I no longer teach a Tai Chi class at the Academy but do teach a class at Laindon Community Centre on a Monday afternoon 12 till 1 pm which is open to anyone over the age of 50 and from September 2017 will be teaching a class on a Friday afternoon from 1 till 2pm. I also teach private lessons at the Academy.
Tai Chi is an extremely efficient martial art developed in China, it’s full name is Tai Chi Chuan (spelt as Taijiquan in Romanised Chinese) can be translated as Supreme Ultimate Fist. It is a soft or internal martial art, unlike karate which is classed as a hard or external martial art. Its power is not obvious to the casual observer. It emphasises yielding and flowing with an attack rather then meeting it with brute force. That does not mean that there is no hard and fast techniques within Tai Chi, there can not be soft without hard, or slow without fast, that is the nature of the universe and Tai Chi as expressed by Ying and Yang and the Tai Chi symbol everyone knows.
Although thought to be thousands of years old the oldest written record was created in 1820 (Wile, Douglas (1995). Lost T’ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch’ing Dynasty (Chinese Philosophy and Culture). State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0791426548). It is around 1930 that a man named Yang Chengfu developed the form that we know today without the explosive movements, making it suitable for everyone to learn. He did this because he believed the people of China were growing weaker and needed a means of exercise to make them strong again. The form that Steve teaches is the Yang Chengfu Long Form.
Benefits of Tai Chi
- Reduces blood pressure
- Improves balance and co-ordination
- Improves joint mobility and flexibility
- Relieves stress and helps relaxation
- Improves respiratory function
- Keeps the mind active and it’s fun
What is Chi Kung?
Chi means breath and Kung means work so Chi Kung (also written as Qigong), which can be translated as “breath work” or “energy work”. Chi Kung is a form of standing meditation in which posture is extremely important as the Chinese believe that there are a number of energy channels running through the body in a similar way that veins and arteries run around the body but instead of blood an electrical energy force called Chi (Qi) flows. The Chi channels or Meridians flow through the organs of the body. These are the same Meridians that acupuncturist use to insert their needles. This flow of Chi bathes the organs with a life giving force which helps to repair and strengthen the organs. If it is impeded by poor posture then illness or disease results, if it is totally blocked the Chinese believe that you die. Chi Kung provides the benefits to good health that you will derive from performing the Tai Chi form when you have mastered it.
What is the class format? What can I expect?
The class format is to start with 20 minutes of standing Chi Kung. Followed by a set of eight exercises which are thought to be over three thousand years old known as The Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade Qigong or Ba Duan Jin. This is followed by some gentle stretching exercises before moving on to explanation of movements contained within the form. Finally the last 30 minutes concentrate on the form itself.