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Bob Davies
Bob Davies
Founder & Director
Christchurch, New Zealand
Mobile: 021 175 1282
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Shaz Davis
Shaz Davis
T'ai Chi Teacher & Webmaster
Christchurch, New Zealand
Mobile: 021 077 6553
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Internal Ways A wee rant about precision

There’s nothing quite like misinformation to stir the journalist in me… so when I heard: “We do the medium frame – so it is not as precise [as another form they know]…” it motivated me to set the record straight.

Tai ChiAt some point you will hear reference to three frames in T’ai Chi: small, medium, and large (sometimes also referred to as big). Generalising to some extent (because there is considerable cross-over between the styles) a small frame is characterised by shorter and higher stances and more compact arm and waist movements (the Hao and Wu family styles, for example) and a large frame (some Chen styles) will be more athletic with lower and longer stances, and larger – far more externally visible – movements, with a medium frame (for example, most Yang styles) somewhere in between the two.

Some contend that the larger frames (being more physical) are more focused on the external movements, while the more compact frames help to focus on the internal movements – and they consider the smaller frame to be more advanced (if taught correctly). Others say that the smaller frame, which tends to be favoured older, less agile people, focuses more on health and less on the combative side, suggesting they have different purposes.

11 June 2014, 04:35