Friday, April 21, 2017

History of Classical Tai Chi "small circle form" and methods of practice

...and another student's comment, with a response from Master Hwa including a video link to "Hand Push Forward" as a quarter body internal movement. Published by Jim Roach on behalf of William C. and Master Stephen Hwa, excerpted from Classical Tai Chi Forum
William C. said: "I have been working with the classical tai chi tapes for a couple of weeks now and as a twenty year practitioner of the Yang family style I want to make the following comments. I have never been so clearly informed on the differences in moving the waist while the pelvis and hips are still. I feel like a towel that is being wrung out with the center of the wringing out dynamic is in my abdomen. Also, I have never been instructed in pulling from the leading foot. I was having a hard time with this until at last in practicing the walk I had the feeling at first in the backward walk that there was a suction force pulling me back and it felt quite effortless. It is taking some time to get used to but my practice formerly was to play the form with such big steps, now I really need to think a new dynamic and remind myself to place my heel near the toes of the other foot. It's amazing that this small step produces such a good whole body stretch. I am finding ways to practice the quarter body movement in a repetitive manner in many situations including the physical work that I do. Mainly though in repetitive single tai chi moves. I have never been shown the difference between the internal discipline and momentum before..I am interested in the history of this form, not to prove its validity, that is borne out in the practice." Thank you Master Hwa for the wonderful instruction! William C.

Response from Master Hwa: Your method of practicing the quarter body internal movement is right on. Students in my class tell me that they practice such a single movement when they are driving, standing in the line, during working. One could, therefore, be concentrated on learning the external aspects of the form movements initially, without worrying too much about internal discipline, keeping the learning of internal discipline .offline.. Later on, one can integrate the external aspects with the internal discipline. The history of this form is well recorded up to the Yang family founder. There is a very interesting article talking about large circle tai chi and small circle tai chi, and how Wu, my lineage, learned the tai chi from the Yangs:


Earlier history about the form which passed down from the Chen to the Yang is not quite as clear. The form I am teaching is actually an intermediate circle, simply because small circle or the compact form as I mentioned in the video, should not be taught to a beginner. When one is proficient with the intermediate circle, you will be able to evolve into small circle naturally.

No comments: