TAI CHI NOTEBOOK:
Study Topics for the Black Sash
The black sash test begins with a 20-minute Embracing Horse, followed by the full Nei Kung set (advanced level). Then each candidate leads the long moving form (the Yang 108).
Two weapon forms are also required: saber and flute. Candidates need to know the eight energies, push-hands, and about twenty applications. Finally, we're required to have memorized the five life skills, the eight important points of Nei Kung and the ten important points of Tai Chi.
The test takes place on a Saturday in early December. It's given only once a year... and it lasts for hours...
The ancient Chinese martial art of Tai Chi, or Taiji -- "Ultimate Fist!" -- is the slow-motion execution of movements associated with self-defense. It is practiced by young and old for its many health benefits. It promotes (among other things) longevity, flexibility and core strength.
See also: Tai Chi 24-form and 32-form (Not required for the black sash).
I am studying with Master Instructor Thomas Gohring. A black sash in Tai Chi normally takes about three years to achieve, and although it is primarily something learned by doing, there is a good bit of material to be learned by rote, studied and internalized. This is part of Tai Chi's appeal: it has a rich intellectual and meditative component.
I use this section of Pommelhouse to compile study notes, practice guides, and above all links to videos for required black sash skills[Disclaimer]
Beginning level (first year): white, gold, orange. Beginners learn the first section of the Yang-style long moving form (the Yang 108), along with the ten postures of Nei Kung.
Intermediate level (second year): green, blue, purple. In the second year we learn the intermediate and advanced sections of the Yang 108, plus the flute and saber forms.
Advanced level (third year): red, brown, brown/black. Everything is learned multiple times on the way to a black sash. You simply cannot learn it well enough or deeply enough in one time through. In the third year, we revisit every aspect of the training in preparation for the rigorous testing required for the black sash.
I am not an instructor! I am a student at Master Gohring's excellent kung fu and tai chi black sash academy in Austin, and most of my links to videos go to Master Gohring's YouTube. To learn Tai Chi, go to Master Gohring or a master instructor near you. This notebook exists for my own daily use and convenience. Tai Chi curricula vary hugely; this is the curriculum I am studying.
Comments? Contact me!