There are many different forms of Taichi and our particular style is from south East China. It is a pure white crane form called, Shuang Yang Bei Her Rou Ruan Chuan, and in English it is Frost and Sun White Crane soft and gentle flowing art.
Taichi can be practiced by anybody of any age or fitness.
The forms sixty-six postures are all derived from the crane bird which in China, is very highly regarded, due it's symbolism of longevity of life. It is also very formidable in the martial arts for its deadliness.
As far as health concerns go in the western world, most people only think about their external health, their muscles, strength and fitness.
There is a very strong emphasis in China, on the internal energy aspect of health. Whilst practicing the Shuang Yang form, your internal fire is made to grow. As the person breathes deeply and slowly, the internal organs are massaged and the blood is enriched with oxygen. With the different postures throughout the form, the practitioner works on stretching and straightening their posture. This can take a very long time, as generally when most people start Taichi their posture is not very good.
The Shuang Yang form looks very soft on the outside but is as hard as flexible steel on the inside.
The form is taught as a fighting art as well as for health purposes. In the world we live in today I would recommend that everyone learns a martial art.
The first four postures of the form cover most of the main principles needed but the total sixty-six postures will give the student hundreds of martial applications. The reason the first four are so important is that they cover sinking, rooting, twisting, bridging, up rooting, displacement and the father and son principle.
The movements from the form never stop, they flow at exactly the right time required to deflect the opponent's attack. It's just like trying to grab a fast spinning ball - the end result is deflection. It will not matter how strong the opponent is, because like the crane, the form is very evasive, but always close enough to strike with precision. When one person makes contact with another you will know exactly what their intentions are.
A general class consists of meditation, qigong exercises, footwork movements and practicing the Shuang Yang form. At the end of class, two person exercises are practiced and the class finishes with a relaxing meditation.