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Although the beginnings of Tai Chi as a martial art are somewhat obscured by ancient history, it is generally accepted that the Chen style is the original, dating from the early 1600’s. Chen forms combine slow, flowing postures with powerful, explosive moves. Despite powerful kicking, punching and thrusting, the student focuses on maintaining their balance and sense of inner calm. The fighting elements of Tai Chi’s origins are most apparent in Chen style. Described below are barehanded forms, meaning no weapons are held.
Like Yang style, shorter versions of the traditional Chen form were developed, although it is unclear when this happened. In our sessions, we instruct a 28-movement Chen shortened style. As in the original form, Chen shortened involves a lower stance than Yang, and students learn to use a spiral force originating from their core to thrust out their power and quickly draw it back again.
You can learn the basics of the entire Chen Shortened form in one 12 week session, with classes once per week.
(Long form, or “Yi Lu”)
This is the oldest known form of Tai Chi, and we are privileged that Sifu Charles Leong has offered to share his wisdom and expertise of this form to students in the Southern Alberta area. The movements may be as slow as extracting silk threads or as fast as a flash of lightning. With 84 movements, it can take over 20 minutes to complete the entire form.
Chen traditional (long form) is a natural extension of a student’s practice after they feel confident with the short forms. Learning three new movements each week, it will take you about 6 months to learn to perform the entire sequence; and many years to learn about the subtleties, philosophy, and applications of the Chen long form. Remember, true Masters of Tai Chi practice for decades and say that they are still learning!
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