The Li style taijiquan “large snake unwinds its body” posture is a very interesting posture to learn, as hidden within its movements are at least five of the taijiquan’s “Eight Energies” methods that the practitioner must perform. As a typical taiji qigong exercise the “large snake unwinds its body” posture should be practiced on both sides of the body to develop the Li style practitioners accuracy, precision, timing, speed, breathing, coordination, concentration and balance to a high level of proficiency.
The taiji eight energies that are used within the “large snake unwinds its body” posture are Rollback (Lu), Squeeze (Ji), Split (Lie), Pressing (An) and Ward Off (Peng). Through the practice of these particular five taiji energies, they will give each practitioner of the Li style square yard taijiquan form more depth and understanding in their actions. Helping to guide and lead their Qi throughout their entire body to promote their health and wellbeing.
Obviously, as with the many other traditional styles of taijiquan and likewise with the Li style taijiquan, all of its actions can be used to protect oneself from an assailant. Hence it can be performed as an “Internal Martial Art” (Neijiaquan), my teacher Master Chee Soo would also teach the many self defence methods to each of the postures that were held hidden within the forty-two taiji postures that makes up the whole of the Li style square yard taijiquan form, just like the “large snake unwinds its body”posture which has many striking, kicking, wrestling & throwing techniques within its movements. When I started my learning of the Li style taijiquan form, I thought that Master Chee Soo taught every student the fighting applications of the forty-two postures of the Li style taijiquan form. But now after many, many years of practicing and teaching have come to realise after speaking with many of Master Chee Soo’s students that Master Chee Soo only passed the information on to only a few, as he taught mainly on a one to one person transmission of the information.
So not many of the individual’s who studied the Li style taijiquan underneath Master Chee Soo had actually been taught the fighting applications of the Li style square yard taijiquan form by him. Over the years since Master Chee Soo’s death I have come across many individuals adding their own interpretation to the self defence actions of various postures that make up the Li style taijiquan form. Many of these interpretations are over complicated and have no connection to the actual movements that make up the various Li style taijiquan postures.