Not just about old people sneaking up on trees!
Tai chi is a profound and subtle healing exercise and martial art 2000 years in the making. It originally became famous for its martial effectiveness and was taught to Qing Dynasty aristocrats and elite military officers. Today tai chi is known for its many health benefits and is part of the Chinese national fitness program.
Tai chi can be practiced as a healing exercise and as a martial arts.
Those who do NOT wish to learn the martial components, but want to improve health and fitness, should register for Tai Chi Foundations
Students who wish to learn the martial components should register for the Martial Arts program. The martial arts program includes the Tai Chi Foundations in additions to comprehensive martial arts training and conditioning.
The health benefits of tai chi are so well known and documented that most people who practice tai chi do so for their health and fitness, with little or no desire to be involved in what is referred to as the "martial component" of tai chi. For those students, we offer the Tai Chi Basic program. This will include all the parts of the adaptive tai chi curriculum that do not include two-person training, martial applications, tuishou, or other self-defence practice.
Tai Chi for Health
Tai chi chuan (Tai chi) is practised by millions around the world as a means to better health, fitness, and long life. What many do not know is that this relaxing and invigorating exercise is also practised by many as a martial art. Students who are seeking the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of tai chi often do not want to learn the martial aspects of the art. So, most teachers do not teach the martial aspects. However, since the health benefits are a direct result of the art's martial history, the best health benefits are achieved by learning from a teacher who at least understands the martial elements. The teacher doesn't need to teach the student combat skills. But the teacher should understand them.
Whether you are looking for an effective way to feel better, relax, and improve your fitness, or you wish to learn a profound martial art, then tai chi chuan has a lot to offer you.
The masters who created tai chi chuan recognised how important it was for a martial artist to strengthen mind, body, and spirit. They also considered it self-evident that a martial artist should have a profound awareness of mind and body, and be skilled at constantly seeking peace and harmony in an inherently violent world.
These are essential qualities of high level martial artists. But they are also valuable for everyone else. That is why tai chi chuan exercises are part of China's national fitness program, and have become immensely popular throughout the world.
Tai chi chuan has become so popular, in fact, that it has often been watered down and simplified to make it easier to teach to large masses of people. Today there are even many teachers don’t fully understand the true nature of the art. It is common for people today to see tai chi as nothing but a gentle exercise for old people. However, since the initial wave of popularity, the standards for teaching are increasing, and there are a growing number of schools endeavouring to teach the complete traditional art.
Tai chi has traditionally been popular with people of all ages. The gentle grace and power, as well as the subtle and mysterious nature of this ancient art appeals to a very wide demographic, including men and women of all ages and fitness levels.
In addition, people of different ages are attracted to tai chi for a variety of reasons. Some people like it because it gives them strength, flexibility, agility, and the power to defend themselves against bigger, stronger opponents. Some like it because it helps them to be healthy, and even formidable, no matter what their age. Some like it because it is safe, is graceful, is empowering, tones the body, doesn't require big muscles, and teaches the use of suppleness and sensitivity to overcome brute force.
Athletes of all ages appreciate the intense workout that tai chi can provide, while being adaptable to any fitness level. The will also find that traditional tai chi can strengthen the core, increase flexibility, co-ordination, strength, power, and speed. Many athletes cross train in tai chi for the improvements in performance it offers in such sports as golf, running, skiing, swimming, tennis, football and rugby.
The many health benefits of tai chi chuan are a direct result of the search for an effective martial art. Tai chi chuan grew from an ancient bed of knowledge that included traditional medicine, qigong (Chinese yoga), northern Chinese martial arts, daoist philosophy, and the insights of several very dedicated and gifted people.
Many health benefits of tai chi are now well documented. Some research now suggests that regular practice of traditional tai chi:
• Improves cardiovascular function
• Reduces blood pressure and cholesterol
• Improves balance and reduces falls
• Is safe for arthritis sufferers
• Improves symptoms of some types of arthritis
• Slows the rate of Osteoporosis
• Reduces risks of injury
• Aids with asthma and other breathing problems
• Improves immune function
• Improves flexibility and strength
• Improves endurance
• Reverses symptoms of ageing
• Can aid in weight loss
Traditional martial arts offer complete mental and physical training that can transform lives. Practical self defence is only one of the many benefits. Some of the other benefits are: lasting health, fitness, flexibility, balance, strength, concentration, awareness, empathy, compassion, relaxation, power, and peace of mind.
There are thousands of "styles" of martial art. But the art is not a style. Each school develops its own pedagogy based on tradition and innovation.
At this school we emphasize (but are not limited to) a branch of kung-fu called "Neijia" or Internal Martial Arts. These styles emphasize the cultivation of subtle power and a deep understanding of the relationship between mind and body. They teach the importance of relaxing the body and calming the mind, and that by training the core strength and understanding the mind, one can use softness to defeat brute force.
The most famous internal martial arts are: taijiquan (tai chi), xingyiquan, baguazhang, yiquan, liuhebafa (water style).
It is important to understand that what people refer to as a "style" of martial art is really just a particular pedagogy. The art itself is not a style, and we do not restrict ourselves to historic pedagogy.
What works for one person may not work for another. Each student is responsible for learning and integrating the lessons, and then transforming and liberating themselves.
"Self Defence" is a specific and urgent need for some people. A comprehensive martial arts program may not be the most efficient way to achieve the goal of effective self defence.
These people may include bullied children, military personnel, police, health care workers, bar staff, and other people who face threats of violence on a frequent basis.
Beyond the techniques and methods of overcoming bigger and stronger opponents, practical self defence is the art of practical peace. We want the innocent to be able to defend themselves without losing their innocence.
When physical action is necessary, it must be effective and decisive. But equally important is the cultivation of a relaxed body, a calm mind, and the ability to think clearly and critically in a stressful situation.
Practical self defence includes mental, physical, emotional, strategic, and tactical methods for understanding and conquering violence.
When violence is the problem, peace of mind is usually the solution.
Qigong (pronounced "Chee Gong") is a relatively new word for a variety of ancient arts. The word can be literally translated as the "Art of Breath" or "Energy Skill." But that doesn't adequately describe it. An older and more appropriate word is "Nei Gong" which means "Internal Cultivation."
It is described as the art and science of using posture, movement, stretching, breathing, visualization, massage, and meditation to cultivate and refine the internal energies of the body and mind.
There are thousands of schools of qigong. But most fit into one or more of the following categories:
- Medical Qigong is taught in hospitals and clinics in China and around the world. Specific exercises are designed for each patient's condition.
- Buddhist qigong is the ancient are of cultivating extraordinary abilities of the mind and body. The goal of buddhist qigong is increased awareness, wisdom, and the elimination of suffering.
- Daoist qigong is also called "inner alchemy." This includes several different types of esoteric exercises for achieving longevity and harmony with nature.
- Healing qigong is an ancient therapeutic practice. Practitioners use a variety of techniques to strengthen and harmonize the subtle energy of the client. It can involve light touch or no touch, and is sometimes called "acupuncture without needles."
- Martial Arts Qigong has been used for at least 2000 years to increase physical power, expand awareness, and to prevent injury or aid in recovery.
Most classes employ a phased curriculum, meaning that students can sign up any time, and don't have to worry about keeping up with the rest of the class.
Contact Ian Sinclair to schedule a seminar.
Full-time tai chi and martial arts training:
Short-term or long-term intensive programs are an option for serious students and instructor training.
This is a popular choice for students visiting from overseas.