About us

Our aim is to maintain, preserve and develop the original traditional Taijiquan gongfu for serious practitioners into the future against the tides of commercialism and materialism that has flooded the Taijiquan community. 

This particular practice and variant is highly rigorous, detailed and complex, retaining much of the martial methods lost in other lines of the art, as well as the deeper biomechanical and structural components necessary to develop true energetic activity.

In Taijiquan these aspects are the makings of myth and legend; although true in essence and consistently promoted for profit by commercial schools and 'Tai Chi' franchises, the genuine practice method and curriculum containing the illustrated functional information is rarely, if ever found.

As we do practice and offer these genuine building blocks to martial skills and internal (energetic) knowledge, such a deep practice comes at a cost, which is focus and dedication to serious training. We seek to take on and guide from serious student to master practitioner. Given the focused and hard work of teaching a detailed and authentic system we prefer to take on students who are specifically looking to challenge themselves, do the hard work and expand their capabilities.

This practice is physically very challenging, mentally complex and extremely rewarding. There is no age limit nor health-condition prerequisite for training, only the willingness to challenge oneself. Interested and serious students are encouraged to contact the teacher to discuss it. We help determined, committed people from all walks of life achieve their goals in martial arts & health through this wonderful, highly challenging traditional Chinese martial art; from meditative practice of the routines for health and fitness, to in-depth study of combat drills and martial applications.

About Taijiquan

Chen Family Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is the original form of Taijiquan, a centuries old form of Chinese martial art (wushu) or ‘Gongfu’ (Kung fu), as well as a health and spiritual cultivation system. Chen Taiji gongfu was created combining ancestral Northern Chinese self defense and classical martial methods with Buddhist and Daoist meditation and cultivation methods along with the knowledge of traditional medicine and energy circuits in the body.


The forms (routines) are practised as a combination of gentle slow motion movements and sharp fast actions. It is a complex art with many levels to it, and is a lot more challenging than it may look.


Regular practise, perserverance and correct instruction help the student grasp the basic structures and co-ordinate the fundamental mechanics of our Taijiquan methods. For hundreds of years Taijiquan has been well known to increase health & vitality, improve concentration & focus, boost the immune system and ward off illness, if it is integrated into one's lifestyle.


The undulating, rhythmic, circular movements of its slow practise routines gently massage the internal organs, assist the lymphatic flow, align the skeleton, and increase circulation to every cell in the body; which over time, can help to bring robust health.

Many people nowadays practise Taijiquan form (solo movement routine) just for its health benefits and philosophical insight. The art has been well documented throughout history for its ability to aid healing and prevent illness by boosting the circulatory, respiratory, and immune systems. 


 "Taiji" is the name given to the philosophy of the interaction between Yin and Yang (the opposite yet mutually supportive forces of everything in nature and the universe). "Taijiquan" is the name of the system that we practise. "Quan" (pronounced ch-wan) means fist, or in this context, means martial art style. Many people regard Taijiquan as slow relaxed movement for health and well-being, but it is actually a combination of martial techniques, posture training, breath control, rich philosophy and moving meditation.


At a basic level, the movements are performed slowly and carefully, and they are suitable for most determined students. However, as students progress, the style also contains fast explosive movements, called ‘Fa Jin’ or ‘issue force’ - bursts of power for striking, long and short range. However these can be also practised at a more casual pace depending on the students physical abilities.

The idea is to link all the body parts together through slow careful practise over time so that the body can move as one whole interconnected unit - real Taijiquan is never just "waving your arms around", it is about learning to transfer energy (movement) through every part of the body like a whip. This transfer of energy can then be applied to different techniques. The first task is to learn to hold the correct structures and alignments in each move, then to learn to link them together.   

Our curriculum

At Chen Tai Chi Academy Poole we are practising and teaching Chen Zhaokui frame 83 form - what some call "Xinjia Yilu" under the Chen Yu Line (See 'Our Lineage'). 
This includes an encyclopedia of drills, methods, theories and techniques. Most people find our line of Taijiquan far more complex and physically demanding then what is commonly taught in more commercial classes. Those classes tend to be rather watered down to attract large numbers of students. This is not what we are about at all.

Origin

The earliest mentions of Taiji philosophy are around 5000 years ago when the "Book of Changes" (I Ching or Yi Jing) was written. This described the interaction of yin and yang and its relation to all things in nature and the universe.

It is widely accepted and historically verifiable that what is nowadays known as Taijiquan or Tai Chi (the martial art system), began around 400 years ago in Henan Province with Chen Wang Ting (陈王庭 1580 - 1660), Ninth generation of the Chen Family, when he retired to Chenjiagou (Chen family village). He was a seasoned, battle-hardened General at the end of the Ming dynasty and start of the Qing dynasty.

In his retirement he combined his vast knowledge of martial arts with Chinese Medicine theories, and a profound understanding of natural laws and Yin/Yang philosophy. The family style took their name and much later became known as Chen style Taijiquan.

Chen style is the original and most complete system, because, as the Taijiquan family tree spread across China, a lot of knowledge was lost within the other styles (Yang, Wu, Woo, Sun styles). Chen style perfectly embodies the yin & yang theory with its use of both slow and fast, soft and hard, high and low movements as well as its characteristic twining and coiling techniques.

Practising Taijiquan form - not as easy as it may look!

All styles of Chinese martial art have solo practice sequences known as "forms" that contain the techniques of the style. Nowadays, it has become popular for people to practice in groups, although greater progress can be made by oneself. In Taijiquan the forms are practiced regularly in order to develop strength, fitness and the attributes required to progress one's skill level. The level of detail beginners learn is just the tip of the iceberg; the art is infinite in its depth.


A common misconception is that Taijiquan is the 'easy' answer to exercise.  This could not be further from the truth. Most beginning students find out very quickly that it is extremely physically challenging, very complex and difficult to co-ordinate correctly. Some measure of dedication and regular practice is required to make any real progress in this art.


A student starts learning with large extended movements and the focus is on correct posture, alignment and smooth transitions that abide by the core method. As a person progresses, the circles generated from their body become gradually smaller, subtler and more internal. At an advanced level, these circles become very small, sometimes almost undetectable. This is why each persons Taiji form looks slightly different. We are all at different levels of ability. Whilst the techniques may have the same template, it is how the movements are generated, controlled and expressed that separates the level of the students.


As a beginner, one should breathe naturally during form practice and not try to force the breath to fit the postures. In the beginning, the movements themselves are enough to contend with... Taijiquan can be practiced at different speeds depending on training goals. If you practice very slowly you will need more breaths for a movement than if your movements are quicker. However, over time, and as the movements become part of you, you will develop a deeper 'body-intuition' and the correct breathing patterns will be taught and integrated with ones movements, to create a smooth & efficient way of executing the techniques, with the internal driving the external.