Opinions on potential Chen Schools please

Kurt L.

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Hi, I have been lurking for a little while and I was hoping to get some learned opinions on the quality of several Chen schools in Perth, Western Australia.

A little bit about me....

I'm 34, quite fit and healthy, and I have been doing Taoist Tai Chi for the last 2 years. Yes, I've read all the TTC threads, and I must admit they have opened my eyes to notice the value of incorporating other styles into my learning. However, they have inspired me not so much to quit TTC, but to expand upon it. My plan is two-fold:

a) Continue with TTC, as I have felt changes in my body, and I REALLY value the community development aspect (I think as the learning of Tai Chi deepens, one's maturity must also be cultivated, and I feel that supporting your community is such a potent way to do this).

b) Jump feet first into a different style with traditional roots.

What I'm looking for is a more active style, with martial applications, that still has internal cultivation as the primary/big focus. I assume Chen style fits this (from what I have seen and read on these forums), but if I am off base, please let me know.

With that in mind, I've found a few schools that look promising, and this is where anyone with direct experience of the instructors, or can determine the legitimacy of the school, please speak up and give me some guidance.

1. Chen Style Practical Method TaiJi Quan Australia - Sydney School of Grandmaster Hong Jusheng s Practical Method Taiji QuanChen Style Practical Method TaiJi Quan Australia Sydney School of Grandmaster Hong Jusheng s Practical Method Taiji Quan Sparse website, but apparently they teach in Perth.

2. Western Australia Tai Chi and Perth Australian Academy of Tai Chi and Qigong

3. Term Classes Perth Tai Chi Academy

4. Chen Tai Chi Perth WA Authentic and Traditional Tai Chi Classes in Perth

5. Internal arts - taijiquan

6. Chinese Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy Perth - Tai Chi

Thanks for any opinions and insight!!

Kind regards,
Kurt
Internal arts - taijiquan
 

kuniggety

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I can't speak for any of those schools but I can speak for Chen taichi as I studied it privately for 6 months. With the use of fajing, the martial applications are apparent. The same can be said for push hands. I would highly recommend finding a school that does push hands if your current one doesn't. It teaches you a lot about sensivity and the grounding of your body weight (which is a big focus in Chen).
 

zzj

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Hi, I have been lurking for a little while and I was hoping to get some learned opinions on the quality of several Chen schools in Perth, Western Australia.

A little bit about me....

I'm 34, quite fit and healthy, and I have been doing Taoist Tai Chi for the last 2 years. Yes, I've read all the TTC threads, and I must admit they have opened my eyes to notice the value of incorporating other styles into my learning. However, they have inspired me not so much to quit TTC, but to expand upon it. My plan is two-fold:

a) Continue with TTC, as I have felt changes in my body, and I REALLY value the community development aspect (I think as the learning of Tai Chi deepens, one's maturity must also be cultivated, and I feel that supporting your community is such a potent way to do this).

b) Jump feet first into a different style with traditional roots.

What I'm looking for is a more active style, with martial applications, that still has internal cultivation as the primary/big focus. I assume Chen style fits this (from what I have seen and read on these forums), but if I am off base, please let me know.

With that in mind, I've found a few schools that look promising, and this is where anyone with direct experience of the instructors, or can determine the legitimacy of the school, please speak up and give me some guidance.

1. Chen Style Practical Method TaiJi Quan Australia - Sydney School of Grandmaster Hong Jusheng s Practical Method Taiji QuanChen Style Practical Method TaiJi Quan Australia Sydney School of Grandmaster Hong Jusheng s Practical Method Taiji Quan Sparse website, but apparently they teach in Perth.

2. Western Australia Tai Chi and Perth Australian Academy of Tai Chi and Qigong

3. Term Classes Perth Tai Chi Academy

4. Chen Tai Chi Perth WA Authentic and Traditional Tai Chi Classes in Perth

5. Internal arts - taijiquan

6. Chinese Kung Fu Tai Chi Academy Perth - Tai Chi

Thanks for any opinions and insight!!

Kind regards,
Kurt
Internal arts - taijiquan

Didn't think I would be the best person to give an opinion as I don't live in WA, but seeing as there's still no direct response to the question I might as well chime in with my 1 cent's worth.

Assuming that you are interested in Tai Chi as a martial art, and Chen style as the style you are looking to learn, the following are my impressions, coupled with what little knowledge I have with regards to the 5 schools:

1) The practical method is NOT the official Chen Village style. It is an variant developed by Hong Jun Sheng, a long time student of Chen Fa Ke (grandfather to the current lineage holder). That said, the practical method (from what I have seen and heard) seems to be very much focused on application in push hands and combat; my own opinion is that it looks like a reductive, more mechanical version of Chen Style, but still retains and utilizes internal skills to good effect. My fellow students who have done push hands with Practical Method students found them to be focused and formidable...

