Taiji 37 Postures Martial Applications: A Comprehensive Guide to the Ancient Art of Taijiquan
Taijiquan, also known as Tai Chi Chuan, is a traditional Chinese martial art that combines graceful movements, breathing techniques, and mental focus. Taijiquan is widely practiced for its health benefits, such as improving balance, strength, flexibility, and vitality. However, Taijiquan also has a rich history of martial applications, which are often overlooked or misunderstood by modern practitioners.
In this article, we will explore the martial aspects of Taijiquan, based on the 37-postures form taught by Yang Ban-Hou, a famous master of the Yang style. We will learn the basic concepts and principles of Taijiquan as a combat system, and how to apply them to various situations and scenarios. We will also provide practical examples and demonstrations of each posture's martial applications, using realistic techniques and strategies.
By the end of this article, you will have a deeper understanding of the martial art of Taijiquan, and how to use it effectively for self-defense and personal development. You will also be able to download a free ebook that contains detailed instructions and illustrations of the 37-postures form and its martial applications.
What is Taijiquan?
Taijiquan is a Chinese word that can be translated as "Grand Ultimate Fist" or "Supreme Ultimate Boxing". It is derived from the concept of Taiji, which represents the harmony and balance of the opposing forces of Yin and Yang in the universe. Taijiquan is an internal martial art, which means that it focuses on cultivating and manipulating the internal energy or Qi (pronounced "chee") that flows through the body.
Taijiquan was developed in China over several centuries, influenced by various schools of philosophy, medicine, and martial arts. The origin of Taijiquan is shrouded in mystery and legend, but one of the most widely accepted theories is that it was created by Zhang Sanfeng, a Taoist monk who lived in the 12th or 13th century. Zhang Sanfeng allegedly witnessed a fight between a snake and a crane, and was inspired by their movements and strategies to create a new martial art that combined softness and hardness, yielding and striking, circularity and linearity.
The most popular style of Taijiquan today is the Yang style, which was founded by Yang Lu-Chan (1799-1872), who learned Taijiquan from Chen Chang-Xing, a master of the Chen style. Yang Lu-Chan modified and simplified the Chen style to suit his own preferences and abilities, and taught it to many students in Beijing. One of his sons, Yang Ban-Hou (1837-1892), was considered to be his most skilled successor, who inherited his father's original teachings and secrets. Yang Ban-Hou taught his version of Taijiquan to several disciples, including Wu Yu-Xiang (1812-1880), who later created his own style known as Wu (Hao) style.
What are the 37 Postures?
The 37-postures form is a short and compact version of the Yang style Taijiquan form, which consists of 108 movements. The 37-postures form was created by Cheng Man-Ching (1901-1975), a famous master of Taijiquan, Chinese medicine, painting, calligraphy, and poetry. Cheng Man-Ching learned Taijiquan from Yang Cheng-Fu (1883-1936), the grandson of Yang Lu-Chan and the third generation leader of the Yang style. Cheng Man-Ching modified and simplified the Yang style form to make it more accessible and suitable for modern people.
The 37-postures form is also known as the Simplified Form or the Short Form. It contains all the essential elements and principles of Taijiquan, but eliminates some repetitions and transitions. The 37-postures form can be performed in about 10 minutes, depending on the speed and rhythm. The names of the 37 postures are as follows: