Welcome to the AEA Tai Chi Club
Our club primarily practices Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan and related Qigong forms. The numbered forms oftenindicate"government" style forms. Our members and friends also practice Wu Style, Chen style
T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan and Yi Quan.
The AEA Tai Chi Club is offering Xingyi Quan and Traditional Bagua Zhang classes the class in addition to a Yang style TaiChi Long Form class.
See the classes page.
A new Yang style Tai Chi (Wednesday) class has started. There are also Xingyiquan (Thursday) classes and Baguazhang (Tuesady) classes.
Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Long Form
The art of Tai Chi Chuan can be called a "moving mediation" or a "joint yoga." The basic practice involves balance and body structure during continuous movement. All of the Chinese internal martial arts grew out of Taoist tradition. In this approach, practices also include standing and moving meditation, Qi Gung (Chi Kung), circle walking and internal kung fu practices.
Meditation - even the moving mediation of the Chinese Internal martial arts derived from Taoist practice - has been reported to physically change the brain. Changes to the brain associated with learning and memory. Other changes to the brain associated with anxiety and stress. The emotional and physical changes that seem to be associated with meditation are foundations for other practices in the Chinese internal martial arts. In part, because this training allows circumventing basic reactions including flight or fight responses. Improved coordination, motor skills, concentration and a variety of other benefits are thought to be derived from this sort of practice.
The practice of internal kung fu is closely tied to standing mediation. Standing meditation is a core Taoist practice. Standing mediation is a core practice of Xingyi Quan, but it is also practiced in Tai Chi Chuan and the other Chinese Internal martial arts. This practice of standing has a component that cultivates stillness. Stillness of this sort may be most familiar as the preliminary stage in Japanese Kendo swordplay, but similar stillness practices are used in many martial arts to develop sensitivity and other important skills. It is initially counter-intuitive that standing should be a key practice in a any physical activity, especially a martial art. Nonetheless, standing mediation is a key practice of Xingyiquan which has been employed on the battlefield since about 1100 AD (and even into the Twentieth Century as unarmed combat training for various Chinese armies). Baguazhang clearly an effective martial arts style. The popularity of Tai Chi Chuan as a health exercise complicates evaluating the generic practice as a martial art, but Taijiquan is effective as a martial art in the hands of at least a few people.
The AEA Tai Chi club is offering a Xing Yi Quan (Hsing I Ch’uan) class taught by Master Zhao Yun, to be held on Thursdays. No prior experience with Xing Yi is necessary. (There will be 16 sessions and the cost is $80.)
Xingyi Quan or Hsing I Ch’uan is one of the major internal Chinese martial arts (and thought to predate the creation of both Tai Chi Ch’uan and Bagua Zhang). These internal Chinese martial arts share a yoga-like emphasis on body structure and dynamics as well as mental control of gross and fine motor skills and very intentional movement. Xing refers to form or shape; Yi refers to mind or intent. Quan (fist) denotes a method of unarmed combat. The name suggests that the practitioner's internal processes harmonize and coordinate the external movement. Although Xingyi Quan is generally viewed as an aggressive art, it shares meditation-in-movement derived health benefits with the other Chinese Internal martial arts, including reduced stress, increased stamina and attention span as well as improved strength and balance.
The art of Xingyi Quan is divided into two main systems: the Five-Elements and Twelve Animals. The beginning Five Elements practice focuses on coordinating the motions of entire body into one focused movement. Xingyi Quan was based on battlefield spear techniques and designed to subdue an opponent in the shortest amount of time with the most efficient use of power.
The beginner class introduces the Five Elements (metal, water, wood, fire, and earth) from both martial arts as well as health and fitness perspectives. Students will learn Xingyi Quan basics and all five elements routines.
Bagua Zhang, an internal Chinese martial art, employs circle walks, palm changes, body spinning and turning, and rapid changes in direction. The practitioner walks the circle holding various postures and executing palm changes. It cultivates a flexible, fluid yet springy type of movement. Bagua Zhang is based on the theory of continuously changing in response to the situation at hand in order to overcome an opponent with skill rather than brute force.
Image at right: Jiang Rong Qiao's Bagua Zhang.
The AEA Tai Chi Club is offering a (LEVEL 1D) Traditional Bagua Zhang class on Tuesdays at 11:30 AM: see the classes page for more information.
See the Classes page for additional information.
Books by our Friends
The webmaster recommends the book (left) entitled The Philosophey of Tai Chi Chuan by Freya and Martin Boedicker of the Ma Jiang Bao's Wu style group, European Association for Traditional Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan. (Ma Jiang Bao is the son of Ma Yueh Liang and Wu Ying Hua, and grandson of Wu style founder Wu Jian Qian.)
Another book that we can highly recommend is Louis Swaim's excellent translation of the great book Fu Zhongwen's Mastering Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. For many years, this book was a practice manual for our club.
http://www.smilingtiger.net/catalog.htm A collection of English translations of classic kung fu books at Joseph Crandall's Smiling Tiger web site. See, for example, a translation of the Jiang Rong Qiao Old Eight Palms form that links to the club's practice. BGZ01 Classical Baguazhang Vol. I - BAGUAZHANG LIANXI FA (ISBN 978-1-929047-16-1) Another of the Joseph Crandall translations covers Jiang Rong Qiao's introduction to Xingyi Quan, the Motherfists or XINGYI MU QUAN.
REMINDER If you haven't already done so, please remember to sign up for club membership by filling out the membership form (pdf file) using This Link for 2013 AEA Membership form (in pdf format) or This Link for Micosoft Word format Membership form.
Benefits of Practice
In addition to being one of the main branches of Chinese kung fu,
Tai Chi Chuan is well known as effective practice for stress reduction
and health improvement. Tai Chi has sometimes been described as joint
yoga because of the character of the movements. Tai Chi has elements
of Qigong, standing and moving meditation. As a martial art, Tai Chi
Chuan is built on balance, body structure, relaxation and patience.
It is also built on "chi" which might be described as the unifying component
("intention") that integrates the physical (substantial - e.g., body)
and the nonphysical (insubstantial - e.g., mind). At high levels Tai
Chi Chuan is an extremely effective martial art, but it can take a a
long time to learn. These and other aspects of Tai Chi make the practice
of Tai Chi Chuan a life style choice rather than a quick course of self-defense
techniques or quick fix set of health exercises.
April 22, 2013