Wulin Institute’s Tai Chi program is a self-contained ‘internal’ curriculum instructed in a mixed-skill classroom setting. The self-organizational structure of the class lends itself to an informal ranking structure. That said, instruction is still split across two class levels.
The program features two different styles: Chen style and Yang style. Each style is taught in its own classroom environment, and no student is required or should feel pressured to take both concurrently. Both classes are run with focus on the same primary features of Tai Chi, but using slightly different teaching methods and a frame relative to the style at hand. Beginner students will not have a problem participating in both.
Chen style has gained significant popularity in the last two decades. It is often considered the ‘most martial’ or the major Tai Chi styles, emphasizing more overt strikes, throws, and joint locks into its solo form practices. Practitioners typically perform their forms publically with deep stances and movements of varying speed, including the demonstration of fajin, fast, canon-like motion of the limbs that often denotes strike training.
Despite its martial flair, Chen style Tai Chi remains an excellent form of exercise for those looking for the rejuvenating health benefits Tai Chi has come to be known for in the West. Our classes are taught with varying emphases on posture, mobility, flexibility, and body awareness, in addition to martial application, cultivation of proper principle, and other aspects that the discipline has to offer.
Instruction includes the following:
Individual practice for Chen Style classes include silk reeling exercises, breath control (or qigong routines), empty hand form work, and weapons training. The empty hand forms available to learn, in order of advancing proficiency, include the 18 Movement Essence Form, Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame First Form), Lao Jia Er Lu (Old Frame Second Form), Xin Jia Yi Lu (New Frame First Form), and Xin Jia Er Lu (New Frame Second Form). Chen weapons forms available to learn include the sword, saber, spear, guan-dao, double sword, double saber, fan, and long pole.
Our Chen style classes are currently taught by Shifu Sean Martial, Mac Colestock and Bob Colestock.
Yang style Tai Chi is the most popular major style of Tai Chi practiced worldwide. Although not as overtly martial as Chen style, Yang’s movements remain intrinsically tied to self-defense applications and the cultivation of inner strength. However, Yang style is more known for its health benefits than its status as a martial art; as such, it has been widely promoted and well received for its foundational support in the way of balance, mobility, and control.
Individual Yang style practice includes stepping and walking drills, weight shifting drills, empty hand forms, and a sword form. The empty hand forms available include the Beijing Standardized Yang 24 Movement form, and the Simplified 88 Movement form as taught through Master Goh. The 32 Movement Standardized Yang Sword form is also available to learn.
Our Yang style classes are currently taught by Jackie Colestock and Mac Colestock.
At Wulin Institute, multiple person practice in Tai Chi principle is taught independent from specific styles of martial arts; however, it should be noted that specific styles maintain specific methods of teaching these principles. This includes two-person stationary movement and moving-step movement drills, movement pattern drills like Four Hands or Peng-Liu-Ji-An, and Pushing Hands practice. Pushing Hands includes stationary practice, in which the feet must remain planted; limited-step practice, in which steps can proceed forward or backward, but feet are not permitted to pass one another; and moving-step freestyle, in which unlimited movement within a ring is permitted. Partner activities, including pushing hands training, may be performed during class time at the instructor’s discretion. Generally, students must have a steady foundation in the form and solo activities before engaging in partner activities such as pushing hands.