Taiji With Eldan

Forms reference

General purpose warm-ups

I start every class or practice session (and most mornings) with a version of Chen Zhenglei’s Longevity exercises, which get all the major joints moving gently before doing anything that makes them work hard. Here is a video of my teacher Viola Brumbaugh demonstrating the complete set with commentary and guidance.

Chen Taijiquan

Silk Reeling

Ping Wu demonstrating and explaining the main silk reeling exercises.

Chen Zhenglei’s 18 Essentials

The 18 form is a recent invention by current Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. It is sort of a highlights tour of the 74-step Old Frame Part 1 which is the foundational form of Chen Style, with a couple of borrowings from New Frame to make it flow together. It introduces all of the core stances, in a package that’s easier to learn and make time to practice, and it’s good preparation for later learning the full Old Frame forms.

18 Form videos

The nice thing about a recently-codified form is that we can watch the person who actually created it demonstrate how it should be done (soundtrack is music only).

This is a higher resolution video of Chen Zhenglei’s disciple Wang Haijun demonstrating the 18 Essentials form (soundtrack is music only). Note the stylistic differences! Master Wang grew up in the Chen household and is a great teacher himself - I consider his interpretations as authoritative as Chen Zhenglei’s, and they show how the same movements can be adapted by two experts with different emphases, body shapes, and ages.

Earth Balance Tai Chi has compiled links to more 18 Essentials form videos on their website.

18 Form movement names

This is mostly Viola Brumbaugh’s reference translations, with Chinese characters courtesy of Chen Huixian:

  1. 起势 Taiji Opening Posture (tàijí qǐ shì)
  2. 金剛捣碓 Buddha’s Warrior Pounds Mortar (jīn gāng dǎo duì)
  3. 懶扎衣 Lazily Tying Coat (lǎn zā yī)
  4. 六封四閉 Six Sealings Four Closings (liù fēng sì bì)
  5. 單鞭 Single Whip (dān biān)
  6. 白鵝亮翅 White Crane Spreads Wings (bái é liàng chì)
  7. 斜行 Diagonal Posture (xié xíng)
  8. 摟膝 Hold up the Knee (lǒu xī)
  9. 拗步 Step Both Sides (ǎo bù)
  10. 掩手肱拳 Cover Hand and Punch (yǎn shǒu gōng quán)
  11. 高探馬 High Pat on Horse (gāo tàn mǎ)
  12. 左蹬跟 Kick with Left Heel (zuǒ dēng gēn)
  13. 玉女穿梭 Jade Maiden Throws Shuttle (yù nǚ chuān suō)
  14. 運手 Cloud Hands (yùn shǒu)
  15. 轉身雙擺蓮 Turn Around and Lotus Kick (zhuǎn shēn shuāng bǎi lián)
  16. 當頭炮 Head-on Cannons (dāng tóu páo)
  17. 金剛捣碓 Buddha’s Warrior Pounds Mortar (jīn gāng dǎo duì)
  18. 收式 Closing Form (shōu shì)