In the Orient there is a strong sense of respect which is steeped in the tradition and practices of the martial arts. Taiji and Qigong can help to encourage this sense of respect for the art, teacher, student and training place.
It is customary to bow to each other before the start of each class and sometimes before entering and leaving the training class. This helps to encourage a deep respect for the art, its teachings and practices. This respect is shown by the student in being punctual for class, dressing appropriately and treating each other with mutual politeness. If late, enter the class quietly without disrupting the lesson. Obviously, in office Taiji the exercise can be done in work clothes and flat shoes. The etiquette is a little less formal for this environment, but still a sense of respect for each other is to be encouraged.
Taiji is steeped in history and philosophy, traditionally only taught to family members and inner students. Students would return year after year, only to be turned away by the master or spend years just cleaning the floors before being able to be taught. This helped the student to develop lifelong qualities of humility, respect, perseverance and a strong determination. We are very lucky today in that we pay our fee and expect to be taught properly. These practices can teach us much in the West, even if they do not come to us naturally. Tai Chi can open up these up wonderful qualities very gradually without the student even realising that they are changing for the better.
Any age can do Taiji and Qigong?
Taiji and Qigong can be done by anyone of any age, but we restrict our classes from 16-80 years and above if the individual feels physically able.
The student is given a form on enrollment to the class which requests health related details such as hypertension, asthma, diabetes etc. This will help us to structure our teaching accordingly.
We are taught to Always work to our own level of physical fitness and stick to the 70% rule of not over doing it. This helps us to train within our limitations of what we can do. If we over do it this will create tension in our body, which Tai Chi strongly discourages.
What do I wear?
It is advisable to wear loose, comfortable clothing with suitable footwear such as trainers. It is traditional to wear black or black and white to fit in with the Yin and Yang philosophy of the art, but is not essential. Working clothes are fine for our office Taiji, but please wear sensible shoes.
This also helps energetically and keeps our egos out of the class. Modestly is the order of the day!
How long does it take to learn?
Taiji does not have a grading system and is not goal orientated, but within our system we have a very structured approach to learning. Our syllabus takes many years of study, but Taiji is a lifetime’s pursuit as there is always something new to learn. The learning is centred on the individual and group harmony to for self development.
With regular attendance and practice it is possible to learn the first part of the Yang 108 step form within a year. The first part is always emphasised at our workshops as it contains all the key ingredients to develop good Taiji.
We can provide bespoke Taiji and Qigong programs for businesses.
Warm up exercises
There are 21 warm up exercises, but only 16 are usually practiced in the general class. The exercises are thoroughly worked out to completely prepare the mind and body for the movements ahead. It is important to work at our own pace and stick to the 70% rule, using the mind to help with focus and direction of the Qi. Keep our breathing regular and do not attempt to alter the natural path of the breath.
The exercises take many years to do correctly as some of them can be extremely challenging. Please remember that Taiji is non competitive and the movements are done slowly for a very good reason.