Tai Chi Chuan is a unique system of health and self-defense that is considered one of the treasures of Chinese culture. Derived from the philosophy of Taoism, the exercises were designed to develop internal harmony (between body and mind), and external harmony (between the individual and the Tao, or natural order of the Universe). Originally taught only to family members, today Tai Chi is practiced throughout the world by both young and old.
Tai chi cultivates chi (or qi)— the body’s intrinsic energy or “life force.” Chi is the foundation of acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine as it is critical for a person’s health. Cultivating and storing chi in the body, revitalizes all the body’s organs and systems. Tai Chi develops flexibility, strengthens joints and muscles and promotes the integration of body, mind and spirit. As a result students enjoy a higher quality of life on many levels.
Tai Chi Chuan has the most sophisticated fighting theory of all the martial arts. Its approach is non-aggressive, yet in full-contact confrontation or combat it is more effective than the better known “hard” styles. This is because its source of strength lies in the development of internal power rather than muscular strength. A Tai Chi student understands how only four ounces of strength is needed to deal with an opposing force of 1,000 pounds.
Tai Chi training follows this general sequence: First you learn the Tai Chi Short Form; then how to coordinate breathing to the Form. This is followed by a period of Form correction. Eventually, you will advance to learning the Long Form. Along the way, you have the opportunity to learn Push-Hands, Fighting applications, weapons and other special classes as they are being offered.
Tai Chi Classes
Instruction in the slow-moving solo Tai Chi Short Form takes place during hours marked “Tai Chi” on the schedule. t Instructors work one-on-one with each student. If you attend class twice a week, it takes approximately six months to learn the complete sequence of movements with corrections and proper breathing. Once learned, the Short Form takes between ten and fifteen minutes to gently go through. Classes, offered seven days a week, are ongoing and can be joined at any time.
This class is open to students who have learned the Short Form. Students go through the Form together at varied speeds and stances several times, non-stop for one hour.
Prerequisite: Tai Chi Short Form.
Tai Chi Form Improvement (Special Class)
This very popular and satisfying course is recommended for students six months after they have completed learning the Tai Chi Short Form. In-depth instruction is given into the meaning and subtleties of each movement. You will learn how to develop a more refined form by, for example, linking movements smoothly.
Prerequisite: Tai Chi Short Form.
Tai Chi Long Form (Special Class)
The complete classical 108 movement Yang style long form is the foundation for the entire Tai Chi system. The Long Form includes many powerful fighting techniques that are missing in the abbreviated sequence. This course is welcomed by all serious Tai Chi students. The complete Long Form takes about thirty-five minutes to practice slowly.
Prerequisites: Tai Chi Short Form, Tai Chi Form Improvement.
Videos and online courses:
While we believe that you cannot learn Tai Chi on your own from books and DVDs, such media can help your practice improve. A Short Form chart, books on Tai Chi, and a Chu Tai Chi DVD are available in our store.