Zen Combined Form One
For quite a few years now Iíve been searching for the Perfect Form. The Form that delivers a combination of all the things I like in a Relaxing Form that still retains a few challenges. The form would also last for a minimum of 20 minutes.
I finally decided that what I would love to do is combine some of my favorite moves from my favorite forms and put them into one or two forms.
One afternoon in the winter of 2007 I put together this first Zen Combined form. Up until this point I had transferred my repetitions to existing forms that werenít designed for repetitions. Although 80% of the form flowed well I felt that in some of the sections, especially kicking, standing on one leg and crouching, the form felt a bit tight in those areas. 24 Forms has worked extremely well using repetitions but does tighten up in the kicking section. 48 Combined form flowed very well but also I felt lacked something.
I wanted this form to be primarily facing forwards. A teachers form and a video friendly form. I wanted to separate some of the kicking movements and remove all unnecessary repetitions. I wanted to include a version of Yang and Chen repulse monkey movements. Chen has some lovely postures for flexibility that are really great movements for training purposes. I also wanted to include some combinations not seen before in yang forms.
I think this form was delivered to me via the cosmic web because I literally had it rapped up in a couple of hours! (3 days later Zen combined Form Two arrived as well). What amazed me was how it returned to the beginning spot as well!
So this form is a perfect blend of smoothness and mild challenges. Everything is balanced. The beginning starts off with mild movements and the more easy combinations but still reflecting the correct level of difficulty for an intermediate form. The first set of challenges come along and provide that extra level of difficulty in the beginning until refined. This is followed up with some great chen movements for loosening up in preparation for crouching low movements and the crescent kicks. We then move to some single movement combinations that are very flowing yet challenging. The form then slows down again and regains the still calm mind. We then move to the final section which has some new combinations of traditional sequences. The form then ends of with some interesting challenges of reversing while doing kicking combinations.
The form has equal balance of working both sides of the body in kicking, standing and crouching.
Having worked with it for 6 months now I can say that it grows on me each time I perform it. It feels very complete and has everything one could want in a form. Any yang form to be learnt after this will be really easy as this form has all the yang sequences in it. I would say there is about 10 per cent of chen in this form.
The other feature I built into this form is flexibility. This form can be performed as a compact form on a 5 foot by 8 foot carpet, or extended to enjoy a large space in a garden. The form has 50+ original movements in it. The 108 long yang form has many repeats in it so is also only about 40-50 original movements.
I am currently teaching this form for the first time and am extremely happy with the rapid progress made from everyone who has completed Sun Style beginners Part one and two. My instincts have proved correct and I have now the perfect balance of Tai Chi Forms for teaching to the level I personally wish to achieve for everyone of my students.
Zen Combined Form Two.
This form is a complement to Form One. I put this together 3 days after the first one so it was really difficult to remember what Iíd done for each. I had a busy 2 weeks bedding these two in!
What I wanted in this form was to firstly go in the traditional direction of Tai Chi forms. So this is not an easy teaching form or a dvd-friendly form. Having said that, learning the first one will make the second one extremely easy to learn.
A while back I learnt this traditional Yang form that moved in a very smooth silky way that I modeled my yang movements on. However, the traditional sequences were quite different in style and execution. So I have borrowed the style of this for this form. I wanted a complementary form for Zen Combined Form One but it needed to be different in a lot of ways.
I also wanted to used some of the combinations I had put into the 24 forms and combined 48 forms that didnít quite work out perfectly in those forms. So as this was molded for these movements they fit perfectly.
Once again I included combinations from Combined 48 Forms, 83 New Frame Chen Form, Taiwanese Chen Form, Traditional Yang Form and the long Yang Cheng Fu Form.
I also reversed the directions of movements from Zen Form One. This means that some of the combinations are done in reverse as well. I include some fresh combinations not seen before as well.
This is a beautiful form with a great balance of all the things I treasure in my Tai Chi Forms all rolled into one form!
Combined together these are to fabulous forms. I expect to get a tremendous response from seasoned practitioners about these forms. I will also get the critics and cynics as well but I can take it!
This form is about 3 to 4 minutes longer than the first. I like to practice these forms on alternate days with some of the other forms I know around them.
Both these forms come out beautifully as single repetition forms as well. Better for demonstration purposes or for a quick recap. Without repetitions they take 15 - 19 minutes to perform. Unless really slowed down of course.
From this point I offer students the opportunity to begin learning other Tai Chi forms that have directional changes. These forms will be Chen Forms, Long Sun Style Forms, Long Yang Style Form. These should be much easier to learn at this stage and will take little time to learn. I will only include the forms I feel will complement what has already been learnt so far. One also has to have the time as well. Learning too much in the first 5 years will be overload for most people. I only explored manic expansion after 11 years. Jump to Styles for more detail.