2. From the website they do not state what style they teach, but from the few photos available it does not look like Chen style. I have not heard of Grandmaster Gary Khor so I do not feel I can comment on this school, however, they seem rather more esoteric in their approach, which may have similarities with Taoist Tai Chi.

3. Hardly any information at all. But keywords such as Arthritis, Tai Chill, Zen Fit etc leads me to think this is probably not what you are looking for.

4. I have to declare my bias here, as this school is from the same Chen Lineage as mine, i.e. Zhu Tian Cai, who is one of the 4 recognized Grandmasters of the official Chen Style from Chen Village. The instructor is a direct student of Zhu Tian Cai so this may be the best option if your intention is to study authentic Chen Style Tai Chi in Perth.

5. This school teaches the Chen Pan Ling style, which is NOT Chen style. It is supposedly a modern synthesis of the major styles of Tai Chi. I am not familiar with this style but the videos of the form looks primarily like a combination of Yang and Wu styles.

6. The website does specifically mention that they teach the Chen Style of Tai Chi, but my impression is that primary focus of the school is Choy Lay Fut Kung Fu (a major Southern Chinese style) and Tai Chi is practiced more as internal cultivation to augment the CLF training.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed are purely my own, based on less than 2 years' worth of training in Chen Style Tai Chi
 

Xue Sheng

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Agree with zzj here if you are looking for Chen style, go with #4.

#1 is a variant of Chen, and usually a good variant, but not Chen taijiquan as done by the Chen Family

As for Chen Pan Ling, I have no direct experience with his style, but he was not a member of the Chen family of Chen Taiji fame. However I have heard a few that train in this line and they seem to be pretty happy, but like I said, I have no direct experience with the style.

As for the rest...not much more to say
 

East Winds

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Perhaps I can offer some help. I studied Taoist T'ai Chi for 10 years and became a Continuing Instructor, before moving on to study Traditioanl Yang Family Taijiquan from the Yang Zhen Ji lineage for the last 15 years. I do not know the Chen schools you have listed, but can certainly recommend Chen style as a style very worthy of study. However you will very quickly discover that you cannot study both styles!!! EVERYTHING is different. Body posture, foot positioning, energy development, speed, martial postures etc. etc. Moy Lin Shin took the Yang set and modified it. Dropped Yang Cheng Fu's 10 essentials and introduced his own 5 postures. If I were you, I would go with the recommendations of the previous posters and abandon the TTCS completely. With Chen, you will find a whole new attitude, a whole new system and a tremendous benefit to the body that you will never experience with TTCS. Very best wishes and keep us informed of your progress.

If I can help in any other way, please get in touch.

Very best wishes

Alistair
 

mograph

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... I REALLY value the community development aspect (I think as the learning of Tai Chi deepens, one's maturity must also be cultivated, and I feel that supporting your community is such a potent way to do this).

Kurt, how does your particular branch of the TTCS engage in community development? Does it contribute to entities outside the TTCS or just within the TTCS?
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Kurt, how does your particular branch of the TTCS engage in community development? Does it contribute to entities outside the TTCS or just within the TTCS?

Hi Mograph, the community development is made outside of the TTCS in a number of ways:
  • Women's refuges, homeless men's shelters and youth programs get either money or goods. As far as I know, it's done by the members of the branch, not the larger society.
  • When there are larger disasters, the society as a whole donates money. So when the tsunami hit Asia in (?) 2005, the society donated over $50,000 to help reconstruct communities.
  • We also have a symbiotic relationship with the Chung Wah Association, a Chinese-Australian Association that promotes cultural exchange and support.
  • Finally, we make ourselves available to members of the community who might otherwise be excluded: The Health Recovery Classes are aimed specifically at people who face barriers due to age, physical or intellectual disability, mental illness, serious health issues (stroke, Parkinson's etc).
For me these things are so important, as I am beginning to recognise my part/place in community. Thus for me right now, there is no way I can progress individually without adding to and caring for my community (i.e. maturation and deepening of myself).

Cheers,
Kurt
 

mograph

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Thanks, Kurt -- this highlights the difference between the different branches of the TTCS: I've seen that the farther away one gets from Central Ontario, the kinder and more charitable the branch because the Central Executive offers less interference. Of course, that's not a hard and fast rule.

At any rate, it's good to hear that your branch is contributing to the community outside the TTCS.
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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So, first class with the new Sifu (Sien Long Chong). Markedly different to TTCS, as we all knew. Straight away he's beginning to talk about martial applications as being the basis for the form and structure demonstrated. He's also very strong internally. He demonstrated an advanced technique (of push hands?) on me for the class.... It was great to actually feel his developed power, very easily able to push me off balance.

