Chen-style Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan (abbreviated as Hunyuan Taiji) is a Taiji (Tai Chi) style that combines the martial skills and frame of the Chen-style system with elements of Xinyi Quan as well as Taoist internal cultivation methods. The system includes meditation practices, qigong sets, empty hand forms, weapons, two-person drills (push-hands), and free fighting.
Chen-style Taijiquan is the oldest form of Taiji and is the source of all of the other styles (such as Yang and Wu). It emphasizes a spiraling form of movement called silk-reeling.
Xinyi means Mind-Intent. Proper practice of Taiji begins by relaxing and settling the mind to enter stillness and employing intent to move the qi (the body’s subtle energy). Xinyi Quan was the internal martial art style of Hunyuan Taiji founder Grandmaster Feng’s Taoist teacher Hu Yaozhen.
Hunyuan means Primordial Origin. This original qi of the universe is what heaven, earth, and human beings are formed from. By cultivating a return to this original unity with both mind and body, we manifest the tranquility of eternity and the power of heaven and earth.
Taijiquan means Supreme Polarity Boxing. The supreme polarity of the universe is yin and yang. The original hunyuan qi of the universe separates into these complementary forces. In Taiji boxing, we cultivate the ability to differentiate yin and yang in our bodies in order to promote health and to neutralize and uproot our opponent.
According to Hunyuan Taiji founder Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang: “While designed for both health and self-defense, Hunyuan Taiji focuses on health; while alternating between movement and stillness, it emphasizes stillness; and while simultaneously training the internal and the external, it gives priority to the internal. The internal and external should be coordinated, the upper and lower body should follow each other, and the whole body should move in harmony.”
Hunyuan Taiji Forms and Martial Training
The Hunyuan Taiji system offers a graduated system of forms that systematically develop the practitioner’s ability.
1. The Simplified 24 form develops the foundation, the Regular 24 form begins to add deeper layers to the practice, and the 48 form includes more difficult movements, kicks, low postures, and jumps.
2. The 83 movement form is the traditional Chen style long form.
3. The 32, 38, 46, and 62 cannon forms provide graduated training from the line of the Paochui (Cannon Fist) forms leading to the 72 Paochui form.
4. Two person training includes: push hands fixed and moving step, free style, tui duan shou and duan shou.
5. Weapons in the system include:
Jian (Double-Edged Sword) – The most refined and elegant of the weapons.
Dao (Saber) – When using the saber the silk reeling energies and storing and issuing qualities characteristic of the Chen system are readily apparent.
Staff & Spear – These are learned during the advanced levels of training.