Wu Style Long Form

The Long Form of Liu Hongjie

The Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form contains the full internal development of Tai Chi – all of the 16 components of neigong. It takes twenty to thirty minutes to complete.

B. K. Frantzis learned this form from his Daoist lineage master, Liu Hongjie. Liu lived and studied with Wu Jianquan, founder of the Wu Style, who made him a lineage disciple.

The Liu Form

What makes this form different to others is that Liu transformed his Tai Chi practice into an authentic vehicle for Daoist Meditation. Although Tai Chi is often described as a form of moving meditation, genuine meditation was never practised in traditional Chen, Yang or Wu Tai Chi. Many people confuse the ability of all well-designed Tai Chi forms to promote relaxation and manage physical stress with actual meditation.

Liu Hongjie spent his life in the study and practice of meditation, Buddhist and Daoist. After being declared enlightened within the Tien Tai Buddhist school, Liu spent a decade in the mountains of Western China living and studying with Daoist masters. There he became the head of an important Daoist lineage and was recognised as a Daoist Immortal.

While in the mountains (Qingcheng Shan), Liu learned long moving neigong forms. Some of these were similar in many respects to Tai Chi forms. These ancient Daoist long forms were designed as vessels for moving meditation, technically known as ‘shengong’ (‘spirit gong’). Having learned the specific energetic and meditation methods within them, Liu altered his Wu Style form to make it completely consistent with the energetic and meditation parameters of the Daoist long shengong forms.

In short, this form is, as Bruce once said to me, a piece of magic.

The Age of Anxiety

Unlike previous ages when the threat of physical violence was much more common, ours is an age of anxiety and distraction, where most people are under far more emotional and mental strain. This is why our focus in Daoist Internal Arts is primarily on health: firstly physical, but increasingly emotional and mental. This is where Liu Hongjie’s Wu Style plays such a vital role. For as well as being a superb healing form, it has specific methods for managing emotional and mental stress.

“What good does it do you to have lots of material things if your mind and body are constantly miserable? This is the case for many of us much of the time.
If Taijiquan can simply help you slow down and enjoy the life you are living more, then that is benefit enough. I have also seen that down the road, after a lot of practise, Taijiquan has very real spiritual benefits provided that a person has a really sincere interest in meditation.
In China, I have only ever heard of two traditions regarding Taijiquan, and addressing what Taijiquan is.
One tradition says that Taijiquan is a superlative martial art that uses Daoist energy practices and strategies as the support base to develop power and fighting skills, with the secondary benefits of good health and calmness of mind.
The other tradition considers Taijiquan to be a Daoist body practice, which is the support base for strengthening and healing the body so as to be able to learn meditation correctly, with the secondary benefit of self-defense ability.
When l was younger, I was interested in the former tradition. As I have gotten older, I have become more interested in the latter.”
(B.K. Frantzis, ‘Martial Arts Odyssey: Fact vs. Fiction’, T’ai Chi Magazine Vol. 11, No. 3, June 1987, pp.7-8.)

The Long Form Project

This project is an extended series of workshops and retreats starting in October 2022. It is open to anyone who wishes to learn, or refine the Long Form.

Attending the weekly class

Please contact Matthew if you are interested in attending.

Recommended reading

Frantzis, B. K., The Power of the Internal Martial Arts (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1998).

Frantzis, B. K., Tai Chi: Health For Life (Berkeley: Frog Ltd., 2006).

Frantzis, B.K., Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body, 2nd edition (Berkeley: Blue Snake Books, 2006).

Wu Style Medium Form

The Medium Form

The Wu Style Tai Chi Medium Form is a series of gentle flowing movements which takes about seven minutes to complete.

This form is only five movements longer than his original Short Form, so it is still quite short and is an excellent form to start with.

This is now the shortest Tai Chi form that Matthew teaches. Dave continues to teach Bruce’s Short Form.

Some of the Benefits of Tai Chi include:

  • It can be practised by anyone, young and old, strong and weak, healthy and sick.
  • It develops a high degree of relaxation
  • It releases physical and emotional stress
  • It promotes mental and emotional well being
  • It improves balance, physical coordination and flexibility
  • It tones and exercises every single muscle, ligament, tendon and joint of the body
  • It massages every lymph node and internal organ
  • It makes the arteries and veins springy and elastic, keeping them open and healthy
  • It energizes all the body’s internal pumps and improves circulation
  • It heals and reduces injuries and improves reflexes
  • It smooths out and regulates the central nervous system

Tai Chi balances and strengthens the flows in your body and thus improves your energy levels and increases your range of motion. The Wu Style is renowned for its healing and meditative qualities, and it contains many important healing elements that are rarely taught, even in China. It gives you the majority of the health and spiritual benefits of much longer Tai Chi forms.

B. K. Frantzis designed this form with the help and encouragement of his Daoist lineage master, Liu Hongjie. Liu lived and studied with Wu Jianquan, founder of the Wu Style. We are very lucky to have such a direct and powerful lineage.

Tai Chi is more than a martial art and more than most forms of exercise. It has a deep philosophical and spiritual perspective. Its gentle, slow-motion movements and sophisticated methods of moving life force or chi within the body teach you to relax and open up to your full human potential on all levels – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. (BK Frantzis, Tai Chi: Health For Life p.16)

On-going Tai Chi Medium Form classes are being run in Whitstable.

