Chen Taiji Standardized 26 Form

Taught by Master Chen Youze, China National Coach, 3-time National Push-Hands Champion

Aknowledgement:
I am indebted to Sifu Tony Wong for arranging the weekend seminars with Lao Tse (Master Chen), and for providing us a list of the 26 steps, which made it possible to break the form into sections. I don’t know that I divided the movements properly, and there are almost certainly movements to add, as well as details to be corrected, but this outline should provide a memory-assist to someone who has been exposed to the form.

Notes

  • Lao Tse also taught that you inhale on opening movements (hands separating), while on closing movements you exhale. (You also exhale on striking movements, naturally. Those are outward movements, so it makes sense to inhale on inward ones.) The exhalation and the movement end at the same time. When the final movement in a sequence is an opening or inward movement (inhale), then there is an extra “rest” motion where you sink and exhale.
  • When detailing the form, Lao Tse taught each action as a series of 3 movements saying, “1”, “2”, “3” as he did so. But of course, breathing patterns occur in even numbers. So there is generally an extra breath in there, somewhere! That observation could help to explain why my solo practice was so much faster than Lao Tse’s pace. In practice, I was breathing in a 2-count for each action, at best. But breathing in a 4-count makes it possible to go twice as slow! That observation also helps to make sense of the directive: “To go right, start by going left”. In going left, you will generally inhale, gathering energy. Then you exhale and expend energy as you move to the right.

Reading the Instructions

Where I can, I’ve tried to capture those subtleties by using the following notations for numbering and breathing.

  • 1. (etc) A numbered step.
  • _. A subtle movement where you gather, sink, or start left to go right.
  • I: Inhale
  • E: Exhale
  • F: Forceful exhale, for an explosive move. Exhale audibly, accelerating the breath along with the movement. (Can also be done at normal pace, with normal exhale.)
  • +: Breathe naturally. (Either an inhale or an exhale could occur here. In a sequences like: I, +, +, E, the middle two movements could be an exhale and an inhale, or the first and second could be done together, with a single inhalation. Likewise for the second two.

The Form

1. Taiji Beginning Posture – taiji chu shi

  • Prepare
  • Wuji
  • Ward left
  • Ward right
  • Sink right, deep step with left foot to front, back of left-hand-hook leads the way

2. Jin Gang Pounds with Pestle – jin gang dao dui

  • Weight on left leg, raise right knee and touch toe to ground
  • Heaven and Earth:
    • Left hand drops palm down, as right hand rises, palm up.
    • Left hand turns at bottom, finishing palm up, making a cradle. Right hand gathers into fist and comes down until resting in the cradle, knuckles to palm..
  • Pound with Pestle
    • Right fist rises until facing the sky in uppercut position, as right knee rises.
    • Right foot stamps ground as back of right hand (pestle) pounds into palm (mortar)

3. Grasp and Tuck in the Robe – lan cha yi

  • Open left
  • Sink left, deep right foot to right: Left palm meets elbow.
  • Start arms left, then right palm out as it moves right
  • Tuck in robe (right hand up and out, left on waist)

4. Six Sealing and Four Closing – liu feng si bi

  • Left hand joins right, circle low (clockwise)
  • Small ball to left at chest, facing left. Turn and push to right as weight shifts to right.
  • Close left foot as weight remains on right

5. Dantian Change (Single Whip) – dan bian

  • 1. I: Hands circle up and around, counterclockwise, with arms bent.
  • 2.    Raise left leg as right hand rises to single whip, left hand cups dantien
  • 3. E: Sink on right leg, step left, and shift weight to left leg.
  • 1. I: Dantien rotates left, as left hand moves outward slightly, opening the cup
  • 2. E: Dantien rotates right as left hand moves across Dantien
  • 3. I: Left hand circles counterclockwise with dantien to open arms wide, stance high.
  • _. E: Sink.

6. White Goose Displays Its Wings – bai e liang chi

  • Relax hands, right comes to meet left, which comes down just a little to meet it
  • Continue clockwise circling of hands
  • Step left foot to left side, back of left-hand-hook leads the way

7. Oblique Posture – xe xing

  • Sink left, Deep right step to front: Left palm meets elbow
  • Start arms left, then right palm out as it moves right
  • Shift weight to right, right arm finishes high, left low, as left toe touches down

8. Embrace the Knee Paced (Twist) Steps – lou zi ao bu

  • Block left
  • Pivot on left toe, then right heel, as hands switch to left high, right low
  • Raise right arm as left foot comes to knee
  • Sink right. Deep left as hands stay raised
  • Left hand past knee as right hand pushes down, weight deep to left
  • Left hand to single whip and right to chest as body straightens up, still in low stance
  • Right hand circles clockwise with dantien to spread wings, still in deep left stance
  • Hands gather at left knee, then circle clockwise as weight shifts to right

9. Covering-the-Hand Forearm Fist – yan shou gong quan

  • Cat stance, left leg forward, hands open, palms facing, left high
  • Hands circle counterclockwise as knee rises
  • Set left foot as hands rotate in judo throw
  • Right hand stays in place as right foot rises and steps. Left hand circles clockwise to cover it.
  • Deep step with left to back as arms separate
  • Weight shifts to right. Left hand Chinese “8”. Right hand prepare to strike.
  • Strike, exhaling forcefully. Right fist strikes forward.
    Left elbow strikes back, left fist down and back.
  • Left fist slides down leg, right circles clockwise, wrists cover, left fist over right

10. Jin Gang Pounds with Pestle – jin gang dao dui

  • Hands open, arms open, weight shifts to right
  • Shift left heel to face front, shift weight to back left leg.
  • Heaven and Earth
  • Pound with Pestle

11. Diagonal Body-Stroke Fist – pie shen quan

  • Hands open low as left leg opens to left (middle stance)
  • Weight to left as right fist crosses chin, left fist goes low
  • Weight to right as left fist crosses chin, right fist goes low
  • Sink left. Deep right leg as right fist comes up and left starts down.
  • Start to left, then shift weight to right. Left fist crosses chin as right crosses knee.
  • Shift weight left. Right fist crosses chin as left crosses knee.
  • Left fist to waist as right fist rises to block. Stay low. Regard the fallen oppenent.

