The Taijiquan of the Four Main Directions

Sizheng Taijiquan

according to Master Chen Peishan

The article 'What is Taijiquan?' mentions some problematic developments and misunderstandings that have arisen with the worldwide spread of Taijiquan in recent times. It points out that traditional Taijiquan is complex and requires a lot of study, and the time required to learn it deters many interested people, or they take a step back from Taijiquan after an initial phase of enthusiasm.

In 2006, Master Chen Peishan presented Sizheng Taijiquan, which he had developed over a period of more than ten years for modern people, not least as a way out of such difficulties. The term sizheng refers to the four (si) main directions (zheng) in space. Another meaning of sizheng is the four main channels or meridians of Chinese medicine, which are to be particularly stimulated. It is a short form of Taijiquan (taolu) and accompanying exercises based on the same principles as the traditional Chen-Clan Taijiquan of the Small Frame.

At the same time, a number of innovations have been introduced that take into account the specific (physical) starting situation of many people today. For example, the spiral movement that is so important for all Taijiquan, which extends from the feet, legs and abdominal centre (dantian) along the torso to the arms and fingertips (chansi-fa, 'method of uncoiling the silk thread'), is consistently preserved in Sizheng Taijiquan. On the other hand, this important concept, which is not easy to understand and physically implement in compact movements, is made more accessible to beginners by enlarging the movements.

The enlargement of the movement (which is not simply a linear stretching, but a three-dimensional expansion) also mobilises the shoulder joint, as well as the chest and back, which can alleviate or regenerate many painful impairments in this area. An important key to this is not to force the movements, but to let them arise from intention or imagination (yi) (yong yi bu yong li: 'use imagination, do not use force'). Sizheng Taijiquan, conceived in this way, is therefore a fully fledged, independent exercise practice that requires far less time than the comprehensive traditional Taijiquan.

However, since this shortening does not involve a flattening or modification of the essential concepts, it is possible to start practising traditional Taijiquan at any time without having to relearn or re-educate oneself, as interest grows. This is all the more true since Master Chen Peishan added a Sizheng sword form to the Sizheng form in 2015, thus adding another important component of traditional Taijiquan, weapon training.