What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi (or taiji, shortened from taijiquan) is a martial art based on ancient Chinese culture, medicine, and philosophy. Millions of people all over the world practice tai chi daily for its wonderful benefits for health and fitness, healing chronic pain and illness, reversing the effects of aging, and relieving stress.
Tai chi’s benefits are the result of three unique “internal” principles/elements regarding the use of your YI (intention) to guide your movements rather than brute force, FANGSONG (pure relaxation or “letting go”), and CHANSIJIN (silk reeling force), tai chi’s continually spiralling full body movements.
A Martial Art and Health & Fitness Program in One
As a martial art, tai chi builds a strong body and sound mind. Daily practice develops a positive mental outlook, respect for oneself and others, self discipline, self confidence, concentration skills, and emotional balance, and improves our overall quality of life.
Tai chi’s gentle flowing movements combined with deep breathing and full intention have a profound calming and soothing effect on your central nervous system, dissolving both physical and emotional stress. Regular practice of tai chi can relieve back and joint pain and arthritis, stabilize blood pressure, improve circulation, heal illness, and keep your mind and body feeling young and alive.
Tai chi is a treasure to humankind. Through regular practice one can transform every aspect of their life – physically, mentally, and spiritually. This happens through one’s daily practice and is not something that can be described in words!
Our Chen Style Tai Chi Training Program
We teach the original Chen style tai chi in the tradition of Grandmaster Wang Xi’an. Our training program is as follows:
You will learn tai chi principles and theory along with the following 6 components:
1. STANDING – learn how to align your body with gravity to relax and conserve energy – the key to all tai chi postures and movements
2. BREATHING – tai chi’s specific method of breathing to energize your whole body for vibrant health and well being
3. LOOSENING UP – a series of 12 gentle joint rotation exercises (aka “The Daily Dozen”) to loosen up muscles and joints, increase circulation, relieve and prevent joint pain and injuries, and reverse the effects of aging
4. SILK REELING – Silk reeling is tai chi’s continually spiraling/coiling whole body movements. Silk reeling strengthens and tones muscles, tendons, and ligaments, cultivates powerful qi (vital energy) circulation, improves cardiovascular and lymphatic function, and heals and prevents soft tissue injuries – the healthiest and most intelligent way to exercise the whole body
5. TAI CHI BACK STRETCH – a simple spinal stretch performed while standing to increase spinal mobility and correct alignment of spinal vertebrae – the BEST EXERCISE to relive and prevent back pain and restore youthful spinal pliability for life
6. QUIET STANDING – a simple method of standing to cultivate stillness and total relaxation of body and mind – sometimes referred to as Standing Meditation
Tai chi’s solo routines contain all of its health giving and self defense techniques, and were created to preserve the art for future generations. Forms teach us correct posture and whole body movement, balance and coordination, and how to relax and open the body for healthy qi (vital energy) circulation.
Our training program focuses on the original Chen style Old Frame First Routine (Laojia Yilu) in the tradition of Grandmaster Wang Xi’an. This 75 movement form is the basis for Chen style tai chi, and the origin of all other major tai chi styles.
At a more advanced level, you will learn Old Frame Second Routine (Laojia Erlu), also known as Paochui, or “Cannon Fist” form. Paochui is a shorter routine than Yilu, and teaches explosive power, with striking and quick, nimble footwork.
Finally, you will learn Taichi Sanshou, a synthesis of 48 movements/postures selected from Laojia, Xinjia, Push Hands, and self defense applications. It is an integral part of the core curriculum of Grandmaster Wang Xi’an’s system of Chen Family Taijiquan. Sanshou teaches practical self defense with emphasis on the cultivation of speed and explosive power.
There are also a variety of weapons forms, including double edge straight sword (Jian), broadsword (Dao), spear (Qiang), and long handled broadsword (Guandao).
Tai chi partner training exercises to develop self defense skills such as sensitivity, rooting, striking, and applying and escaping joint locks. Push Hands is a way to practice and test actual combat techniques without injury.
Internal exercises combining movement with special breathing techniques and mental intention/visualization to regenerate and strengthen whole body, and cultivate balanced qi circulation for heath, healing, and martial power.