Recommended reading

Frantzis, B. K., The Power of the Internal Martial Arts (Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 1998).

Frantzis, B. K., Tai Chi: Health For Life (Berkeley: Frog Ltd., 2006). ISBN: 1583941444.

Frantzis, B.K., Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body, 2nd edition (Berkeley: Blue Snake Books, 2006). ISBN 1-58394-146-0.

What We Teach

D&T 6
Dragon & Tiger Qigong, Movement 6

Where To Start

Tai Chi Fundamentals

We generally recommend Tai Chi Fundamentals as the place to start. This ancient neigong set teaches all of the essential alignments and movement principles in the most simple format possible. It is the foundation of the internal arts and it makes learning any Tai Chi form much easier.

Dragon & Tiger

Another place to begin is with qigong. Dragon & Tiger will quickly give you a sense of the body’s energy. It is like giving yourself acupuncture (without the needles). The beauty of this qigong is that you need learn only seven movements to practise a complete set that will balance and strengthen all of the major meridians (energy channels). It is particularly good for healers of all kinds as it protects against and clears the negative energy that they are often exposed to in their work with others. Dragon & Tiger is good for those who are only interested in qigong, whereas Tai Chi Fundamentals allows you to move on to Tai Chi more easily.

Longevity Breathing

Matthew has often heard B.K.Frantzis say that if he could only teach one of the many disciplines that he has mastered for general health it would be breathing. It follows that if you only ever learn one aspect of the internal arts breathing would be an excellent choice. With relatively little effort you can learn the most essential practice for letting go of stress and gaining optimal health. It can be done anywhere, any time.

The Next Step

Wu Style Tai Chi Short Form

The Wu Style, as taught by Grand Master Liu Heng Jie to B.K. Frantzis, is taught entirely in terms of the 16 components of neigong. It is the only form that I know of that does so. This form is specifically designed to contain all five of the neigong systems, of which Tai Chi Fundamentals is the first and most essential. Its effect is to amplify the power of any neigong that you practise. It is considerably more difficult to learn than the neigong, but having studied Tai Chi Fundamentals for some time, you will be able to practise the form with content from a very early stage.

Heaven & Earth NeiGong

Heaven & Earth is the gateway to all higher level Daoist energy and meditation work, including high level Tai Chi and Bagua. It is taught with the expectation that you are familiar with the material from Tai Chi Fundamentals, without which your progress will be limited.

And beyond …

Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form

You will need a firm grasp of the Short Form (Matthew’s recommendation is at least three years) before taking on the Long Form. This class is significantly more demanding than any other that Matthew teaches. In order for a person to really benefit from the Long Form over the Short Form, they must be willing to invest much more practice time.

The minimum experience required to join this class is that you have done at least one cycle of the Wu Style Short Form.

Please contact Matthew if you are interested in attending.

 

Immortal Cloud Play (or Gods Playing in the Clouds)

This is the advanced neigong set, the bridge into genuine moving meditation.

Canterbury, Whitstable & Online

Canterbury 

With Fiona
Tai Chi Fundamentals LIVE

Day: Monday  

Time: 10.30 – 11.30am

Location: St Stephen’s Church Hall, Hales Drive, Canterbury CT2 7AB.

Instructor: Fiona McArthur

Term Dates

Charges

What to wear

 

 
With Matthew
Dragon & Tiger Qigong Live

Day: Thursday

Time: 6.30 – 7.30pm

Prerequisites: None. All welcome.

Location: The Friends Meeting House, 6 The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS.

Tai Chi Fundamentals Live

Day: Thursday

Time: 7.45-8.45pm

Join any time

Location: The Friends Meeting House, 6 The Friars, Canterbury CT1 2AS. 

Whitstable 

Wu Style Tai Chi Medium Form LIVE

Day: Wednesday

Time: 6.30 – 7.30pm

Prerequisites: (Ideally) familiarity with Tai Chi Fundamentals.

New cycle started on 27 April 2022.

Location: St Peter’s Church House, 154 Cromwell Rd, Whitstable CT5 1NA.

Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form LIVE

Day: Wednesday

Time: 7.45 – 8.45pm

Presently closed. Not suitable for beginners.

Recommended Prerequisites: Three cycles of the Short Form.

Please contact Matthew if you wish to attend.

Location: St Peter’s Church House, 154 Cromwell Rd, Whitstable CT5 1NA.

[Details of the Long Form Project, weekend workshops and retreats, are here.]

Perpetually Online Classes

Mondays

Still Breathing Online

Time: 8.00 – 9.00pm

Details: New cycle starting 25 April 2022.

Join any time

Tuesdays

Tai Chi Fundamentals Online

Time: 6.30 – 7.30pm

Join any time

Joining an online (Zoom) class:

When you ask to join an online class, I will send you an invitation to register for that class, which also includes all the payment details (either bank transfer or Paypal). Once registered, you will automatically receive the link to the class. Registering is not a commitment to attend every class.

Instructor: Dr Matthew Brewer

Term dates

Charges

What to wear