Welcome to #STEMofTaiChi This is a comprehensive course. We will break the 24 Form Yang Short Form into a simple story to speed up the we learn Tai Chi. Traditionally it can take 18 weeks to teach and learn Tai Chi cold. This method seeks to accelerate that process to 4-5 weeks by meeting twice a week. I have also included the STEM components of Tai Chi: Physiology, Mathematics, Physics, Neurobiology, and metaphysics. I ask you to read these sections. Each week we will discuss them.
The first step to understanding and practicing yang form Tai Chi is knowing the “Wu story” of Tai Chi. This is the history of Tai Chi: flowing water, the art of mastering fear and marshaling the mind. #Mindfulness
The Story of Wu: A parable in 4 parts
So there’s this teenager in medieval China who lives on a mountain with his widowed mother and twin sister. He hears about a tiger threatening the village. He decides he can deal with this threat. He sees the fear of the tiger EVERYWHERE. In the air, in the animals, in the village, and in himself. He sets out one morning to slay the tiger but quickly realizes that he is full of fear. Fear is the absence of courage and he quickly realizes there is no tiger. He is just afraid and is transferring his fear to the idea of the tiger. This is the path to wisdom; knowing the depth of both your power AND your ignorance.
A bit of background. I was advised to learn Tai Chi from my Physical Therapist and the Neurotherapist I had after a coma and a bout of partial paralysis. I needed to take advantage of the emerging science of “neuroplasticity” and train my body to work independently again. Prior to learning Tai Chi I was also unable to both rub my head and my belly at the same time. Coordination is not my strong suit. So do not fear Tai Chi is not easy but it is EASIER if your reframe it as a story with a specific cast of characters in a specific order. Here is that order.
The 24 Form YANG Form of Tai Chi:
I The awareness of fear
- There once was a brave and eager young man named Wu. He was a strong and a talented hunter.
- He learned through his village that a tiger was threatening his village.
- He had noticed the horse’s fear. He was seen the white cranes on the marsh start from fright and fly away.
- He had seen the monkeys panic and jump in retreat while he strummed his guitar.
- Weary of the fear, one morning Wu decided after his morning stretches he would write his mother and
- A letter to his beloved twin sister each a letter using a sparrow feather.
- Parting Wild Horses Mane
- White Crane Spreads It’s Wings – Cools It’s Wings
- Repulse Monkey
- Play the Lute
- Grasping Sparrow’s Tail, Double Pull
II To Prepare for fear
- He collected his spear, and his saddle and pulled them onto his horse.
- The early morning moonlight shown brightly on the fog in the jungle valley. He has a plan to trap and catch the slinking tiger.
- Wu waves the fog away so that he could ride to the tiger.
- His trap will be set.
- The fog cleared as Wu mounted the saddle upon his horse.
- The horse showed fear and kicked gently as Wu pulled at the straps.
- Left Grasp Sparrow’s Tail, Ward Off, Rollback, Press, Push
- Right Grasp Sparrow’s Tail
- Single Whip,
- Wave Hands Like Clouds,
- Single Whip
- High Pat on Horse
III Reacting to face fear
- Reaching beneath the horse Wu pulls the straps around.
- He leaves out just as the 2 cocks crow in the morning.
- He mounts his horse and takes the reigns.
- Beneath him he sees a snake dart out that startles his horse.
- He drops his spear into the stream.
- He snaps up with his spear at the ready.
- Right Heel Kick, Strike to Ears with Both Fists, Turn Body and Left Heel Kick
- Left Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg Single Whip Squatting Down, Snake Creeps Down, Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Golden Bird Standing Alone, Right Lower Body and Stand on One Leg
- Shuttle Back and Forth RIGHT and LEFT
- Snake Creeps Out
- Needle at the Bottom of the Sea
- Fan Through Back
IV Surrendering to fear
- He hears a noise on one side of him. He lunges to one side.
- He leaps and punches to the other
- He is certain that he has seen the tiger on the other side.
- There is no tiger. His fear is the nameless tiger. He must surrender.
- He has carried the fear of the tiger – the unknown – to this mountain.
- He must return to peace and stillness once more.
- Turn Body, Deflect
- Appears Closed
- Cross Hands, Carry Tiger to the Mountain
Now that you know the story and the outline of the form, it will be easier to remember the syntax of the form.
There are some relationships and subtle structures that will make learning Tai Chi easier.
We will start with the Body itself: Physiology