tai chi forms
If you'd like to see what some tai chi forms look like before leaping in check out our taiji video clips check the competition clips first - they are more likely to be an accurate reflection of the style and movements in the form.
Tai chi forms are simply collections of individual tai chi moves, or postures, linked together with transitions or linking steps to form a recognisable sequence.
This posture is called "snake creeps down" which you could say equates to a western exercise like "hamstring lunge" (if there is such a thing). The difference is that "snake creeps down" is integrated into an overall sequence of precise, controlled movements.
The number of postures in a form varies widely ranging from as few as 4 steps to a massive 108 steps that take 20 minutes to perform.
And the number of individual movements within a posture can also vary - this affects the time taken to learn the form and the complexity of the moves themselves.
Each of the tai chi moves is an exercise in balance, co-ordination, physical control and regulation of breathing. And sometimes it can be helpful to practice an individual move on its own to explore how it feels.
If you want to try out some tai chi exercises then have a look at the qigong shibashi exercise because this is often taught as the forerunner to learning the simplified 24. Many of the moves "wave hands in clouds", "and carry ball to the shoulder" are repeated in the Simplified 24 form.
The way a form looks and the speed at which it is performed depends on the tai chi style and the frame selected by the performer.
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For example the move "wave hands in clouds" - often shortened to "cloud hands" - exists in Yang, Chen and Sun styles but in each of the styles the hand positions are slightly different.
Some tai chi forms are very popular making it easy to find a class to take. Other its going to be more difficult to find a teacher and you may find that a good dvd is your best bet.
These are the most common forms you are likely to come across (if the taiji form name is underlined we have more information on them )
yang style forms:
- tai chi for Arthritis
- tai chi for Diabetes
- Compact tai chi - a modern circular space saver
- Competition form 42 - modern mixed style tai chi
As well as the standard hand forms taiji also has a range of weapons forms including single and double sword, broadsword, fan and many more.