There are three basic elements to the beginner classes.
First of all, I introduce basic standing practices, which are a cornerstone of tai chi.
They are a proven method of teaching better body alignments, allowing you to release stuck and uncomfortable areas of your body caused by bad posture.
You will build up the strength in your legs and spine, and begin the stretching work of tai chi. This stretching is done in a gentle manner, unlike aerobics for example, as you are learning to relax your nerves as well as your muscles.
These postures help develop your ability to be still, without becoming distracted by physical discomfort, shallow breathing, or your mind’s inability to focus on the present.
By standing still, you will learn how to let go of stress and not let it accumulate inside you. When stress becomes chronic, it destroys both body and mind
Second, I teach basic Daoist breathing work.
It will help you develop a deeper and smoother breath, which in turn has a profound impact on the nerves.
If you hold your breath, or have an uneven breathing cycle, the more agitated your nerves and mind will become. If you can release that which is binding or blocking your breath, and breathe easier, so your nerves and mind will be also become relaxed.
At a more physical level, breathing using the diaphragm will massage your internal organs in a way that conventional breathing doesn’t.
The third element is Form.
I teach new students a 16-move Short Form of Wu style Tai Chi.
A form is a series of interconnected postures which are performed in a slow relaxed manner. They combine the material you will have learnt in breathing and standing into a moving exercise.
These postures, as well as containing tai chi’s martial techniques, bend and stretch the body from lots of different angles.
I teach the self-defence applications of the form movements as well. These are practiced in a very ‘light’ way and many students report afterwards that it makes the moves easier to understand and remember. Morever, it gives you a chance to meet and chat with fellow class members and have some fun !
If after the introductory course, you want to progress further in your tai chi study, you may join the more advanced 8.00pm classes. In these I teach you more of the body mechanics that power tai chi chuan as well as more advanced pushing-hands drills.
More on Forms
Traditionally, tai chi long forms have had more than 100 hundred movements and took a long time to learn. Because people today don’t have enough time between the pressures of work and family to learn and practice long forms, my teacher created a 16-move Short Form.
These moves provide the main health benefits of tai chi in a form that takes a relatively short time to learn.
Most long forms take between 20 minutes to half an hour to complete once they have been learned-the 16 move form takes around 4/5 mins but can be repeated many times. The shorter learning time as well as the smaller number of postures cuts down the frustration factor. This is supposed to be fun after all.
Here is some footage of the Short Form