Tai Chi instructional videos?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by imawimp, Sep 8, 2003.

  1. imawimp

    imawimp New Member

    Im looking for recomendations and opinions on Tai Chi instructional videos. In particular I am looking for instruction for the Yang 24 posture set.
  2. Petrok

    Petrok New Member

    I recently started attending Tai Chi classes where we're learning the Peking 24 Form (Yang style).

    A few weeks ago I bought a couple of videos by Dr Paul Lam and I'm finding these very useful as a supplement to classes. These are 'Tai Chi for Health: The Six Forms' and 'The 24 Forms'.

    The Six Forms is intended for beginners and is based on the 24 Forms. I would say that it provides an excellent introduction to Tai Chi and gives you the confidence and basic skills to progress to a longer form. Each form is covered in detail and is broken down with quite a lot of repetition showing front, back and side views. The full set is then demonstrated using front and back views. In addition, the Six Forms video shows some warm up and Qigong exercises. Dr Lam points out some common errors that beginners make with regard to posture and demonstrates the correct form.

    The 24 Form video has a similar format although there is not so much repetition. Again, each form is covered individually and is often shown from an alternative angle. The complete set is then demonstrated using front and back views. The video also has some Qigong exercises.

    In some ways I find the videos better than classes because you can follow at your own pace and practice an individual form as many times as you like simply by rewinding the tape. I particularly like the repetition in the Six Forms tape - it does make learning easier, especially for me. I think it can be difficult following something like Tai Chi from a video because you are working in the opposite direction to the performer on screen which can be confusing. Both the above videos are good because they show front, side and back views. Neither of these videos has any information regarding the self defence application of Tai Chi. A book like Wong Kiew Kit's Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan might be a useful addition there.

    You can find out about Paul Lam's videos here:

  3. imawimp

    imawimp New Member

    Found one

    Finally found a tape that works for me, "Tai Chi Chaun - 24 Postures with Applications, Standard 48 Posture Routine."

    Found it on the YMAA site (www.ymaa.com)

    It shows the basic 24 and 48 posture routines from front rear and side. It has been helpful already.
  4. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    Petrok, what on Earth is the Peking 24 Yang form? That web link didn't seem in the least martial to me. I'm imagining one of those videos in idyllic settings with soft-focus camera-work...

    From where I stand, Yang 24 is the creation of the late great Cheng Man Ching. Peking 24 sounds like the PRC sanctioned version...

    Tell me it ain't so!

    While I'm here, I am interested in fighting/application tapes for taichi. Any recommendations? So far I've got BK Frantzis doing defensive apps and Huang Sheng Shyan whooping ass in a PRC national championship.

    Last edited: Sep 20, 2003
  5. RobP

    RobP Valued Member

    Try www.systema.org.uk

    There is a range of instructional tai chi tapes there I made a few years back, from forms through to basic and intermediate application work.


  6. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    Nice one Rob; expect an order when I kickstart my cashflow, again :)

  7. imawimp

    imawimp New Member

    The tape I bought also shows aplications for the individual postures. Personally I thought that some of the applications seemed a little "optimistic" but Im new at this so what do I know?
  8. Petrok

    Petrok New Member

    I find Tai Chi history confusing. From what I understand, Cheng Man Ching's Short Form is a 37 form (not a 24 form) based on Yang Chen Fu's Long Form and is commonly known as the Yang Short Form.

    The National Physical Culture and Sports Commission of the PRC developed the 24 Form in the mid 1950's and is predominantly a Yang style form. It seems to be often referred to as '24 Form' or confusingly as 'Yang 24 Form'. It's also known as the Peking or Beijing Short Form.

    I don't think that the 24 Form should be dismissed because it's a government creation nor it's combat elements ignored. I've already found several of the patterns useful: eg. Cloud Hands as a blocking technique, Playing the Lute against thrust punches, Single Low Whip against kicks, to name a few. It's also a good starting point for beginners, especially those with no MA experience and provides a good foundation before moving onto longer forms and the sword forms.

    I would agree that the trailers on the website for Paul Lam's videos look pretty lame (and misleading). The couple of videos that I've got are not like that at all, although as I said in my earlier post, he doesn't deal with any combat aspects in these, but then, combat is just one of the many aspects of Tai Chi.

    If you're particularly interested in the combat aspect of Tai Chi Chuan you might be interested in Erle Montaigue's site:



  9. David

    David Mostly AFK, these days

    Thanks Petrok, I didn't notice that Erle Montaigue had done fighting tapes! AFAIK, he's moving to the UK soon :)

    Why anyone would opt for the PRC official version when they can get one of the real versions instead... :Confused: It doesn't seem right - only a madman would trust the PRC to do this right, surely!

    It's a relief to know that yu're getting martial stuff out of it.

    Now you mention it, 37 sounds familiar... Cheng Man Ching's Yang short form is probably 37 moves :) I just went to check (I have 3 books on what I studied) but I can't find any one of them!) so I'll stand by my second guess.

    When I trained it I was in the minority in wanting it as a martial art but the teacher was great (still is, hopefully!) in that he gave everyone what they wanted out of it.

  10. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    G'day David,
    Regarding Erle and fighting tapes, I think as you delve deeper into his website you will quickly come to realize that Erle is just about 110% geared towards combat Taijiquan. I am a student of his system and can say that apart from the Yang Cheng Fu 108 1st long form everything else in his system is about anhialating your opponent.

