Thursday Morning 9:30-10:30am Yang Style Tai Chi
The gentle, flowing movements of tai chi help release mental and physical tension, increase vitality, focus the mind, improve circulation, foster spiritual awareness and encourage inner peace. We offer Chen and Yang style Tai Chi classes (barehand and sword)~
Chen Style Tai Chi: Combines soft, slow, flowing movements with low stances and sudden bursts of intense power (fajing).
Yang Style Tai Chi: Has broad, open, soft and flowing movements. It is less physically demanding than Chen style tai chi.
Introduction to Taiji Quan
Taiji Quan is a specially designed type of Quan in the treasurable Chinese Wushu culture. It helps people to train themselves with empty, flexible, relaxing, comfortable, and quiet methods, and which is suitable for health care. Taiji Quan can be used for self-defense and is also helpful to adjust Qi (breath) and strengthen heart function. Thus Taiji Quan is beneficial for avoiding illness and extending longevity, and is a skill for both combat and health preservation.
Taiji Quan specially emphasizes on the coordination of the will and movements. And the level of coordination reflects the coordination degree of the central nervous system. Long-term practice of Taiji Quan can effectively promote the flexibility, coordination and efficacy of the central nervous system, and the practicers will feel relax, selfless and comfortable. The functional improvements of the central nervous system can change and guid the improvement of the automatic nervous functions, thereby preferably making the functions of heart and lungs adapt to the organism requirements.
The name, Taiji Quan, came from Chinese ancient philosophy “Yin-Yang” and “Taiji” came from “Zhouyi”: “Yi has Taiji (supreme terminus), and it produces two Yi (ultimate element)”. “Tai” means supreme, and “Ji” means the initial beginning or ultimate terminus or vertex. Taiji is Chinese people’s primitive world view. Taiji Quan gradually came into being from the integration of Quan (fist) skills and the theory of Taiji.
According to textual researchers, Taiji Quan is gradually formed in late Ming Dynasty. The three aspects of Taiji Quan’s origin: 1) Integration of famous Quan (fist) skills in Ming Dynasty. In Ming Dynasty, when Wushu was quite popular, many famous masters, monographs and new types of Quans appeared.Taiji Quan absorbed merits from different schools of Wushu, especially the 32 Styles Chang Quan invented by Qi Jiguang. 2) Integrated with ancient skills breathing and inner guiding, Taiji Quan emphasizes on mind and intention which shall lead movements, Qi (breath) dropped to Dantian (lower abdomen), quiet mental state and body relaxation, and the strengthening of the inner part of the body. The organic integration of breathing, inner guiding, and the coordination of hands, eyes, body and steps have made Taiji a sport of the unity of inner part and external part. Therefore, Taiji Quan is called one of the “Neigong (inner Kungfu) Quans”. 3) Taiji Quan has adopted ancient Chinese medicine theories of main and collateral channels and the theories of Yin-Yang. According to ancient Chinese medicine theory, Taiji Quan requires “mind and intention to lead breathe, guide the Qi (breath) to drive body movements”. The inner breath origins from Dantian (lower abdomen), and drives the strength of body from waist. Every style of Taiji Quan uses the theory of Yin and Yang to explain Quan techniques and various changes.
The main methods of Taiji Quan are: the hand techniques of ward-off, roll-back, pressing, push-down, pull-down, splitting, elbow, leaning, spreading, waving hands like a cloud, pushing and grabbing, the fist techniques of plunging, deflecting, cutting, sweeping and strikinng, as well as the leg techniques of stepping, spreading, clapping and swing. The characteristics of movements are: quiet heart, relax body, natural breath, brisk, continuous, clear between emptiness and solidness, hardness within softness, and the will leads the movements.
Movement Characteristics of Taiji Quan
At the beginning, the breath shall be natural. After some practice, the coordination of breath and mind is required. The breath of Taiji Quan shall generally be coordinated with movements: inhale when rising, exhale when falling, inhale when opening, and exhale when closing. For example, for the movements of rising and closing, you shall inhale when raising the arms, and exhale when falling the arms.In addition, you shall inhale when opening hands, and exhale when closing hands. Another way of breath is that: exhale when completing a movement, and inhale when changing movement, or breath, it shall be natural. The coordination of movements and mind means that you must remove all the distracting thoughts when practicing, and pay attention to the movements. The consciousness shall guide the movements, so as to make the “entire body follow the mind”.
Eight Methods and Five Steps of Taiji Quan
Taiji Quan was called Taiji Thirteen Postures, which was composed of eight methods and five steps. The eight methods refer to: ward-off, roll-back, pressing, push-down, pull-down, splitting, elbowing, learnin; and five steps refer to: stepping forwards, stepping backwards, glancing right, glancing left, and fixing in the center.
Health Theory and Efficacy of Taiji Quan
Movements and postures of Taiji Quan require all parts of the body to keep in a certain curve or cirlce, so as to relax muscles of all parts of the body. The body postures help circulation of meridians and collaterlas and qi-blood, which is difficult ot cause the exercise ocal compaction and generate the lack of oxygen of tissues and organs. Therefore, it is one of the most ideal contents of aerobic metabolism fitness. Today it is also practiced primarily for spiritual cultivation and/or for its outstanding and well-documented health benefits
. The gentle, flowing movements of tai chi help release mental and physical tension, increase vitality, focus the mind, improve circulation, foster spiritual awareness, and encourage inner peace.
Tai chi is usually translated as “Supreme Ultimate.” (Chi is the Wade-Giles transliteration of ji (pinyin) and is not to be confused with qi (pinyin) or ch’i (Wade-Giles), which means “life energy.”)The term Tai Chi is used in Chinese philosophy, particularly Daoism, to describe the evolution of the universe. Wu ji is a state of emptiness and nothingness, and refers to the state of being before the universe came into existence. From wu ji came tai chi, the point at which the universe came into existence in its initial, gaseous state.Tai chi, or the universe, expanded and separated, with clear air rising and turbid air falling and thus forming liang yi, “the two sides” – heaven and earth, light and dark, hot and cold, male and female etc. – also known as yin and yang. From liang yi, the “four elements” (si xiang), were derived: earth, wind, fire and water. The four elements can also be interpreted as the four directions, four seasons, etc. From the four elements, the “eight trigrams” (ba gua) were derived, which were then used to form the “sixty-four trigrams.” These 64 trigrams (64 gua) are used to represent everything in the universe and are frequently used for fortelling the future or fortune-telling.In essence, tai chi was the beginning of the universe, giving birth to everything in it. It represents the order or tao of the universe and means “supreme,” “infinite,” “absolute,” “one and only.”