Q: How can new students get started?
A: You do not have to wait for a special date or orientation period before joining on-going classes in Tai Chi, or Eternal Spring. There is a Tai Chi class everyday, 7 days a week. Tai Chi and Eternal Spring classes have no prerequisite. When you are ready, come about 15 minutes before the class so that you can register. These ongoing classes let you jump right in and get going. For class fees, see Schedule page or call our office: 212-221-6110. Wear something comfortable and loose: regular workout clothes will do. No outside shoes are allowed in the studio: cotton-soled kung-fu slippers are recommended (sold at the school for $12 for registered students, $15-18 for non-students), alternatively, barefoot or socks are fine.
Q: What is the structure of classes?
A: The structure of our classes varies. Eternal Spring, as well as Nei Kung, classes are instructor-led: an instructor sets the pace of the workout for all participants together.
In Tai Chi Class, students receive individualized instruction as they work at their own pace through the 65-movement CK Chu Tai Chi Short Form. Attendance numbers vary from class to class. Typically, the instructor will begin with the beginner students, giving them one-to-one instruction in the movement they are on and then move to the next student, thus working his or her way around the room. Students learn the Tai Chi form individually and proceed at their own rate. Emphasis is placed on how to do each movement correctly, for example, the correct positioning of the knee in relation to your foot. As time goes by, students slowly learn more about Tai Chi theory. On the average, it usually takes a student that attends classes twice a week about 6 months to complete the short Tai Chi form.
Q: I’m a beginner who wants to learn Tai Chi. Why should I learn Eternal Spring Chi KungTM?
A. Eternal Spring Chi KungTM is designed for people that have no background in Tai Chi, or are physically weak. However, this does not mean it is “easy.” Eternal Spring training emphasizes relaxation, deep diaphragmatic breathing, opening the joints, hip-knee-toe connection, and developing internal energy, or chi. By learning Eternal Spring, in other words, you are utilizing Tai Chi principles and this will make your Nei Kung and Tai Chi form practice much better. It’s highly effective and very healing. It’s beneficial to beginners as well as advanced students. The exercises are good for daily practice for students of all levels.
Q: What is Push Hands?
A: Push Hands is a two-person training that makes Tai Chi unique from other styles of kung fu. It is a practice based on the principle of four ounces deflecting a thousand pounds. The exercise shows you how to neutralize an opponent’s attacking force and position yourself for a counter-attack if necessary. The emphasis here is on sticking to the opponent’s attacking arm/hand, while using shifting and twisting techniques, flowing with the opponent’s movement without resisting his force. It is a great exercise for training to fight, as it helps you develop the body’s coordination, sensitivity, and responding power. There is no other exercise quite like this.
It’s an exercise that also trains your body awareness, sharpens your nervous system, sharpens your feeling, and later on you’ll sharpen your sensitivity of your opponent’s chi and his strength and weakness just by touching his hand. It’s a training that enables a weaker or slower person to overcome a much stronger, faster opponent, by emphasizing on yielding and feeling. It’s very good for overall development of health. It uses the whole body: your mind, nervous system, as human beings are supposed to do.
Q: What Special Classes are offered?
A: Special classes, such as weapons forms, Tai Chi form improvement, meditation and Taoist philosophy, are offered periodically. Some, including weapons classes, require completion of the Tai Chi short form, while others, such as meditation or Taoist philosophy, are open to students at all levels, including beginners. Look for announcements of upcoming new classes on the Web site or inquire in the office.