  11. zun

    zun New Member

    Ditto. Also an (indirect) student of Erle's. Highly recommended, though some of the tapes are a little old!
  12. Petrok

    Petrok New Member

    G'day Syd

    I'm thinking about getting a few of Erle Montaigue's Taijiquan videos:

    Yang Cheng-Fu Form Plus Basic Qigong
    Yang Lu-Ch'an or Old Yang Style of Taijiquan
    How To Use T'ai Chi And Pa-Kua For self defence

    What's the difference between the Yang Cheng Fu Form and the Yang Lu Chan Form? On the Tai Chi World site, it says that the Yang Cheng Fu form has 300 postures:eek: Is that a typo? I notice in an earlier post that you mentioned the Yang Cheng Fu 108 1st Long Form - is this the same Form? Even so, it must still take quite a long time to learn/perform).

    How many forms do these sets have and is there a lot of repetition?


  13. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    G'day Petrock!

    I'm thinking about getting a few of Erle Montaigue's Taijiquan videos:

    You can't go wrong with his tapes as they are highly detailed.

    Yang Cheng-Fu Form Plus Basic Qigong Yang Lu-Ch'an or Old Yang Style of Taijiquan How To Use T'ai Chi And Pa-Kua For self defence

    These are all excellent titles and I have the first two mentioned myself.

    What's the difference between the Yang Cheng Fu Form and the Yang Lu Chan Form? On the Tai Chi World site, it says that the Yang Cheng Fu form has 300 postures Is that a typo? I notice in an earlier post that you mentioned the Yang Cheng Fu 108 1st Long Form - is this the same Form? Even so, it must still take quite a long time to learn/perform).

    The difference between the YCF and YLC forms is huge in that some of the postures would be considered to be out of order in comparison to one another. Secondly, the YCF form is supposed to be practised at a snails pace so as to maximise the health benefits as it is a big long Qigong. The YLC form has explosive fajin and leaping kicks etc whereas the YCF form does not. THe YLC form is a fighting set and the YCF form is a health and Qigong set. The YCF form does have kicks but these are done very slowly (Which is much harder than performing the kicks quickly) in keeping with the slow continuous flow of the form. Infact it could be said that performing the YCF form is much more difficult than performing the faster small frame of YLC; just try doing slow Taiji for 30 mins!

    I can't tell you how many movements the YLC form has as I have never counted but it is long like the YCF form. Infact the YCF form when performed properly should take about 30 mins to perform! As to repetitions there are some basic repetitions in each of the three sets but all of these are necessary in order to work on all the internals and bathe the meridians to maximum capacity. I'm not a fan of Shorterned forms and neither is Erle because the length of the form has a direct bearing on your health benefits and on the time spent building your Qi. It is not the same to just get to the end of a short form and go back to the beginning again.

    That would be like stopping your 3 circle standing Qigong every 5 minutes and then beginning everything again! Allot of people don't really understand the importance of practicing the original long forms. It is vital that you perform the long forms and that it be continuous for the length of time prescribed in order to reap the full benefits. Erle will have an article on his site about this if you dig around.

    The Yang Cheng Fu form we practise in Fajinquan is his 1st form which has approximately 108 movements depending on how you like to count. Erle may be counting in a different fashion when he say's 300 but if thats what he says then yes it's probably 300!

    I think both forms are superb and when I have a break away from Taijiquan and feel run down I notice that in a matter of three days my entire system is rejuvinated by the Yang Cheng Fu form. I'm sure you'll enjoy working with the tapes and both these forms a great deal. If you have never practised these forms before it might help to get correction from someone who teaches Erle's system in your area when you have completed the forms as there is more to it than meets the eye. Having said that though he has correction tapes anyway which will take you deeper into correcting common mistakes.

    I hope this helped to answer some of your questions. ;)

    Very best, Syd
  14. Petrok

    Petrok New Member

    Thanks Syd.

    I had a long browse on Erle Montaigue's site. There are a lot of good articles and books for downloading.

    I looked at some of the video clips - he certainly seems to go into a lot of detail. I know that videos aren't an ideal way to learn but I like to use them as a supplement to classes. Finding good videos/Tai Chi instructors isn't easy and I think I'll enjoy working with the EM ones. Maybe at some point I'll attend one of the WTBA workshops.


  15. Syd

    Syd 1/2 Dan in Origami

    G'day Petrok!

    Actually Erle is one of the few people who's video's you can learn from in pretty fine detail without needing an instructor to play johnny on the spot. As I said there always nuances and tiny movements that can be corrected by a good instructor but Erle has tapes on those aspects also. It's an excellent system no matter which way you slice it. I wish you luck on your journey.

    Very best, Syd
  16. KungFuGrrrl

    KungFuGrrrl Valued Member

    I have been studying TC and WC for about 7 & 1/2 yrs teaching TC for 5+
    I like Erle M.
    However, whether it be MA or Yoga or Pilates etc.. you always run into the old *you really need a teacher* so you maintain proper posture someone who can correct your technique...... teach you about breathing etc when they feel you are ready to advance.....
    but good luck anyways!
  17. Petrok

    Petrok New Member

    Hi KungFuGrrrl

    I do have an instructor but I like to use videos in addition to attending class as I can learn new forms/styles. I also like having another perspective, seeing the similarities and differences between different instructors.

    Unfortunately where I live, TCC seems to be taught mainly for its health benefits and the martial aspect is given a back seat. My instructor does explain/demonstrate some applications but it is fairly superficial. I've seen several people start coming to classes and when the instructor shows an application they are horrified to find that TCC is in fact a martial art and not some kind of gentle Chinese dance.

    I'd love to attend regular classes where TCC is taught in a more comprehensive way but that's not possible, there just aren't the instructors where I live. I have booked a place on one of Erle M's workshops, so that should be well worth waiting for!



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