太極拳介紹(Introduction of Tai Chi Chuan)

太極拳,是中國傳統武術的一種,與形意拳和八卦掌並列內家拳。 太極拳講究中定、放鬆、心靜、慢練及九曲珠,和外家拳明顯不一樣。

楊氏太極拳,太極拳派別之一,始於清朝楊露禪,最早源自陳氏太極拳,拳架於其孫楊澄甫手中定型。有別於陳氏太極拳,动作松柔,是太極拳成為最廣泛流傳的一個流派。

鄭子太極拳,又稱鄭子簡易太極拳,為楊氏太極拳的一個支派,由鄭曼青先生所創。鄭曼青27歲在上海向太極拳大師楊澄甫學習楊家老架太極拳,任職湖南省政府咨議兼國術館館長期間,推動國術為該省全民運動,並規定每兩個月調派全省各縣國術館長及教官40人,傳授太極拳課程。但因學習時間較短,為便於傳授學習,乃刪減老架式中的重覆招式,精簡為37式,名為:「鄭子簡易太極拳」。

鄭曼青先生首開風氣之先,打破傳統教拳要留一手的陋習。坦蕩的將其得自楊澄甫的口訣和自己數十年的心得完全公開,這在六十多年前的武術界是一創舉。許多楊家家傳妙訣,如楊澄甫說的「余如不言,汝雖學三世,不易得也」。鄭子《十三篇》的述口訣中,就具體舉出十二則。其他秘要也散布全書各篇。

練習鄭子太極拳的意義不僅在養生與健身,它同時也是講求「心性」的學問。鄭子太極拳的運動法則讓我們從虛實轉化中洞悉人生的起復; 從神求內斂中找到了穩重和包容; 從日積有功中學到了恆心和毅力; 從學吃虧中領悟專氣致柔的道理。

鄭子太極拳的內涵在養生上將意、氣、形結合成一體,使人身的精神、氣血、臟腑、筋骨均得到濡養和鍛煉。達到“陰平陽秘”的均衡狀態,所以能起到有病調養和「治未病」的作用。這正是《內經.素問》所說:「提挈天地,把握陰陽,呼吸精氣,獨立守神。肌肉若一,故能壽敝天地,無有終時」。是故,一代宗師鄭曼青將「吞天之氣,接地之力,壽人以柔」這十二個字,稱為是他練拳四十余年的心得總結。並鼓勵后學,說:「倘能篤而行之,決非等閑之運動可比。袪病延年,猶易事耳」。

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太極拳是中國傳統武術的一種,與形意拳和八卦掌並列內家拳。太極拳講究中定、放鬆、心靜、慢練、貫串,如九曲珠般的全身完整一氣,和外家拳明顯的不一樣。

楊氏太極拳是世界上最廣泛流傳的太極拳派,始於清朝楊露禪在1820年時就學於陳長興。楊氏太極拳架於第三代楊澄甫手中定型,因動作輕靈鬆柔,有別於剛柔混合、快慢相間的陳氏太極拳。

鄭子太極拳,又稱簡易楊氏太極拳37式,為楊氏太極拳的一個支派,由鄭曼青先生所創。鄭曼青早年執教於北京郁文大學,上海國立暨南大學,及上海美術專門學校,所以歐美太極學生尊稱其為鄭教授。1938年鄭曼青27歲在上海任教時,從師楊澄甫學習楊家太極拳六年,得澄甫老師悉以口訣相授,他人所未聞也。1938年任職湖南省政府咨議兼國術館館長時,為響應推動國術為該省75個縣的全民運動,號召全省各縣每兩個月輪流調派40名國術館長及教官學習太極拳。因抗戰初期訓練時間緊迫,為便於傳授、學習、推廣,乃刪減老架式中的重覆招式,擷取精華,精簡為37式,名之謂「鄭子簡易太極拳」,嗣經陳微明大師作序稱道于1947年,吳稚暉、于右任等先生正名題辭,定名為鄭子太極拳。

鄭曼青大師有「五絕老人」的稱譽,五絕指的是詩、書、畫、中醫和太極拳5種絕藝。鄭曼青大師首開風氣之先,打破傳統教拳要留一手的陋習,坦蕩的將其得自楊澄甫的口訣和自己數十年的心得完全公開,這在1940年代的武術界是一項創舉;諸多楊家秘傳妙訣,正如楊澄甫所說:「余如不言,汝雖學三世,不易得也」。鄭曼青大師揭示了楊氏家族世系的秘傳,並在其博學而實用的許多著作中,將我們引入了太極拳的真正核心。1947年出版的《鄭子太極拳十三篇》一書就闡述了: (1) 十三篇關於他對太極拳的獨特見識, (2) 楊澄甫老師的口頭秘傳, (3) 對經典著作的評論和問答,和 (4) 推手、散手、大履的描述及其力學原理。

練習鄭子太極拳的意義不僅在養生與健身,它同時也是講求「心性」的學問。鄭子太極拳的鍛練法則讓我們從虛實變化中洞悉了人生的起伏,從緩慢內斂中達到了心静和中定,從健康和內勁的增進中學到了恆心和毅力,從學吃虧的美德中領悟到專氣致柔的道理。

鄭子太極拳的內涵在養生上將意、氣、形結合成一體,使人身的精神、氣血、臟腑、筋骨均得到濡養和鍛煉,達到“陰平陽秘”的均衡狀態,所以能起到有病治病,無病健身的作用。這正是《黃帝內經.素問》所說「提挈天地,把握陰陽,呼吸精氣,獨立守神。肌肉若一,故能壽敝天地,無有終時,此其道生」。是故,一代宗師鄭曼青將「吞天之氣,接地之力,壽人以柔」這十二個字,稱為是他練拳四十餘年的心得總結;並鼓勵後學者「倘能篤而行之,決非等閑之運動可比;袪病延年,猶易事耳。」

Tai Chi Chuan is a traditional internal Chinese martial art, along with other similar internal arts including Xingyiquan and Baquazhang. Tai Chi Chuan focuses on training requirements such as central stability, relaxation, tranquility, slow motion, and integrity. Its unity of motion is often described as threading a single string through a pearl with nine passages without any breaks. This mindset helps us visualize how to connect and integrate all parts of our body. The internal training of Tai Chi Chuan is obviously different from that of the external martial arts.

Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan is the most popular style and widely practiced in the world. It was developed by Yang Lu-chan who studied under Chen Chang-hsing of the Chen family in 1820 during the Qing Dynasty. Yang Lu-chan’s grandson, Yang Cheng-fu, was largely credited for formalizing and systematizing the Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan as practiced today. Essentially, all the Yang-style movements are soft and relaxed. This is not the case for the Chen-style, which encompasses a mixture of hard and soft movements that are often sudden and explosive.

The Cheng Man-Ching style Tai Chi Chuan (CMC-style Tai Chi Chuan), also known as the 37-Posture Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan, is a traditional Yang-style form but simplified by Mr. Cheng Man-Ching. Because he had been a college professor in Beijing and Shanghai, his students called him “Professor Cheng." In 1930 while teaching at the age of 27, Professor Cheng Man-Ching met the well-known master Yang Cheng-fu in Shanghai, with whom he began to study Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan for six years until Yang died in 1936. Master Yang shared many Tai Chi Chuan secrets with Professor Cheng that others students had never heard of. In 1938, as a consultant to the Hunan Provincial Government and the director of martial arts of Hunan province, Professor Cheng developed a significantly abbreviated 37-posture version of Yang’s traditional form. This abbreviated form was easier to teach, learn, and practice. The changes also allowed Professor Cheng to train larger numbers of students from 75 Hunan counties (40 bimonthly) in less time and thus served the purpose of promoting Tai Chi Chuan for health to the general public during the Sino-Japanese war. The heads of martial arts in each county came to study the simplified Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan in 37 Postures with Professor Cheng, and went back to teach the general public in their respective counties. It should be noted that the simplified 37-Posture Yang-style Tai Chi Chuan was endorsed by Professor Cheng’s elder classmate Chen Wei-ming via his imprimatur for the book “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on Tai Chi Chuan” in 1947, and was inscribed as “Cheng-Tzu Tai Chi Chuan” by renowned luminaries Wu Zhi-hui and Yu You-ren.

Professor Cheng Man-Ching, often referred to as the “Master of Five Excellences", produced a large number of works in Tai Chi Chuan, Chinese medicine, calligraphy, painting, and poetry. Traditionally, Chinese martial arts were shrouded in secrecy and almost never made available to the general public. Professor Cheng was the first person who broke the tradition by unselfishly disclosing the Tai Chi Chuan secrets he learned from his teacher Yang Cheng-fu plus the knowledge he comprehended himself over the decades. The act of his revealing was revolutionary in the martial arts world in the 1940s. Many of the Tai Chi Chuan secrets were inherited in confidential scripts within the Yang family. As indicated by Master Yang Cheng-fu to Professor Cheng: “If I don’t tell you any of these secrets, you people practice very hard over three generations may still be in vain”. Professor Cheng revealed the secrets of the Yang family lineage and took us to the heart of Tai Chi Chuan in many of his erudite yet practical books. The earliest book entitled “Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on Tai Chi Chuan" was published in 1947. The highpoints of this book include: (1) thirteen essays on his insights into Tai Chi Chuan; (2) oral secrets from his teacher, Yang Cheng-fu; (3) questions and answers giving his commentary to the Classics; and (4) descriptions and mechanics of push-hands, San Shou, and Ta Lu.

The significance of practicing CMC-style Tai Chi Chuan is not only for health and wellness, but also for awareness of “heart and mind". The principles for excellence in practicing CMC-style Tai Chi Chuan enable us to realize the up-and-down changes of life through understanding the transformation between substantial and non-substantial. It helps us develop calmness and stability by practicing it in a slow and deliberative manner. Through perseverance and diligent practices, we will enjoy continuous enhancement of our physical health and internal strength. From the grace of yielding, we will learn how to attain suppleness for self-defense.

The ultimate purpose of following a regimen for health by practicing the CMC-style Tai Chi Chuan is to seek the integration of Yi (mind), Chi (breath or intrinsic energy), and Form (body or physical shape) into one entity. Thus, it can nourish and enrich the soul, blood, internal organs, muscles, and bones to reach relative balance between Yin and Yang. Also, it can provide healing for illness and strengthening against illness. As stated in the book of “Yellow Emperor’s Classics of Internal Medicine – Basic Questions”, we should “uphold [the patterns of] heaven and earth, grasp [the regularity of] Yin and Yang, exhale and inhale [the essence of] Chi, stand for ourselves and guard our spirit, and thus our muscles and flesh are like one. Hence, we are able to achieve longevity in correspondence with heaven and earth. There is no point in time when [our life could have] come to an end, as such it is the way of our life.” Accordingly, Professor Cheng Man-Ching indicated that his more than 40 years of experience in Tai Chi Chuan practicing can be summarized in twelve Chinese words as “swallow the Chi of the heaven, borrow the power from the ground, and extend the lifespan through softness". He also encouraged us by saying: “If you consistently practice Tai Chi Chuan, you’ll definitely benefit more than engagements in other sports. Tai Chi Chuan will surely help cure diseases and increase life expectancy.”