Beijing 24-form

The so-called simplified form was created under the auspices of the Chinese Sports Committee in 1956 by four Tai Chi masters. It contains many of the major elements of the traditional long forms without the repetition. It was intended for popular use as exercise and conditioning, and because it has been so widely taught in mainland China, it is undoubtedly the most widely known and practiced moving form in the world.

Beijing form

Videos are numerous. This one by captured my imagination as I was just setting out to learn Tai Chi, and I still refer to it. By the time I learned 24-form, every movement was already familiar to me from my study of the 108, but I had to learn the sequence and then relearn all the details of the movements. 24-form is good training for the numbered forms coming out of post-war China, which I call modern standardized Tai Chi (my term), because they are all similarly styled. Almost every movement is quite different from the traditional style we practice at Master Gohring’s school.

The movements are as follows, and again the pronunciations are available from Lau Sui Taijiquan.

  1. Commencement – Qishi [Q=ch]
  2. Part the Wild Horses Mane – Ye ma fen zong (L, R, L) [fun]
  3. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai he liang chi
  4. Brush Knee Push – Luo xi ao bu (L, R, L) [x=sh]
  5. Playing the Lute- Shou Hui Pi Pa
  6. Repulse Monkeys L, R, L, R – Dao Juan Hong
  7. Grasp the Bird’s Tail Left – Zuo Lan Que Wei
  8. Grasp the Bird’s Tail Right – You Lan Que Wei
  9. Single Whip – Dan bian
  10. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  11. Single Whip – Dan bien
  12. High Pat on Horse – Gao tan ma
  13. Strike with Heel – Deng jiao [dung; ji=ch]
  14. Box the Tiger’s ears – Shuang Feng Quan Er
  15. Turn and Strike with Heel left – Zhuan Shen Zuo Deng Jiao
  16. Snake Creeps Down Left (usual way)/Golden Rooster – Zuo Xia Shi Du Li
  17. Snake Creeps Down RIGHT/Golden Rooster – You Xia Shi Du Li
  18. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle R, L – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  19. Needle at Sea Bottom – Hai Di Zhen
  20. Fan Through Back – Shan Tong Bei
  21. Turn Around Block Parry and Punch – Zhuan Shen Ban Lan Chui
  22. Withdraw and Push – Ru Feng Si Bi
  23. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
  24. Close Form – Shou Shi

I wanted to learn this form because it is the form you are most likely to have in common with other people you meet who do Tai Chi. Certainly, if you meet anyone who has recently come to the US from mainland China, they will begin with 24-form. In 2008, in celebration of the Olympics, squads of 2008 women performed 24-form in all the provinces of China! Long Feng was among them; she still has the white silks with red piping and embroidered Olympic rings with the year 2008 under them.

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