Thursday, February 23, 2012

Square form tai-chi according to Wang DiXian

There are more than one interpretation of square form tai-chi. The main reason is that some Wu-style lineage institutionalized a program of tai-chi form training by creating an entry-level form using a regimented exercise form. This "square form" segmented each tai-chi style (式) into separate linear movements. Although I didn't learn my tai-chi this way, my view is that this is not at all a bad way to teach a large beginning class, like some of those 100+ students class organized by some organizations in Hong Kong. But there is more to it.

Lineage oftentimes restricts a practitioner's degree-of-freedom in learning. A better learner will be one who can expand his learning horizon through other lineages or methods. Today it is easy because, for want of students and fame, contemporary masters have been opening their bags-of-tricks through a booming publishing industry and, not the least, through the internet.

Prominent Wu-style tai-chi master Wang DiXian's book "Wu-style tai-chi (the use of point and straight line and the use of curves) - 吴式太极拳(走点线和走贯串)" is one of such goodies. The former is the square form (方拳) whereas the latter is the round form (圆拳). The essence of the square form is to promote form (therefore power) integrity whereas the round form promote flow integrity.

As master Wang stated in the title of his book, the square form is defined by point and straight line. A strong structure (and therefore power generation) is built through focused points joining together by straight lines. And in movement, the contact point is joint through straight lines to the foundation points. It is important in power externalization (like in punching and Fa Jing (发劲)). Interested readers can refer to Wang's book (in Chinese).  Those who are familiar with Master Wang XiangZai's stuff can find similarity with YiQuan's Triangular force (三角力) and Contending force (争力).

Actually I have discussed the subject in some other posts, the most notable one can be read HERE

Two books by Wang DiXian


  1. I practice the square form. It's a much different sort of practice than the round form (which I practice as well).

  2. Indeed, feeling the difference is most important, in tai-chi lingo it is called being able to "listen to Jing" (听劲).


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