On the correct practice of Taijiquan

Training content

Preliminary remark

In the ongoing training of Taijiquan, the exercise disciplines listed below must be understood and practised in their entirety. No movement sequences are merely studied as pure freestyle. Building on the outer framework of the exercise disciplines, theory and inner practice are taught. The aim is to understand the essence of the system with all its facets. A profound understanding of a movement or martial art requires many years of learning and practice.

Overview of the teaching content

(Stand 01.2017)

The following provisional overview is intended to provide an indication of the teaching content within the Society for Research and Practice of the Small Frame Chen-Clan Taijiquan. It is important to note that these are not fixed stages that can or must be worked through in sequence. The various contents are connected in many ways and often mutually dependent.

Jibengong: Basic work

Zhan Zhuang: Standing like a pillar: standing in a shoulder-width stance or mabu to practice various aspects of internal body organisation and with different arm positions

  • Zhanligong: standing with arms hanging down or Wuji zhuang
  • Baoqiugong: Embracing the ball

Gongfa: Methods for developing skills

  • Shouxing: Correct understanding of the various hand and fist positions.
  • Shoufa: Hand and arm methodology: correct methodology for turning, pressing, pulling, pushing, stabbing, striking, etc.
  • Bufa: Step methodology: correct methodology for slow and fast movement
  • Buxing: Posture methodology: correct alignment and integration of all body areas and parts in static postures and during movement
  • Shenxing: Correct understanding of basic anatomical facts.
  • Shenfa: body methodology: correct methodology of the whole-body structures
  • Dangfa: Gusset methodology: correct integration of the spherical area between the perineum, the inner side of the thighs and the knees
  • Yanfa: Eye method: correct use of the eyes and the associated intention (yi)

Chansigong: method for developing the uncoiling of the silk thread (central principle in Chen Taijiquan for developing spiral-shaped force structures)

  • Danshougong: one-armed
  • Shuangshougong: with both arms

Xiazhigong: Method for developing the lower limbs

  • Jinbugong: forward walking
  • Houtuigong: walking backwards
  • Tuigong: footwork
Chen Peiju mit ihrem Neffen
Chen Peiju mit ihrem Neffen

Neigong bzw. Neijin: Inner work

Taolu: Forms

  • Sizheng Taijiquan: The Taijiquan of the four main directions
  • Sizheng Taiji Jian: The Taiji sword of the four main directions
  • Chen Shi Xiaojia Yilu: first traditional long form of the Small Frame Chen Clan
  • Paochui or Erlu: 'Cannon Fist Form', second traditional form

Yongfa: Applications

  • Taolu Yongfa: application strategies of the forms
  • Tuishou: pushing hands also called Geshou scraping hands or Dashou, or striking hands: classic partner exercise with numerous variations and aspects
  • Taiji Sanshou: Scattered hands: exercises for free and free-style fighting
  • Nafa and Qinna: methods of joint manipulation, pressing sensitive parts of the body, choking, etc.


  • Dao: Sabre
  • Jian: sword
  • Dadao: Halberd
  • Gun: stick
  • Qiang: spear
  • Jian: mace


  • Body mechanics
  • Principles, guidelines, classic texts
  • History and development of Taijiquan and Chinese martial arts
  • Chinese philosophy
  • Chinese medicine

Special programmes

  • Ancient weapons methods
  • Xingyiquan
  • Xinyiquan

Taiji Daoyin

Exercises to stretch and guide, as well as to open the joints. Combining breathing and coordinated body movement. The exercises prepare the body for the subsequent exercise practice, but also represent a relatively easy-to-learn method for improving general physical well-being.

Zhan Zhuang Gong

'Standing like a tree': standing still to develop the body structure and the 'opening and loosening' (fang-song) necessary for Taijiquan. The practice regulates the energetic balance in the body and nourishes it sustainably. The exercise is performed both in a shoulder-width stance and in a deep stance (mabu); the weight is usually evenly distributed, but can also be shifted to one side. Other aspects include the alignment of the crown (baihui) and the perineum (huiyin), the sternum and lower back, the involvement of the ears, the use and practice of the imagination (yi), opening and closing (kai-he).

In fact, it is much more about understanding and building up the physical mechanisms of movement and action in a completely new way 'from the inside out' (neijin). This also includes the development of a real centre of the body (dantian), which is indispensable for the specific martial qualities of Taijiquan. The basic training thus becomes 'inner work' (neigong), which has always served as a measure of real skill (gongfu) and as a means of distinguishing between systems based on strength, skill and speed.

Jiben Gong

Basic exercises to strengthen and develop the body and physical mobility. Isolated exercises to understand central principles. Regular, ideally daily, practice of the essential concepts of the martial art and movement form Taijiquan means much more than simply developing or training certain reflexes and reactions.

Chan Si Gong

The skill of 'uncoiling the silk thread': special exercises to understand the spiral method (chansi-fa) and to develop spiral strength (chansi-jin), central elements in the methodology of Chen-Clan Taijiquan. The winding, twisting, turning, rotating and arcing movements mean spatial compression on the one hand, and on the other hand they represent a multiplier of the forces that come into play.

Sizheng Taijiquan

Taijiquan developed by Chen Peishan, tailored to the living conditions of modern times; based on the methods and principles of traditional Chen-Clan Taijiquan. Ideal for beginners, for health care or as a supplement to other martial arts and sports. See article 'Sizheng Taijiquan'.

Xiaojia Yilu

The first traditional hand form (taolu) in 75 movements of the internal martial art of Chen-Clan Taijiquan. The taolu is by no means a choreography whose practice should meet aesthetic standards or norms; nor is it a method of relaxation. Rather, it contains all the essential philosophical ideas as well as physical and martial concepts. Practising taolu is therefore extremely goal-oriented, although different priorities can always be set.

Tui Shou

The 'pushing' hands; central partner exercise of Taijiquan. In the basic form 'one step forward, one step back', the basic forces peng, lü, ji and an are first practised. As the basic principles of physical relaxation (fang-song) and the ability to sense (ting-jin) and interpret (dong-jin) the body and intentions of the partner/opponent are increasingly maintained, further actions and elements such as zhai, lie, jiou, kao and qinna (grasping, throwing, levering, etc.) can be incorporated into the tuishou. The isolated practice of individual principles and martial applications with a partner is used to accompany tuishou and to help understand the taolu.


The martial art of Taijiquan is not limited to unarmed combat, but also includes the use of various classical weapons (bing) of Chinese martial arts, depending on the style. In the small framework of Chen Taijiquan, we primarily deal with the sword (jian), the saber (dao) and the halberd (chunqiu dadao). Weapon training and practice without weapons are mutually beneficial, follow the same principles and cannot be separated from each other.