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Yang Style Tai Chi

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Master Ding Academy of Tai Chi Chaun

London, UK

Master Ding Academy offers a full Yang-style traditional Tai Chi Chuan syllabus, from beginners to advanced level.

Master John Ding and his son, Master Alan Ding teach this ancient Chinese holistic exercise of Tai Chi Chuan at the London HQ in a friendly environment. Master John Ding can trace a direct lineage back to Master Yang Sau Chang, he is the first disciple of Master Ip Tai Tak and is recognised as a 6th generation lineage master of Yang style Tai Chi. You can visit their website here:

As a member, you will benefit from joining an international network of people and events that exist to promote the wonderful art of Tai Chi Chuan in London and internationally as well.

Students - upon completion of the Foundation Form - have an opportunity to further their knowledge and understanding

by undertaking the advanced practises, including: 

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The Form

Strong Body, Still Mind

At the heart of Tai Chi Chuan is a series of coordinated and linked movements known as the form. The art is perhaps most famous for its forms. Almost everyone who sees their movements associates correctly with Tai Chi Chuan. They are distinctive as they are unique, and few mistake them for being anything else. When a form is executed accurately, it radiates an image of perpetual motion within a circular frame. Practitioners are deeply engaged with their practise, oblivious to distractions, and thus those who might be watching describe the art as a moving meditation.

Beginners to the art will start by learning the John Ding Foundation Form and then traditional Yang Family Long Form as taught by Master John Ding.  This a concise and methodical approach.

The form contains within it flowing circular movements. Carrying them out in a relaxed body devoid of muscular tension not only allows the internal energy to be harnessed, but also gives Chi direction, so that it can flow naturally with in the body.

Forms, especially the empty-handed type, provide the ideal skeleton from which large amounts of detailed information can hang. Tai Chi Form allows one to learn the common principles and concepts and apply them in ones practise.

Here at Energy Works we use posture testing to consolidate knowledge from the form. It is said that once the principles and concepts are integrated well within the form the chi will flow freely. It is through this natural flow that our, movements and postures derive natural strength and intrinsic stability.

Whilst we put much emphasis on Tai Chi Chuan principles and cultivation of health benefits, we must always remember the arts  martial origins. Hidden within the movements are  logical and practical combat applications.

Students begin by learning the John Ding Short Form, then the traditional Yang Family Long Form. Students then progress to learn the 'Ying Yang' concept of the form and 'Open and Closed' aspects of the form and 'Tui Shou'.

The syllabus can be viewed at

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Broad Sword (Dao)

The Dao is one of the most common weapons practised by the various schools of Chinese martial arts. In Chinese martial arts the Dao belongs to the short weapon group such as the Emei (dagger)  or Gin (sword) while the staff belongs to the long range weapon group. The Dao differs from the sword in that it has only one sharp edge and the blade broadens towards the tip and is slightly curved.

In Chinese martial arts weapons training is used as a further extension of the limbs. To be able to use any type of weapon, one must first be skilled and versed in the hand form training. The Dao form is usually the first weapon form taught in most martial arts schools, after the teacher is satisfied the student progress is sound. The Dao is easier to learn then the sword and quicker to apply the techniques and thus was the standard weapon issue for the soldiers.

All weapons training is based on the same principles and concepts of Tai Chi Chuan. The focus is on becoming one with the weapon and further extending ones Yi. The Dao form is carried out at a faster pace than the empty hand form but with the same emphasis on co-ordination of the hand form,eye movement, bodywork, footsteps and skill. Each posture needs to be executed with precision, intent and chi power. In addition like the hand form each posture can be tested and applied in combat. Some of the basic Dao techniques include chop, split, cut, intercept, uppercut, downward cut, thrust, winding, blocking, withdrawing, sliding, slicing, and peeling. All the movements are led, like the hand form from the waist, the footwork is more agile then the long form and the weighting is 100% where  possible the spiral concepts really come into play as does the concept of flow and aerobic fitness.

Sword Form (Gin)

The Sword form never fails to inspire Tai Chi practitioners both to practise and observe.Its dramatic leaps and bounds with sweeping turns – and shining blade cutting through the air – captures the attention of young and old alike.

