There are several styles of tai chi: Wu, Sun, Chen, and Yang. The Yang style follows the choreography set forth by Yang Cheng Fu, descendent of Yang Lu Shan – the first person to teach Tai Chi publicly. But there is no set curriculum for learning tai chi. Many people just learn and practice a form – a series of tai chi movements strung together like the Chinese government’s 24-Movement Form or Chen Man Ching’s 37-movement form. Grandmaster C.K. Chu found that this approach leads to incorrect practice and likely injury as people try to do movements their body is ill-equipped for. Utilizing his background as a scientist and his knowledge of the martial arts, Master Chu devised a curriculum to help people become complete Tai Chi Chuan practitioners.
Grandmaster C.K. Chu distilled the arts of Taoist health and self-defense into a practical tai chi curriculum for people of the modern age. This Core Curriculum centers on four core disciplines: Eternal Spring Chi Kung™, the Tai Chi form, Nei Kung, and Meditation.
Master Chu developed this curriculum over more than 45 years of teaching thousands of students day after day in New York City. The richness of the curriculum and never-ending challenges have kept students engaged at the school. Now, our senior instructors nearly all have over 10 years experience. They know that tai chi is an internal art that you have to learn and know for your self. For this reason, our tai chi form training during “Tai Chi Classes” is one-to-one. We do not want you to follow or copy anyone – we want you to learn the art for your self. You learn on your own, at your own pace, in a manner suited to you.
Ideally, students should learn the curriculum in the order listed above. Do chi kung for a period of time until their bodies grow accustomed to it; then, begin study of the tai chi form. Once through the first section of the form, students should take a Nei Kung Workshop and begin to train Nei Kung. This does not mean you cannot start with the tai chi form. Beginners are welcome to any Tai Chi Class or any Eternal Spring Class on our Class Schedule. Please arrive 10 minutes before class time and wear loose clothing (we do require students to wear cotton-soled slippers but socks or bare feet are fine the first day).
Most people assume that meditation should be first. Master Chu felt that people sit too much at work and at home. So, first he wanted to get people moving. For this reason, he advised people to learn meditation later, maybe a year after beginning to study at his school. Even so, Master Chu felt that progress in all areas of tai chi study depends on adopting a meditation practice.
Once a person has a firm grasp of the core disciplines and is training in them weekly (say after 2 or more years), then it is time to move on to advanced classes: Push-Hands, fighting, and weapons.
For more on the CK Chu Tai Chi curriculum, see Why Tai Chi? To read more about our curriculum, go to the next section to learn about Eternal Spring Chi Kung. Or go to Class Schedule.