Snake Style Tai Chi – Ever heard of it?

By on 02/02/2016
snake style tai chi

Snake Style Tai Chi

It dawned on me recently when a friend mentioned the Snake Style Tai Chi to me, that I have never posted anything on this website about it.  Perhaps it’s because I hate snakes and don’t even like to associate something I like (tai chi) with the word “snake”?  I am one of those ladies who will close her eyes and flip past an image of a snake in a book!  So I investigated a little further, and asked if he would be interested in contributing a guest post for us around the subject of Snake Style tai chi – so the following information is what he has graciously contributed for us.  As always, I invite your contribution to this article by sharing your comments below.

Among the major yang style forms of tai chi, the snake style is considered to be the most martial as well as exclusive style.  Other popular Yang style forms include the crane and tiger styles.  The snake style was initially practiced and held by the Yang family until Master Ip Tai Tak Instructed his student, Robert Boyd, to teach the style to those who sought deeper understanding of tai chi.  The snake style helps to develop a flexible and powerful body as well enhance martial art skills.  The practice involves flexibility of the hips, internal muscles of the ribs and the abdomen, spine and even the rib cartilage.

As we perform the snake-like movement of this style, the center of gravity is moved using only the core muscles. After completion of every movement and posture, the core muscles ensure that the foot is strongly rooted.  This sends a powerful jin energy to the hands through the spine.  According to tai chi experts, the movements results to enhanced power, speed as well as sensitivity of the arms and hands.  This explains the successful application of the tai chi styles in self defense. There are numerous components of the Snake style system.  These include broadsword, push hands, snake-style tai chi chuan, tai chi sword, Zhan Zhong, long boxing and spear.

Unlike the tiger style, the hands are less extended in the snake style.  In addition, some of the hand positions involved in the snake style movements are angular instead of being straight ahead.  One of the key features of the snake style is positioning the body weight fully on one legs.  Standing on one legs helps to define the insubstantial and substantial leg in each posture or stance.  This offers you the potential of learning and developing more martial art skills.  The flexible strength applied when performing this type of tai chi, has been proven to be a powerful exercise for longevity and health.  This is mainly because the style involves engaging the spine as well as the core muscles of the body.

There is a common misconception regarding the snake style and its height.  However, according to master Ip, the height of the stance is not as significant as the way of performing the numerous movements.  Practitioners should therefore not be concerned by issues such as developing knee problems after performing the snake style.  When performing the style, a practitioner brings power from their knees to the hips, stabilizing the knee in all movements.  This strengthens the whole hip area enabling the practitioner to connect the body, from the feet to the arms.  The massive root created downward from putting your body weight on one leg enhances the ability to move swiftly and issue force.

There area several other health benefits associated with snake style system. As you advance in training, the upper body becomes more flexible especially when performing movements and stances originating from the spine and chest area.  In addition, the blood, muscle and lymphatic systems become activated as you expand, contract, compress and rotate the core muscles.  The function of the various internal organs is also enhanced.  The flexible body enable you to not only fight and move, but also retreat and evade when in a combat situation.




Dr. John Winglock Ng’s Southern Golden Snake Style
Tim Pickens, published 2015, 72 pages



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