Among the various Taiji styles and forms found today, Yang style Taiji Quan had emerged at an early stage. It became the most acclaimed and popular practice by all walks of life.
Due to historic reasons, the present adaptation of the Yang style Taiji Quan was mostly revised and finalized by Grand Master Yang Cheng Fu known as Yang style Taiji Quan 85 steps. There were also other variant of Taiji Quan adaptations or styles along the time.
However, the systematic approach to Yang style Taiji Quan had never been known to the public, leaving behind the thought by most Taiji enthusiastic that the 85 steps was the only form of Yang Taiji.
In reality, the reason the Yang style Taiji Quan was able to claim its supremacy for three (3) generations in the arena of martial art was because it contained a unique set of practice system.
The secret was passed on through the Funei Taiji Quan by Grand Master Yang Lu Chan. This systematic form was actually the practice that Grand Master Yang Lu Chan taught at the Duan Palace (Mansion) in Beijing during the Qing Dynasty. This unique Funei Taiji Quan had earned Master Yang Lu Chan the title, “Yang the Undefeated” when he was challenged at the martial combat throughout the Capital.
Funei Taiji Quan consists of ten (10) sets of martial art practices.
- ZHI CHUI (WISDOM FIST 智锤)
Zhi Chui is an entry level for beginners. It consists of 5 boxing style combined with linking movements. It develops one’s intelligence with same movements on each direction- the east and the west. People call taiji cultural boxing. Only intelligent people can learn and grasp it well. As such, this routine set the path for beginners in the right direction towards the circle of martial art.
- THE LARGE FRAME （Da Jia大架）
Large frame uses a lot of bow stances and the arm movements are quite ‘expanded’. As the saying goes, ‘Step like a cat, move jin [power] like reeling silk’ (mai bus i mao xing, yun jin ru chou si). To develop a good foundation in Taiji , this set is performed in a very low stance postures.
- THE OLD FRAME （Lao Jia老架）
This set uses a ’30-70’ step for the leg postures. Most of the time, 30% of the body weight rest on the front foot and 70% rest on the rear foot. Both feet should be aligned with no less than one fist width and more the one half fist width. It mainly uses ‘sitting step’ (zuo bu) with the body centre of gravity over the back foot. The sequence of moves and techniques is similar to the large frame but the movements are more ‘restrained’.
- THE SMALL FRAME (Xiao Jia小架)
This routine uses ‘agile stepping’ (huo bu 活步). Flexibility is the essence. It applied the trainings and tactics learnt from the big frame and small frame to real life combat. It is said to be the battle frame.
- LONG BOXING (Chang Quan 长拳)
Long boxing does not mean a long routine practice with many moves like the big frame or old frame. In itsef only consists of 37 moves. Each move can be practice by itself (Dan Lian 单练)。Each move can be combined in any other way to form a unique routine.
- NINE LITTLE HEAVEN (Xiao Jiu Tian 小九天)
This is one of the advanced set in Funei Taiji. Taiji is about practicing the relaxation of body. Some term it as softness. It requires good balancing and the speed of movement is even. Eventually, Taiji should combine a mixture of hard and soft, fast and slow, with aggressive jumps and releasing of exploding power.
Nine little heaven is a Taoist term referring to human body. The idea of this set is that we should develop attributes found in nature. We should practice until our footwork is as fast as the wind, our fa li (发力) is like torrential rain, our hands are like lightning, our dou tan jin (vibration power 斗弹劲) is like thunder. Finally we must attain and successfully reach the stage so called ‘tian ren he yi’ (human and heaven become one 天人合一)。
- HOU TIAN FA (Post Heaven Ways 后天法)
This set is about training hand and knee techniques for use in fighting at short distance. Explosive power (bao fa li 爆发力) is applied quite extensively here.
- SANSHOU 30 POSTURES (散手 三十式)
These 30 individual ‘moves’ or combat techniques are also called ‘dan cao shou’(单操手) which can be practiced individually. One may just need to master a few techniques of one’s favourite for combat purpose. There are three variations to each move and each move has a 4-sentence mnemonic to help students to remember the move’s purpose and requirements.
- SHI SAN DAN GONG (十三丹功)
The purpose of these thirteen movements resembling the movements of thirteen different animals is to resurrect our human body to the natural state. This kind of ‘re-adjustment’ can heal aches and pains and correct imbalances in the body.
- DIAN XUE FA (POINT STRIKING 点血法)
Dian Xue Fa can be used to harm or heal a person. The main aim of this exercise is to grasp the knowledge of vital points in human body. As a practitioner of martial art, one should learn the healing methods to stop bleeding and pain. To strike a person accurately at his vital points while he is on the move during the combat is not as easy as one thought.
BEYOND THE 10 SETS…..
Other supplementary exercises or routines in Funei Pai Taiji include the i) Funei Taiji Ball ii) Funei Taiji Sword iii) Funei Taiji Broad Sword
Funei Taiji Quan was passed on from:
- Yang Lu Chan 1799-1872 (Grand Master)
- Fu Zhou (officer of Duan Mansion)
- Fu Ying (son of Fu Zhou)
- Xiao Gong Zhuo 1886-1979 (Bao Ding Hebei province renowned martial art master and high ranking military officer of Beijing)
- Zhai Ying Bo 1930-2012 (Bao Ding Hebei province renowned Taiji Master)
- Li Zheng 1953-present (Contemporary Funei Taiji Quan famous Grand Master responsible for the carry on of the Funei Taiji Quan)