Tai Chi sword is a subset of Tai Chi Chuan and is based on the same principles of relaxation,yeilding and the use of softness to overcome force. Tai Chi Sword also continues the unique exploration of the mind-body focus and holds many powerful lessons for Tai Chi Chuan Students. The form builds upon the principles established in the Yang long form and introduces the student to the idea of connecting with an inanimate object and thus further projecting ones chi.

The insight of the gifted swordsperson, the correct attitude, and the achievement of a high level of skill are the same today as in days of old. Though the swords martial use has of course been superseeded by todays weaponary, the artistry as well as the mental and physical doscipline are timeless. True ability is transcedent, blending a universal awareness with earthly application.

Here at MDA Norwich branch Energy Works we teach the Yang traditional sword form as taught by Sifu Ding and the special form developed by Grandmasdter Ip and passed down to Master John Ding.

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Exchanging Hands

Tui Shou which is translated as push hands (I prefer exchanging fits better with its flavour) is a fluid, rhythmical set of hand and body movements performed between two people together. It emphasises the application of chi, rather than its cultivation and movement with in the body. Tui Shou is based on Tai chi forms drawing from many of the movements and postures. Hence, those principles and concepts found within the forms can be extended to Tui Shou. as such thier are many parallels that can be drawn between them. both are fluid in action, stablity of stance and solidity of structure. However Tui Shou requires you to work in cooperation with someone else so that you can gain experience of putting Tai Chi principles into action – something that cannot be done with the form alone. Tui Shou  is applied Tai Chi Chuan.

Tui Shou is only taught when the student has some understanding of ther form and is comfortable with the flow of energy and the principles and concepts. There are many types of Tui Shou from a single handed sequence to a full length two-person set. Each type has a function and teaches something unique. It is thus a process that encourages and reinforces the persistent and correct practise of Tai Chi Chuan.

Through regular practise one develops a sensitivity and receptive touch to your partner or whomever you are working with which can be applied in self defence or for healing. one slowly acquires the ability to project energy and anticipate your partners movements.

The energies associated with Tui Shou are as follows:-

  • Teng Geng (listening energy)  the ability to fell the direction of incoming force on contact

  • Nien Geng (adhering energy) the ability to stick with your partner

  • Far Geng (neutralizing energy) the ability to neutralize and incoming force

  • Fa Geng (explosive force) the ability to project your Chi and throw your partner away


However, using these energies is not restricted to Tui Shou alone, but in fact has a much wider implication. Integrating the various forms of energies, or Geng Likk, creates a potent form of martial art that contains with it a powerful force that is also sensitive to the opponent. This is Tai Chi Chuan self-defence. Tui Shou then, is a method that is multi-layered, whose essence is to develop the application of  Chi so that it can be used for self-defence or healing.

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Gi Gong

This is a particular style of Chi Kung often used in the practice of Tai Chi Chuan. This is a unique set of Chinese ancients exercises based on Taoist principles of harmony, simplicity and natural order. The goal of Zhang Zhuang is to cultivate, focus and balance the flow of Chi energy in the body, relax the mind, strengthen and improve health. Nonbreux used by practitioners of Tai Chi, this particular set of exercises also use or apply independent manner and is generally practiced by the Chinese in parks or gardens. Just as Tai Chi Chuan can be practiced by people of all ages, regardless of their lifestyle or their health. In Chinese, Zhan Zhuang means "standing like a pole or as a tree". Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung to consist of a series of standing postures that involve no apparent external movement.

Obvious external movement. Some under estimate the simplicity of this exercise because of its static appearance. However those who have had first experience of Zhan Zhuang will acknowledge that like Tai Chi Chuan, it is deceptively demanding physically and deeply absorbing mentally. With consistent practice of this system we stimulate and concentrate Chi so that it can be applied in different ways. 


Tai Chi Chuan is one method in which Chi can be applied; however, this energy can also directly be used for spiritual awareness and healing. Zhan Zhuang and hence Chi bring changes to both body and mind. Just as Tai Chi Chuan can be used as a mode of treatment for many illnesses, Zhan Zhuang and Chi cultivation is also understood to abate illness, maintain good health and clarity of mind.

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