Chinese Internal Martial Arts

 

Also referred to as The Wudang Style Arts, these practices are both martial and longevity promoting while primarily concerned with cultivating ones’ Chi (Qi) or energy/power and its source and improving one’s health. Once a pattern of energy cultivation is attained one’s physical potential is more easily tapped and extreme fitness and health made more achievable and good health becomes easier to maintain. The Contrast to Internal Styles are “The Shaolin Martial Arts” or “External Styles,” which connote physicality first and the energy cultivation only after the student has attained a level of fitness. However, the contrast is not as sharp as it once was. Tai Chi, Qigong, Baguazhang and Xing Yi are examples of the Internal Arts. The Internal Arts arose from the Daoist Temples of China, the most famous being the Temples of the Wudang Mountain Range. The External Styles arose from Buddhist Temples, the most famous being the Shaolin Temples of the Song Mountains. Salem Tai Chi Plus offers training in movements taught at the Wudang Mountain Academies of China. The difference being the emphasis is placed on doing the movements for health and longevity purposes while placing less emphasis on the martial aspects. While the martial applications may be taught at times to explain the motion, or taught specifically to a student because that’s their primary interest it takes a back seat to health promotion and a reduction of morbidity. So in effect, all hard contact, strikes and knockdowns are generally omitted from the training. That’s not to say an interested student won’t learn self defense if interested but they would have to take what is learned outside the program to practice the application at full speed and with hard contact.

TAI CHI OR TAIJI:

Translated as Supreme Ultimate, Tai Chi is one of the three main Internal martial arts with emphasis on health and longevity. It is done by a majority of its practitioners as a slow methodical movement with emphasis placed on softness, mental focus, coordination, balance and the subtle flow of energy or Chi (Qi). Tai Chi Chuan or Taiji Quan, translated as Supreme Ultimate Fist is the martial art itself, which additionally emphasizes self defense applications utilizing soft and hard, yielding and counterattack techniques. Tai Chi Chuan as an effective self defense by itself takes a considerable amount of time to gain proficiency to a level that is practical. It is usually only a part of one’s martial training as in the case of WuDang Temple training in which one’s martial training encompasses some proficiency in Tai Chi Chuan as well as Xing Yi, Baguazhang and Tai Yi.  

BAGUAZHANG:

Translated "Eight Trigram Palm,” or Bagua as it usually is referred, is one of the classical Internal Martial Arts, that it is concerned with promoting good health and internal power from the inside out. Whereas Tai Chi, is about serenity, more passive and Yin based, Baguazhang is all about “motion,” and constant moving in circular patterns. It is more Yang or active than Tai Chi, and some say it is the most comprehensive, sophisticated and health promoting of the Martial Arts. The movements are likened to dancing with all sorts of turns, spirals and twirls while concentrating on specific breathing patterns. The movements have self defense applications as well, however just as Tai Chi is performed by many for only its health benefits, likewise Bagua has its “Walking the Circle,” which combines a breathing exercise with walking in circular patterns, and then suddenly one reverses direction with a series of exercise or self defense movements. The difference between the health movements of Tai Chi and Bagua is that the “Bagua Circle Walk” can be a very high impact routine if desired.  Baguazhang Self Defense is very comprehensive and includes applications that appear in most of the other Chinese Martial Arts.  Once you begin to “get” Baguazhang it’s probably the most fun to do. again sort of like dancing.

QIGONG:

Or power cultivation as it is translated is the art of breath control and building a power reserve by combining breathing exercises with repetitive movements or a light exercise. QiGong of one form or another is a practice that all Chinese Martial Artist and Longevity Seekers learn and practice. It is the first thing that all Jim’s students learn.

TAI YI:

Translated as “supreme movement,” it is also referred to as Liang Yi, translated Two Poles Movement or Yin and Yang Movement. In Chinese Daoist Cosmology (Study of the Cosmos or Reality) first there is stillness or Wuji, then there is the motion of the one or the Tai Chi and then that motion begets the motion splitting into two poles (Yin and Yang) or Tai Yi/Liang Yi. The movements demonstrated in Tai Yi are alternating between two poles as in fast and then slow or hard and then soft. At Salem Tai Chi Plus the Tai Yi forms taught are Free and Wandering Palm, Cotton Palm, and Swimming Dragon 72 Closed Hand.

XING YI QUAN OR HSING I CHUAN:

As translated Xing/Hsing here refers to the martial form or a martial move of
itself. Yi or I refers to one’s mental intention, while Chuan or Quan refers to a fist or combat. Xing Yi Quan is somewhat of a hybrid of external and internal styles in that it is linear and hard like Shaolin External Style but emphasizes the utilization of focusing on Qi or energy movement to effect the moves, which is Wudang or Internal in nature. Like Tai Chi Chuan, Xing Yi is usually used as a self defense in conjunction with other Internal Styles. Modern Bagua practitioners often incorporate all the Internal Styles in their movements to some degree. Although that is not pure Baguazhang, it is what it has evolved to.

Program Directory of Movements:

Taoist Breathing Techniques

Qigong: Ji Ben, Ba Duan Jin, Wudang 5 Animal, and various others

Tai Chi (Taiji): Yang Style 24 Beijing, Yang Style 10 Step, San Feng 18

Tai Yi (Liang Yi): Tai Yi Palm or Carefree Palm, Cotton Palm, Swimming Dragon 72 Closed Hand

Baguazhang: Wudang, LuShan and various others

Xing Yi: Wu Xing Interlinking Fist, Various Techniques

Taoist Meditation Concepts

Chinese Boxing: Ancillary to main emphasis (health & longevity) only

Various Drills and Skills along with various DaoYin Exercise Movements

Bone and Joint Exercise Form