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Tai Chi includes many practices   

"The Form" = T'ai Chi Ch'uan / Taijiquan = a solo practice

The style we teach in TCF is the 37-posture Yang Short Form, as developed by Professor Cheng Man-Ch'ing - the first person to teach his Tai Chi outside of China. There are other Yang styles, and other styles whose lineage is via other ancient families, eg Chen or Wu. China once banned Tai Chi, but has now re-introduced a 24-posture "official" form. 

"Sensing Hands" = Twey Shou / Tui Shou = a 2 person practice 

This is a Tai Chi partner exercise that challenges students to continue to embody Tai Chi principles whilst interacting with another person - an additional distraction / pressure. Contact with a partner gives immediate feedback on your internal state. They are trying to sense, and then use, any tension (lack of relaxation) in you. You are trying to sense, and use, any tension in them. Both of you are learning to relax into all types of interaction. 

We teach Sensing Hands (or Push Hands) to those who have done Fundamentals form.

3 minutes on the concept of Qi 

"Sword" = T'ai Chi Chien / Taiji Jian = both a solo practice ("Sword form") and a 2 person practice ("Fencing") 

Sword form and fencing are taught only to experienced students - typically on TCF trainings or special weekend workshops. 

"5 Element Qigong" (also known as "Roots & Branches") = Ch'i Kung / Qigong = a wellbeing practice 

5 Element Qigong is a way firstly to become more aware of the different energy flows [= emotions] in our body, and then to manage and regulate them. 

All Tai Chi is Qigong, but not all Qigong is Tai Chi. Ours definitely is, as it works with the flow of energy inherent in our Tai Chi form.

 

In Qigong, we focus on our breathing, combining this with either holding of an individual position, or continuously moving between left and right versions of the position, or developing this into a flowing 'walk'. We also have specific self massages associated with each energy / emotions. All this is supported with mental imagery. 

When we run Qigong workshops, we typically focus on the one particular energy / emotion as associated with the season, which is also represented by a particular "element" in the Chinese system. There are 5 seasons and 5 associated elements / energies / emotions:

  • Winter = Water = Fear {or Courage / Strength in its positive form) 

  • Spring = Wood = Anger (or Assertion / Determination in its positive form) 

  • Summer = Fire = Joy / Excitement 

  • Harvest = Earth = Love / Nurture 

  • Autumn = Metal = Grief (or Letting Go / Being Re-inspired in its positive form) 

Regular Qigong  (like our Tai Chi itself) develops and balances our Qi (or Ch'i), a Chinese word often translated as 'energy', or sometimes 'breath' or even 'life force'. Although Qi is pronounced a bit like the Chi in Tai Chi, it is a different Chinese word. The video from TCF's "Roots & Branches" DVD explains the concept of "Qi". 

"The Eight Ways" = an alternative approach to solo practice  

The Eight Ways uses pure imagery to call your body to move in accordance with Tai Chi principles. There are no mechanical instructions or precise indications. 

 

This is a great deepening practice for experienced Tai Chi students, as well as being a great introduction for those who have never done Tai Chi before.