yang style taiji
I’m fortunate to have been trained by Sam Masich in a full Yang Style Traditional Curriculum.
I first began with basic Qigong, Bare-Hand Form & Push Hands training with Sam in 2001, only one year into my training!! It was a prediction of how I would think about the keys to Taiji training ~ that meditation (qigong), repetitive solo form practice and the interactive work, push hands, are critical to enjoying the full benefits of a Taiji practice. At that time, much of what Sam taught was beyond my skill level, but I was tenacious none-the-less. When I had the rare chance to do 3 months of Intensive training…well, I was slightly more prepared.
The experience of immersion in a subject like this & with a teacher of such remarkable skill was extraordinary. My depth of understanding is forever changed as a result. Most people focus on solo barehand form for physical & spiritual benefits. Clarifying the role of the additional aspects of the curriculum can be an eye opening study, giving more depth and breadth to one’s Taiji experience.
Yang style is characterized by its slow, steady pace. It is an ideal way to find your ‘inner tortoise’ while working your legs hard, softening chronic tension patterns & coaxing the mind to give you a break from the constant chatter of a hectic life. Well-known for its health benefits, starting a practice of Yang Style Taiji is best—younger than older, sooner than later & more often than less! When you are 85, you’ll appreciate having started at 25—acutally you’ll have earned the right to be pretty dang smug about it!
Taijiquan differentiates itself from Qigong in that it is historically a martial art, cultivating better health and one’s abilities in self-defense. Taiji trains internal awareness and also the dynamics of relationship with others through the interactive training called Push Hands. ‘Push Hands’ or ‘Sensing Hands’ practices incorporate training with a partner to cultivate one’s ability to engage with another. The core energies of Taiji Push Hands play uses ‘Sticking,’ ‘Listening,’ ’Understanding,’ ‘Receiving’ and ‘Neutralizing’ as a way to stay connected to a partner. Many teachers, myself included, believe that the full benefits of Taiji are realized through the triumvirate of meditation, solo form & Push Hands. The ‘Taiji Classics’ actually say that the path to spiritual enlightenment is through the practice of Push Hands!
My classes spend plenty of time on form, but also work on meditation skill & get into the basics of Push Hands.
Current classes based on the full curriculum:
Traditional Long Form (108 movement) Solo Taiji Form:
Longer, slower, deeper, this form guides a practitioner into the innate benefits through cultivating a dedicated “gong”. A skill that is achieved by dedicated practice over a period of time. This form takes more time, most folks find that in 2 years an excellent understanding of the movements is realized as well as the basic applications & how the solo form resonates with interactive practice.
Sensing Hands ~ Push Hands
Learn how to listen to your partner & stay centered at the same time. Through basic drills & moving step pattern we study how to ‘Stick,’ ‘Listen,’ ’Understand,’ ‘Receive’ and ‘Neutralize’ while staying connected our partner and keeping the nervous system in balance. Tools EVERYBODY needs for daily life, not just in a Taiji class. This study has the potential to change how you think & what you do…seriously, it is that good!
Classes in straight sword soon!
Here’s a list of the full curriculum…
Gongli for Yang-style Taijiquan (this includes basic Qigong theory & practice through meditation)
- Standing Post
- Symmetrical push
- Breath Placement
- Gong Li (strength, flexibility and conditioning training) Find this in my TAIJI WORKOUT class!
Yang-style Taijiquan solo barehand forms
- 108 Yang Style Taijiquan solo form
- 37 Postures (& families)
Yang-style Taijiquan Push Hands
- Eight preparatory exercises (‘1-8’; & mix of drills) (Ba Pan Jia Zi)
- Four-hands (Si-zheng Tui-shou)
- Fixed-step (forward & backward timing)
- Fixed-step freestyle (& 8 changes)
- Moving-step (follow, cover, circle-walking)
- Moving-step freestyle (leg changes)
Large Rolling (Da Lü)
- Da Lü diagonal orientation
- Da Lü square orientation
- Da Lü variations and freestyle
Free sparring (San-shou)
- Taiji San-shou form
- Solo form/37 Postures applications
- Fighting Range theory and training
- Push-hands for sparring
Yang-style Taijidao (Sabre)
- Sabre form 1 (Fu Zhongwen style)
- Sabre sparring drills (parries and attacks)
- Sabre two person routine (8 moves)
- Sabre free-sparring
Yang-style Taijijian (Straight-sword)
- 54 Solo Straight-sword form
- Straight-sword two person drills (parries and attacks; sticking)
- Straight-sword free-sparring
Yang-style Taijiqiang (Spear)
- Spear solo training
- Taiji 13 (binding) spear training
- Spear free-sparring
Phew, it’s a lot to train! And it is ‘oh so worth it’!