirety, or break it down into component sections that can be practiced separately to save time as well as manage energy consumption.