Click on the picture to start (or stop) this video
Our Tai Chi includes Qigong as one of many practices...
"Tai Chi 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.
We teach the Form at Beginners, Fundamentals, and Intermediate levels.
"Sensing Hands" = Twey Shou / Tui Shou = a 2 person practice
This is a partner exercise that challenges students to continue to embody internal Tai Chi principles whilst interacting with another person - an additional distraction / pressure. Both of you are relaxing into the interaction - like having a good conversation.
We teach Sensing (or Pushing Hands) to those who have done Fundamentals level.
Click here for a picture showing how we learn to calmly connect, listen & respond.
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")
We teach Sword Form and Fencing 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
Although Qi (or Ch'i) sounds a bit like the Chi in Tai Chi, it is a different Chinese word. Qi is often translated as 'energy', or even 'life force', but it also means 'breath'. And Qigong can be called 'cultivation of Qi', or simply 'breath work'. The video clip from TCF's Roots & Branches DVD says more about Qi.
All Tai Chi is Qigong... but not all Qigong is Tai Chi. Ours definitely is, as it works with the flows of energy [= emotions] inherent in the positions in our Tai Chi form. We use 5 Element Qigong as a way to become more aware of these different energy flows [= emotions] in our body, and as a way to manage or regulate them.
We focus on our breathing, and combine this with either holding of an individual position, continuously moving between left and right versions of the position, or developing this into a flowing 'walk'. We also teach specific self massages. All this is supported with mental imagery to help move the Qi.
We teach Qigong in classes which typically focus in each class on just one particular energy / emotion, represented by a particular "element" in the Chinese system, and also associated with a particular season.
There are 5 seasons / elements / energies / emotions:
Winter = Water = Courage / Strength (or Fear / Anxiety as their negatives)
Spring = Wood = Assertion / Determination (or Anger / Frustration as their negatives)
Summer = Fire = Joy / Excitement (or Out of Control / Carelessness as their negatives)
Harvest = Earth = Love / Nurture (or Disgust / Shame as their negatives)
Autumn = Metal = Letting Go / Being Inspired (or Sadness / Being deflated as their negatives)
"The Eight Ways of Tai Chi" = 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.
We occasionally teach this as a great deepening practice for experienced Tai Chi students, or a great introduction for those who have never done Tai Chi before.