12. Push with Both Hands – shuang tui shou

  • Hands open, left moves up below right
  • Sweep hands clockwise, somewhat separated,
    continue around body to left as right foot rises
  • Now facing left. Hands continue sweeping clockwise from behind as right foot steps.
  • Push with both hands as left toe touches to the side.

13. Fist Presented Under the Elbow – zhou xia kan quan

  • Left hand circles low, right high.
  • Left finishes high, palm to side. Right finishes in fist at dantien.
  • Weight stays on right leg throughout.

14. Reverse with Spiraling Forearms – dao nian gang

  • Left wrist covers back of right wrist as left leg rises.
  • Step back with left leg. Open hands low.
  • Weight shifts to back left leg as left arm circles clockwise to left.
  • Left wrist covers back of right wrist as right leg rises.
  • Step back with right leg. Open arms low.
  • Weight shifts to back right leg as arms circle counterclockwise to right.
  • Arms move together down to left as left leg steps back.
  • Right foot comes up to knee, right hand low, left high, palms facing.
  • Right hand circles clockwise as left does likewise,
    but independently (opposite sides of circle), as right steps.
  • As left steps, left circles into down palm block, right palm poised at hip
  • Strike. Right palm/edge-of-hand high, left palm low.

15. Flash through the Back – shan tong bei

  • Shift weight to left leg
  • Twirl around from left-facing to right-facing, right hand coming over high.
  • Right knee rises as right hand descends and left comes up

16. Covering-the-Hand Forearm Fist – yan shou gong quan

  • Stamp right, fast deep-low step with left foot to front, Left wrist covering right.
  • Hands separate as weight shifts to left.
  • Left hand to Chinese “8”, right to fist at hip as weight shifts back to right.
  • F: Strike. Right fist strikes forward. Left elbow strikes back, left fist down and back.

17. Six Sealing and Four Closing – liu feng si bi

  • Hands circle up and back, weight to rear right leg
  • Hands circle down and forward, weight shifts to front left leg
  • Small ball to left at chest, facing left. Turn and push to right as weight shifts to right.
  • Close left foot as weight remains on right

18. Dantian Change (Single Whip) – dan bian

  • 1. I: Hands circle up and around, counterclockwise, with arms bent.
  • 2.    Raise left leg as right hand rises to single whip, left hand cups dantien
  • 3. E: Sink on right leg, step left, and shift weight to left leg.
  • 1. I: Dantien rotates left, as left hand moves outward slightly, opening the cup
  • 2. E: Dantien rotates right as left hand moves across Dantien
  • 3. I: Left hand circles counterclockwise with dantien to open arms wide, stance high.
  • _. E: Sink.

19. Maneuver the Hands – yun shou (3 back-steps to right)

  • Right hand circles down and front as left hand circles up and in
  • Weight shifts to right leg as arms continue circling
  • Look rightward. Step behind to right as right hand circles to ward high, left circles to ward low.
  • Look leftward. Step right foot to right. Arms continue circuling until left wards high, right low.
  • Repeat: Look rightward. Step behind to right as right hand circles to ward high, left circles to ward low.

20. Ground-Hacking Dragon – qie di long

  • Hands make fists. Right stays high as weight sinks deep to right.
  • Left fist travels down left leg.

21. Step Forward to Form the Seven Stars – shan bu qi xing

  • Weight shifts to front left leg as left fist circles high, right circles down and forward
  • Wrists meet, left on top of right in left forward lunge
  • Right foot comes up, touching toe to ground as hands circle, wrists remaining in contact until left wrist is in front
  • Exhale forcefully, sinking on left leg as doubled hands strike-push

22. Step Backward to Cross the Forearm – xia bu kua gong

  • Hands and body sink, gathering.
  • Hands and right knee rise, turning to face front.
  • Exhale forcefully as right foot stamps and doubled hands strike-push down (an)
  • Weight shifts to right. Hands separate and circle outward, returning to center: Palms facing, right hand lower.

23. Swing the Leg – bai jiao

  • Weight shifts to left. Step back-right as open hands circle up and back together (peng).
  • Weight shifts to right as hands come back and start forward.
  • Weight shifts back to left as left hook-hand comes forward across middle, right comes forward low
  • With weight on left leg, close right to just behind, toe touching ground. Shift hips left. Gather.
  • Exhale forcefully, bringing right leg up across body in crescent kick to right as right hand comes forward.
  • Slap right hand with side of foot.
  • Recover with right foot at left knee, both hands in front, left slightly forward.

24. Head-On Cannon – dang men pao

  • Gather fists to right hip.
  • Exhale forcefully and double-strike, left fist forward, palm up, right fist palm down.

25. Jin Gang Pounds with Pestle – jin gang dao dui

  • Weight on left leg, raise right knee and touch toe to ground
  • Heaven and Earth
  • Pound with Pestle

26. Closing Posture – shou shi

  • Inhale as arms circle outward, gathering sky energy.
  • Bring energy down back of crown to ear.
  • Hold, forming easy fists below the ears and bringing to chest.
  • Exhale, pushing energy down and to kua
  • Lift left leg and bring left foot side-by-side with right

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