The Chen family system consists of a complete curriculum of taijiquan: standing post and silk reeling, hand forms, weapons forms, push hands, and sparring. At present, classes at Spiral Taiji consist of fundamental exercises and hand forms.
The hand forms are the primary vehicle for developing taijiquan skills. They both require and, through careful practice, help produce a stable, calm and strong mind and body.
Each of the forms emphasise different qualities and are all worth learning, however laojia yilu (老架一路 lǎo jià yī lù) is considered the mainstay of Chen taijiquan forms training in Chen village. It emphasises softness, pliability and comparatively large spiralling movements. Repeated practice of laojia yilu and the development of a familiarity with the requirements of taijiquan is a good foundation for the other hand and weapons forms.
For beginners, the 19 form is a useful introduction to taijiquan. The individual movements of this form are drawn from a variety of hand forms, but all of them should be practised with the same softness and large movements of laojia yilu.