Sinclair Martial Arts - Orillia

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Tai chi in Orillia

Why do people come from around the World to learn tai chi in Orillia?

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  • full-time and part-time training available for students of all levels. 1-day, 2-days, weekends, week-long, and month-long sessions available year round.
  • instructor certification.
  • plus ongoing weekly lessons for local students.
  • online lessons
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Tai chi is a profound and subtle healing exercise and martial art. It originally became famous after it was taught to Qing Dynasty aristocrats and elite military officers. Today, tai chi is known for its many health benefits and is increasingly popular around the world and part of many fitness programs..

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.

"To assume that martial artists are training to become violent, is like assuming that doctors are training to become sick. A martial art is the perpetual search for peace, balance, and health. This demands self-awareness and compassion."
Ian Sinclair
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Martial Arts

Build the vehicle first. Then learn to drive it.

At this school, we aim to train the vehicle first, then method, then techniques. This the thinking behind the so-called "internal martial arts" like tai chi, xinyiquan, and baguazhang. Learning what to do is not very useful if you don't have a method for making it happen. Method is useless if the vehicle is not functional.

"It's not about what you do or how you do it. Rather, it is about how you are. The result of any engagement depends on the relationship between you and the World as much as it depends on your relationship with the opponent. It depends on the state of your body, mind, and spirit. This is why tai chi became known as a healing exercise. The early masters realized that it is not ultimately about the opponent." - Ian Sinclair

The first step is to cultivate balance, relaxations, awareness, and the subtle control of your own mind, body, and spirit. There is no sparring or martial techniques practised in the beginner classes.
Intermediate students have the option to learn two-person exercises like tuishou ("pushing hands"). These exercises test and refine both alignment and awareness. They teach students to generate and neutralize power safely, effectively and effortlessly. They set the stage for learning martial techniques such as joint control, pressure point manipulation, throws, strikes etc.

Only later do students get to practise what an observer might call sparring.

Traditional martial arts
training offers complete mental and physical training that can transform lives. Practical self defence is only one of the many benefits.

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.

Here is a video introducing some of the martial arts taught at this school.
I have learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.
Leo Rosten
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Self Defence

"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.
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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.

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