"Quiet as the mountain, moving like the river and the river"
Taiji quan [tai chi chuan] (1) belongs to the big family of Chinese martial arts, and more precisely to the current known as "internal school of the fist" (nei jia quan), of Taoist inspiration. The expression taiji quan is commonly translated as "fist - or boxing - (quan) of the ridge (ji) supreme (tai)", in reference to the ridge beam of the house, symbol of the first principle, universal and omnipresent in Taoism . In the same spirit, one can also translate the expression by "fist of the supreme polarity", the notion of "pole", place of this supreme polarity, referring to the instant where yin and yang are still united.
Far from the simple "soft gymnastics" unfortunately sometimes taught in both the West and China, taiji quan is one of the richest and most powerful martial arts, in that it favors the use of vital breath qi [ chi], in relation to the muscular force li, which is in some way subordinate to it. And to properly direct and use the qi, the practitioner will appeal to the intention yi. Thus, by the harmonious use of these three components, qi, li and yi, taiji quan is a complete art of life:
• It is an excellent exercise that can be practiced at all ages, as it gently and effectively solves the whole body - muscles and joints - develops vital energy, reduces stress through the work of relaxation that it requires, soothes and clarifies the mind by the concentration it implies.
• It is a non-violent, non-aggressive martial art, in harmony with natural laws. Focusing on vital energy rather than muscle, it is effective regardless of age and physical strength.
• The application of taiji quan principles in relational life helps to defuse most conflicts by responding appropriately to verbal and psychological aggression.
• For those who wish, taiji quan can take the form of a spiritual path, based on the teachings of the great Taoist masters such as Lao Zi and Zhuang Zi.
The most common form of taiji quan is performed with bare hands. It is a question of linking a number - variable according to the schools - of codified movements of attack and defense.
Parallel to the execution of this routine, the practitioner exercises at work with partner (tests, martial applications, ...), as well as the handling of traditional weapons such as the saber, the sword, or the spear.
A little history
The Yang (2) style taught in our school was created by Yang Luchan (1799 -1872), a formidable fighter, nicknamed "the invincible".
After his death, his art was transmitted from generation to generation within the Yang family. At first limited to the members of the family and to a few selected disciples, the teaching gradually became more and more simplified. Thus, alongside the traditional art of Yang Luchan and his heirs, we find different styles today, of very variable qualities.
The education provided in our school is faithful to the traditional style preserved within the Yang family. It is rooted in the practice of great masters of the lineage, including Yang Shao Hou (1862-1930), Zheng Manqing [Cheng Manching] (1902-1975) and Huang Xingxian [Huang Sheng Shyan] (1910-1992). Today, this teaching is broadcast around the world by master (Sifu) Adam Mizner.
From left to right: Zheng Manqing, Huang Xingxian et Adam Mizner. (DR / HME)
We teach the traditional style of the Yang family. We distinguish :
The nei gong
Under this very general term are grouped a whole series of works on internal energy. They are inseparable from the learning of taiji quan. We practice :
• warm-up exercises (ji ben gong) and relaxation (song shen wu fa),
• work on postures (zhan zhuang) and energy (qi gong).
The taiji quan
We practice :
• a slow sequence with bare hands of 37 movements,
• the handling of thesaber and the sword,
• exercises with partners: linking (da lu), "sticky hands" or "pushing hands" (tui shou), efficiency tests and martial applications.
Your teachers meet regularly for the purpose of mutual enrichment, and participate each year in international seminars, thus ensuring the sustainability of an authentic taiji quan.
1: There are several ways to transcribe Chinese characters. We adopt the pinyin romanization system (we give you tonic accents), which is the most "official" and most widespread nowadays. The most common older transcriptions are shown in square brackets .
2: "Yang" is here a family name (also widely used in China), which has nothing to do with the concepts of yin and yang developed in Taoism.