“I began Taiji because my teacher made me, but later realized its benefits for growing old gracefully and keeping much of the inner and outer strength of youth. I must constantly remind myself of its benefits, now that I am older, because the principles are deceivingly simple. So simple that a baby knows them, but as we grow ‘smarter’ the intellect takes charge and we lose beliefs which were once common and close at hand. Taiji is as close as one’s breath and as near as one’s heartbeat.”
– David Everett
I teach three distinct Taijiquan curriculums at White Lotus. There is, of course, the White Lotus Integrated Taiji style. I also teach traditional Chen Laojia (literally, “old frame”) and Taiji for Seniors. This page will talk about each curriculum and how they differ from, but also complement each other.
The following characterizations are for comparison only; use this material to decide which program is best for you. There is overlap and similarities between the curriculums and the study of one will be of benefit to the others. Taiji at its essence is Taiji.
Taiji for Seniors
A team of Taiji and medical experts created a simple, safe and effective program to reduce joint pain, prevent bone loss and improve balance. Taiji has been proven through scientific study to improve balance, strengthen muscle, increase flexibility and reduce stress-based illnesses. Many people enjoy learning the program and have gained significant health benefits from a program that is especially suited to seniors and people suffering from arthritis and osteoporosis.
The material in this program come mostly from Sun style Taijiquan and borrows from other styles – mostly Yang – and contain a good amount of Qigong (healing, breath-based exercises). It is compact, slow and steady, using higher stances and small, agile stepping.
For more information about Taiji for Seniors and the health benefits of Taiji visit the For Seniors Page.
White Lotus Taijiquan
White Lotus Integrated Taijiquan is based mostly on Yang style and contains material from two lesser-known styles: Wu Chun and Pai Young. It also adds training elements from such diverse arts as Bagua, Pikiti Tersia Kali, Aikido and Five Form Fist. White Lotus Taijiquan appears fuller and more graceful than other styles; using a medium stance and a slow-to-medium/fast rhythm. While the martial techniques are more hidden than the Chen style, with time, it can develop into a very effective self-defense system.
It is a complete training system with form practice, push hands (or rolling arms), Qigong (breathing), escapes (basic self-defenses), meditation, directional exercises, stepping exercises and weapons training.
The beginning student starts with the Yang short form and basic Qigong. The emphasis from the start is on Yi, or mind/will. The student progresses to learning rolling arms technique, directional exercises, sword drills and a basic sword form. S/he will also learn the Ling Po form. At the higher levels, more advanced forms appear with deeper stances and more-challenging movements.
Chen Style Taijiquan
Chen Laojia is the oldest style of Taijiquan training. It uses lower stances, jumping, stomping and kicking and is best-suited for students who are physically fit, although anyone can slowly build themselves up to its requirements. Its use of spiraling movements and its alternation from slow to fast can be challenging even to those with experience in other styles of Taijiquan. While usually considered the most martial of the Taiji styles, practice of Chen style can really have a profound effect on the health of the body and the energy level of the student.
The foundation of Chen Laojia is a set of exercises called Silk-Reeling. These are practiced extensively, especially in the beginning, to develop Chen style's unique spiraling force and to condition the body for “Fajing” (literally, “Explosive Force”). Chen style training is also a complete system including form practice, push hands, meditation and weapons training.
The beginning student starts with silk-reeling and Laojia Yilu (Old-style First Routine). The emphasis from the start is Li, or physical strength and conditioning. As the student learns Yilu, meditation and Qigong is introduced. Erlu - known as “The Cannon Fist Form” - is next, building up endurance through fast, explosive movement. Chen style also teaches push hands, straight sword, saber, staff and the guan dao (halberd).