- When Can I Start Taking Tai Chi / Can I Visit A Class?
- How Are The Classes Structured?
- What Do I Wear To Tai Chi Classes?
- How Often Do I Need To Come / Practice?
- Any Age / Ability Restrictions?
- How Long Does It Take To Learn the Long Form?
- What Other Forms / Techniques Do You Teach?
- Do You Teach for Health and/or Martial Purposes?
The general format of the class allows for people to start and stop taking Tai Chi at anytime. There are aspects to the classes that are done in a group, but for the most part it is one-on-one training in a more traditional format. Each class begins with 30 minutes of Qi Gong exercises (simple, easy to learn routines of 5-7 movements) that is done together. Following the warmup exercises the next hour is devoted to Tai Chi. We may do parts of the form together depending on the particular mix of students at the class that evening, but generally Tai Chi instruction is done one-on-one. In any given class there will be beginners and more advanced students which is beneficial to everyone as advanced students get to hear basic techniques over and over and beginners can learn from more advanced students.
The general format of Tai Chi is that we teach each student one-on-one, one small section of the Tai Chi long form at a time. So each week you come we go over what you have learned up to that point and then if everything is ok, we will add another small section. After you complete the long form (3-9 months for most people) there are more advanced trainings and corrections for those who are interested.
For those interested in visiting, we open the Tuesday night qi gong section of the class to the public for free – you are welcome to come and participate in the qi gong and then stay and watch some of the Tai Chi class to see if it is a fit for you and your learning style. Unless absolutely necessary we prefer to not have visitors on Saturdays.
Really anything comfortable to you is fine. Most people wear general street clothes and practice either barefoot or with stiffer/flatter shoes. Generally tights pants and soft shoes such as running shoes are not desirable.
We currently offer classes two times per week and you are free to attend one or both classes. This depends more on your available time than anything else. For beginners sometimes one class a week is enough as they need time to integrate (i.e. practice) what they have learned.
One helpful recommendation, however, is to practice both immediately after you get home from each class and then either later that day or the next morning depending on when the class was. This will reinforce learning and help you remember the form, taking a day off after the class will often result in forgetting everything we went over. Whereas if you practice immediately after you can skip the whole week of practicing and you will be more likely to remember what we went over.
No. Tai Chi has tremendous health benefits for all ages and conditions. Each movement can be adapted for nearly any current health condition, particularly poor balance. With practice the overall health and physical strength of each person will improve.
For most people the long form will take 3-9 months depending on their experience, physical conditioning and devotion to practice. Any Tai Chi is better than doing nothing so there is no particular hurry to learn the whole form.
After people learn the long form there will be many further corrections for interested students. Along with this will be various weapons forms, other tai chi forms, other qi gong forms, meditation practices and sparring (i.e. push hands). All of these techniques, however, have as the primary emphasis the health and development of the student.
In essence you cannot separate the martial and health aspects of Tai Chi. We do not, however, focus on the direct martial application as much as we do the health aspects. More directly, we learn the martial applications only in as much as they help us to perform the form correctly and to develop our internal energy and coordination well. For those interested in more direct sparring, I recommend studying directly with my teacher, Gin Soon Chu, who is a direct Yang style lineage holder holding all aspects of Tai Chi application and knowledge.