Tai Chi Chuan

Joe Rea Phillips is a 20th generation Indoor Disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang

Tai Chi Chuan is a significant part of the curriculum of the Vanderbilt University Kung Fu Club. All beginners are taught tai chi warm-ups, silk reeling, stillness posture, and Chen Xiaowang’s 19 movement form. CBII has a long history of training in Yang style Tai Chi Chuan through our connection to Tao Ping-Siang who was a thirty year student of Cheng Man-c’hing. This form came to our organization originally thru Christopher Casey in a version that is referred to as a Chen-Yang synthesis. Mr. Casey trained with several Tai Chi teachers, and learned his Yang style short form from Tao Ping-Siang. Mr. Casey was only interested in training with teachers that had great combat skills and his comment on Master Tao was that his touch was sublime. This touch feature is very important to anyone that truly wants to develop as an Energy Boxer.

James Cravens established a relationship with Master Tao around 1990 and at this time Master Tao taught him his way of doing the form. This is the way that we currently practice our Yang style form. Master Tao’s push hands were very special because of his incredible touch, listening skills, and ability to solve combat problems thru yielding. Yielding is the great theme that Tai Chi adds to the arena of Chinese Boxing. This does not mean to run away, but rather yielding in such a way as to allow the opponent to fall into the “emptiness”. One should always yield in a way that allows for the counter.

In 1995 Professor Cravens started training in Chen style Tai Chi Chuan ( Old Large Frame ) . Sifu Phillips started training in Chen style in 1996, and after several years of training in Chen style decided to make it the core Tai Chi curriculum of the VU Kung Fu Club. In 2006 Sifu Phillips along with a group of other CBII instructors went with Professor Cravens to Chenjiagou, Henan Province, China to train with Chen Xiaowang. It was during this visit that Professor Cravens became an indoor disciple of Chen Xiaowang.

In 2012 Joe Rea Phillips participated in the Ba Si Ceremony in Chenjiajou, China to become and Indoor Disciple of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. The curriculum that we teach in Tai Chi Chuan is listed below. In addition to the current Tai Chi Chuan curriculum is included a list of Sifu Phillips training in Yang style.

Chen Style – Laojia (Old Large Frame)

  • Yi Lu (first form – 74 movements)
  • Er Lu ( Canon Fist – second form- 45 movements)
  • Joint opening exercises
  • Silk reeling solo exercises
  • Sword form
  • Broadsword form
  • Double Broadsword form
  • Pear Flower Spear and White Ape Staff form
  • Quan Dao
  • Push hands

Chen Style – Xinjia (New Frame)

  • Yi Lu (first form – 83 movements)
  • Er Lu ( Canon Fist – second form )

Yang Style

  • Short form (64 movements)
  • Push hands
  • Sword form
  • 2 person combat form

The club has been very fortunate to have many seminars thru the years on the topic of Tai Chi, not only with Professor Cravens, but also with Master Tao Ping-Siang, and Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang.