November 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm #43328
The retreats webpage explains that there are three tai chi qigong forms in the Healing Tao. A few questions if I may.
Were all three forms formulated by Mantak Chia?
Here it suggests that Chia has refined the forms over the years. On the retreat, is it the most up-to-date versions of #1 and #2 that are taught?
Is #3 ever taught? Could you say a little more about #3?November 17, 2014 at 11:23 pm #43329
>>>Were all three forms formulated by Mantak Chia?
Yes and no.
Master Chia learned all kinds of Tai Chi forms from many different Tai Chi masters.
Of these, he selected three that he liked.
Then he shortened these and turned them into the Tai Chi Qigong forms that we practice in the Healing Tao.
Tai Chi 2-3 has not changed much at all over years. They are virtually the same as the originals, with only slight inconsequential differences. I am familiar with these differences, but they don’t matter terribly much. In fact, most outside observers wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference or know that there was anything different. So these differences aren’t too important.
Tai Chi 1 HAS changed quite a bit over the years. The current Tai Chi 1 form has quite a lot of differences from the original presentation. He has added in various components of Iron Shirt 2 and Dantian (T’an Tien) Qigong into the form that were not present originally. Again, I’m familiar with both versions. I discuss these differences in the class.
>>>On the retreat, is it the most up-to-date versions of #1 and #2 that are taught?
When I teach Tai Chi 1, I mostly teach the original version.
The reason is:
1. The newer version is much more difficult to learn.
2. Those that do learn the newer version have a much more difficult time in doing it “well”. Unless you are a real pro, the newest version of the form can look very choppy and quite bad. To be honest, the only person I’ve seen that can pull it off successfully and make it look good is Master Chia himself.
3. Most people can’t do Iron Shirt 2 to begin with, so trying to embed this into the Tai Chi 1 form on top of that, tends to be a disaster.
4. Most people in the US are familiar with a version of the form that is more similar to the original transmission. Thus someone who learns the newer version will not only find the newer version more difficult to master, but even if they did, they are not as likely to pass certification tests in Tai Chi 1 because the evaluators are not as familiar with it.
5. The original version isn’t going to change. Even if a person learns the newest version, this might not be current in a few years . . . so if they wanted to get certified, they wouldn’t pass either by people familiar with the original, or the most current (because it may have changed in those few years).
Unless someone chooses to learn Tai Chi 1 from Master Chia solely, I think it makes more sense to stick with something closer to the original transmission. Those that get certified can learn other modifications in their own time.
>>>Is #3 ever taught? Could you say a little more about #3?
Tai Chi 3 has never been taught in the US. Even Tai Chi 2 is relatively hard to find, although I’m teaching this currently. I do know Tai Chi 3, but I haven’t gotten certified to teach it yet. This is a goal of mine, and I hope to be able to offer this in a year or so after I get the certification. It’s a little tricky as it requires connecting with Master Chia and getting my skill up to his standards. I did a half-hour private lesson with him in this spring 2014 to refine my form after a couple of years of prior practice. It’s already pretty good, so I hope to get this certification soon. I did do a demonstration of the Tai Chi 3 form in my Tai Chi class last year by special request from the students to see what it looked like, and some of them have expressed interest in learning it when I get the certification. It looks really cool and it is fun to do. 🙂
Tai Chi 3 is a medium-paced tendon Tai Chi form that has an entirely new dimension of movement not present in Tai Chi 1 or 2. It’s a modification of a Southern Wu family Tai Chi form that has been “complexified” by Master Chia.
StevenNovember 18, 2014 at 10:21 am #43331
Thanks for the comprehensive answers. Very helpful.
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