I wanted to mention... Alistair, thanks for dropping by and extending your expertise/assistance. When I originally read some of your posts about TTCS, I did feel they were quite anti-TTCS. However, after giving this new style (Chen) a single lesson, I can see your point. They (TTCS) do have limitations. However, I'm not yet ready to quit my membership, as the community development (a larger, more inclusive aspect of health recovery) I still feel has so much. This may change in the future, I'm open to all possibilities.

Thanks everyone else for your input, in particular with helping me to narrow down the choice to the Chen school I have chosen. I'll keep updating this thread as I go. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the two different styles.

Cheers,
Kurt
 

zzj

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So, first class with the new Sifu (Sien Long Chong). Markedly different to TTCS, as we all knew. Straight away he's beginning to talk about martial applications as being the basis for the form and structure demonstrated. He's also very strong internally. He demonstrated an advanced technique (of push hands?) on me for the class.... It was great to actually feel his developed power, very easily able to push me off balance.

I wanted to mention... Alistair, thanks for dropping by and extending your expertise/assistance. When I originally read some of your posts about TTCS, I did feel they were quite anti-TTCS. However, after giving this new style (Chen) a single lesson, I can see your point. They (TTCS) do have limitations. However, I'm not yet ready to quit my membership, as the community development (a larger, more inclusive aspect of health recovery) I still feel has so much. This may change in the future, I'm open to all possibilities.

Thanks everyone else for your input, in particular with helping me to narrow down the choice to the Chen school I have chosen. I'll keep updating this thread as I go. It will be interesting to compare and contrast the two different styles.

Cheers,
Kurt

Sounds like you're off to a good start, I hope you will find your subsequent lessons as fruitful as your first.
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Thanks ZZJ, and also thanks a bunch for your input! I'm very glad I followed your advice!
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Just a quick update...
I've been continuing with my Chen practice and have been loving it. Unfortunately, Sien is moving soon, but he will leave behind two very capable students (multiple years of practice, one of whom has competed and is quite proficient with the martial aspect, to say the least). There has been a strong focus on the waist, on rooting and on correct initiation of movement. Really enjoying this so far.
Cheers everyone!
 

zzj

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Just a quick update...
I've been continuing with my Chen practice and have been loving it. Unfortunately, Sien is moving soon, but he will leave behind two very capable students (multiple years of practice, one of whom has competed and is quite proficient with the martial aspect, to say the least). There has been a strong focus on the waist, on rooting and on correct initiation of movement. Really enjoying this so far.
Cheers everyone!

Where is he going if you don't mind my asking? Are these 2 students taking over the running of his school?
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Hi zzj, I believe Sien is off to Japan, but I can't confirm that as of yet.
In terms of the students, well, they're continuing to take his class on Saturday. I don't know whether he has a school per se, so I don't really know how it will pan out. The students (and to be honest, I don't really know whether they are his current students or former students) are intending to keep teaching, which I'm quite happy about.
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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A few more months in and some more reflections. I'm still learning so much, as expected, and I think it's the actual practical applications that I'm liking so much. Rather than being a theoretical reason as to why we should have this form or that form, the use is demonstrated....a potent reminder of why we assume the form in the first place. It's not just pretty or flowy!

We're still being taught by the new instructors (Sien's former students), and now learning the 72 form, maybe a fifth or quarter of the way through. Trying to embody Feng Song and Peng in all my moves. Also now learning to not be double weighted, or to be short (leg straight). At home, I'm doing lots of silk reeling (Chan Si Jing, I understand) and the breathing/warm up exercises. One of the instructors is instructing me (haha!) to each day spend 6 mins in the silk reeling position... First with the left leg, then the right leg predominantly weighted. Embrace the burn! All in all, really good stuff.
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Found this video when looking at other taiji videos. Interesting to see, considering I was contemplating this style at the start of the year.


Hope all are swell!

Kurt
 

greytowhite

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I saw a Taoist Tai Chi Society performance here in Tempe but it was... not taiji as I have known it. I trained with Chen Xiaowang's lineage and learned a bit from the Practical Method guys. I feel that the Practical Method guys will give you better skill development.
 
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Kurt L.

Kurt L.

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Hi all, quick question here. What's the thought on weight training and it's effects on Taiji? The reason I ask is that my other passion is downhill mountain biking where it pays to have some strength and endurance. Because of this, I do some pushups and chinups three times a week. My goal is not to get big, just have decent strength and some extra muscle to help keep joints intact in case of a tumble. I'd imagine that over-reliance on muscle runs counter to the principles of Taiji, so I'm wondering what's the "line in the sand", so to speak.

Cheers all!
 

kuniggety

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You're not going to get swollen off of body weight stretch training. Taiji promotes physical health by encouraging correct posture. As long as any activities you're doing doesn't compromise correct body alignment/posture then you're okay.
 
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