~ The 42 Combined Forms ~
The 42 Combined Forms is the newest T’ai Chi sequence to come out of China. It includes movements from the four main family styles—Yang, Chen, Wu, and Sun, but is primarily Yang style–33 movements out of the 42. Starting in 1990, it became the only style used by competitors in the Asian Games. It’s also used when one Asian country competes with another. The 42 Combined Forms is a dynamic, expansive, athletic style that blends the personalities of the 4 major T’ai Chi traditions. Margaret first learned it while living in South Korea from an expert in Chinese martial arts.
The sequence usually take 6 to 8 minutes to complete. But slower is better.
The 42 Combined Forms are taught step-by-step in three 10- to 13-week sessions. Section I is taught in the fall term, Section II in the winter, and Section III (completing the sequence) in the spring.
Western clinical trials have documented these benefits of T’ai Chi:
- Improves balance and reduces falls
- Strengthens and improves flexibility in legs, knees, and ankles
- Elevates mood by reducing tension, depression, anger, and confusion
- Reduces stress hormones in the body
- Lowers blood pressure
- Boosts the immune system
- Increases lung capacity
- Reduces arthritis pain and stiffness
- Slows bone loss in postmenopausal women
- Improves quality of life for breast cancer survivors
- Helps restore motor control in Parkinson’s patients
- Studies are underway to investigate its effectiveness against back pain. T’ai Chi is one of the evidence-based exercise programs of the Arthritis Foundation.