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Our teaching is built on internal Tai Chi principles...

The benefits of Tai Chi come from embodying the internal principles – what we call being ‘in principle’.


Our goal is to stay ‘in principle’ not just during class, but in everyday life – when sitting, standing, moving, or interacting.


What are the internal Tai Chi principles? 

You can only fully understand Tai Chi principles by experiencing them in your own body. And they are transmitted best by a teacher who has them in their own body. 

Where they are expressed in words in the Tai Chi ‘classics’ or in Cheng Man Ch’ing’s own writings, the language tends to be difficult to understand. On reason is that Chinese teachers believe the struggle to understand a text is an important part of the learning process. Another is that these texts are trying to talk about the practice of Tai Chi when taken to its highest / deepest levels. 

However, at Beginners level, we have some simpler and more easily understood words to
(a) guide your intentions even in your very first Tai Chi experiences; and 
(b) 'point the way’ towards the deeper understanding you will get through practice. 

In class, we talk about 5 principles to start you on your journey (and about specific 'indications' to help you embody them):  

  • Relaxation 
    We release physical tension and calm our mind. Ultimately, developing ‘looseness’ in body and mind helps us to feel more ‘at ease’

  • Moving from the centre (or Tan Tien) 
    We initiate all movement from our Tan Tien. Ultimately, developing the ability to rest our mind in the Tan Tien helps us to feel more ‘centred’ ('focused') 

  • Uprightness 
    We are held from above and root into the earth below. Ultimately, developing our connection to heaven & earth helps us to feel more ‘secure’ ('stable') 


  • Being 100% (or 0%) 
    Our weight is fully in one leg - the other is 'empty'. Ultimately, developing both Yin & Yang to the maximum helps us to feel more ‘powerful’ (‘full of Qi’)


  • Beauteous (or Fair Maiden's) Hands 
    Our hands are soft to allow a sensitive touch. Ultimately, developing our ability to ‘listen’ with all our senses helps us to feel more ‘aware’ 

You may hear other words to express these principles as you develop on your journey through the levels of teaching - and certainly you will hear new indications in classes at each new level. However, these initial words form a solid foundation to build on. 

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