The snow is melting, the boiler is fixed and we're back to normal classes again. It's a regular class tomorrow. Next week we'll look at Pushing Hands.
As most of you know, Tai Chi (Taijiquan) was invented as a martial art (i.e. You can fight with it). The problem is that people see us practicing slowly and wonder how it can possibly be of any use. This is because the slow forms are only a part of the story. Chen Taijiquan actually has two long forms and each of those is split into two parts and you are supposed to learn them in sequence. This is made more complicated by the fact that each of the forms is know by several names. In Chen village, first they will teach you the first part of the Old Frame. When you hear people saying that they study The Old Frame or Lao Jia or The 74 Step Form they (normally) mean Lao Jia Yi Lu (Old Frame First Path). This is done slowly to help you learn the "feel" of Taijiquan. Once you are good enough they will tech you the second half of the form, Lao Jia Er Lu (Old Frame Second Path - also called Canon Fist). This second section is done faster and with more "energy release" (i.e. striking, throwing, etc.). These are the drills for learning to fight with Taijiquan. The video below shows Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei performing the Lao Jia Er Lu. Notice how relaxed he is before and after "energy release". This relaxation is one of the reasons why we learn the slow form first.
After learning the Lao Jia forms they move on to the Xin Jia but that's a topic for another day.