What is Tai Chi Chuan? Tai Chi Chuan is a soft, internal energy martial art. It is practiced slowly, softly, gently, and carefully. This helps to quiet the mind and develop awareness of the body.
Why do people study Tai Chi? For health, relaxation, and self defense.
What is a class like? The class begins with stretching and movement to warm-up the joints, ligaments, and muscle groups. Then we do Chi Kung, the short form or long form, and applications or push hands, if you’re interested.
What is Chi Kung? Chi Kung means the ‘cultivation of energy’. It combines deep breathing and gentle movement to concentrate bioelectrical energy in the body, invigorating one’s own sense of vitality.
What is the long form? The long form moving meditation is a choreographed set of martial art movements. At slow meditative speed, it can take 20 minutes to complete. How long it takes to learn the form depends on the individual and doesn’t really matter. The focus is the process of learning/practicing Tai Chi. “It’s not the destination; it’s the journey.”
What is the short form? It’s the first 20 moves of the long form and can be practiced in a ‘loop’ set called the Compass.
Is this a ‘no pain, no gain’ type of physical conditioning? No. Tai Chi is noted for its soft, gentle approach, acknowledging and accepting the state of the body as it is. Honoring that and slowly, steadily building a foundation of health and strength.
How vigorous is the class? As vigorous as you want it. It depends on how low you go in your legs. The lower your stance, the more cardiovascular workout. It’s recommended to begin with a higher stance as you develop your tuck and become familiar with the moves.
Do we do partner forms and application? We can when the student is interested in it. The contact is with the instructor and is slow and gentle in delivery. This gives the student the opportunity to understand how to do the moves and how to keep themselves safe when practising the moves.
What are the benefits? Tai Chi helps clear the mind, relax the body, nourish the spirit, increase energy and contributes to health and longevity. Some specific health benefits include: Strengthening of the back and legs; flexibility of the joints and spine; lower blood pressure; improved balance and endurance; elevated mood; reduced anger; relieved fatigue, and increased energy, physical strength and stamina. It is recommended for the elderly or for anyone interested in reducing their risk of heart disease, osteoporosis, arthritis, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure. Master Teachers say Tai Chi gives you the ‘flexibility of a child, the strength of a lumberjack, and eventually the wisdom of a sage’.
What style of Tai Chi is this? This is the Nan King Integrated Tai Chi Chuan style. It combines elements of the Yang, Chen, Wu, Ba Gua, and Hsing I art forms.
How long is the class? The class is one hour.
Where is the class held? In a quiet, private space on a surface that makes it easy to move the feet.
What should I wear? Loose comfortable clothes that allow deep breaths and comfortable, flat, supportive shoes.
Should I eat before or after class? For maximum comfort, try to finish eating one hour before class, eat lightly, or eat after class.
Do I have to be at a certain point of physical fitness to participate? No. Students should consult with the instructor regarding individual health needs. The class can be modified/structured to meet those needs. Additionally, the class environment is developed to encourage each individual to avoid competition, to participate at their own ability level, and to focus on enhancing their own personal health foundation.
What if I miss for any reason? Can I come back? By all means. Tai Chi is an ongoing process. Although this is a group class setting, each person has their own private, individual practice. Everyone may end up in different places in the form. That’s OK. Everyone focuses on where they are personally in the form. It’s non- competitive. When you come to class, the instructor will give you the information you need to move on to the next step at your own rate.
Who is the Instructor? Linda Scheer has practiced the art of Tai Chi since 1988 and has been teaching it since 1995. Her Tai Chi Senior Instructor is Cheng, I-Chung. Her study includes the Integrated Nan-King Tai Chi Chuan Long & Short Form, Qi Gong, Push Hands, San Shou, Ba Gua, and Martial Qi Gong. She has a Masters in Vocational Rehabilitation and extensive experience in meditation and education.