Tai Chi is the gentle way to fight stress, improve your balance and exercise!
Tai Chi can help just about anyone, regardless of your current abilities
Tai Chi Chuan classes
What you are about to read is a very simple idea that can save you a lifetime of pain and suffering. This idea has been tested over the course of hundreds of years by the some of the longest lived people on the planet, and now it’s your turn to get the same benefits that the Chinese people have been receiving for hundred of years.
When you enroll in Tai Chi classes, it enables you to walk more easily, have more stamina, and generally enjoy your life more than you thought possible.
Listen: One of the best ways to improve your health and maintain a sense of calm balance in your life is to practice the Chinese martial art of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is actually the most popular form of exercise on the planet!
When you enroll in Tai Chi classes, (also known as Taiji or Tai Chi Chuan), it enables you to walk more easily, have more stamina, and generally enjoy your life more than you thought possible. In other words, this gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many of the symptoms of aging and is something you can actually practice for the rest of your life.
However, there is a drawback. You see, in order to gain all of the benefits that Tai Chi has to offer, you must practice it daily. Yes, it’s as simple as that.
You see, I teach 2 classes of Tai Chi every week at my school in Henderson, NV. During the weekday, the classes are held on Monday and Friday evenings. I would very much like you to become a student at my martial arts school. However, for those of you whose schedules are tight, I also have private one on one Tai Chi instruction.
“Tai Chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.” ~ Dr. Gloria Yeh – assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
Here’s Some Of The Evidence:
- 1Muscle strength.In 2006, a publication called Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine reported on a study conducted by researcher at Stanford University. This study used 39 women and men who’s average age was 66 years old. The subjects were also considered to be below average in fitness and had at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After practicing Tai Chi for just 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower AND upper body strength. Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in Tai Chi strengthens your upper body. “Tai Chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.” ~ Dr. Gloria Yeh – assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
- 2Flexibility. The forms or routines found in Tai Chi consist of very slow, circular, flowing motions that coordinate with your breathing. These low impact motions disguise high levels of joint rotations found in the techniques. Of course, practicing Tai Chi will not give you the flexibility to jump into the full splits. But, it does give you flexibility within your joints, which is essential to longevity and having a good quality of life at an older age.
What Is Tai Chi?
There is no direct way to translate The Chinese words 太极传
Let me be a bit more specific...
Let's talk about what tai chi is and isn't
Tai Chi IS: a martial art.
All of the movements although practiced very slowly can also be performed fast against someone who is attacking you. Tai Chi is an centuries old Chinese martial art that involves slow beautiful, flowing movements.
These slow movements incorporate deep rhythmic breathing and shifting the weight of the body from one leg to the other. A long time ago, someone realized that practicing fighting movements very slowly gave them more balance and more power than practicing fast ever did.
Practitioners started practicing slow to feel each shift of the legs could be felt more in its entirety. By doing this, they could concentrate on whether they were in balance. The slow movements allowed the practitioners to “feel” their center of gravity, then manipulate it.
When the slow movements are coordinated with deep breathing and concentrations it become almost a form of moving meditation. When practicing these types of movements daily, it greatly increases a person’s sense of balance and center and strengthen the muscles in the legs.
Practicing Tai Chi also increases coordination and range of motion, reduces stress levels, lowers blood pressure, and enhances a sense of emotional well being and inner harmony. Taijiquan or Tai Chi Chuan translates from Chinese to English as “Great grand ultimate fist”.
Tai Chi IS NOT: A Dance, A Religious Practice Or A Cardio Workout
The style of Tai Chi can look like a dance because some of the move are coordinated to flow in a sequence. These routines or forms are again based in the practical fighting applications of the techniques. A long time ago, someone (grandmaster of the art) found that certain techniques flowed well when they followed each other. Naturally he decided to start practicing them in that particular sequence and a new form or routine was born. Some of the longer sets of Tai Chi have up to 108 movements.
Tai Chi has nothing to do with religion. It is a fighting art originally made for self defense.
Tai Chi is not a cardio workout like running or skipping rope. But that’s what is good about it it is low impact. It doesn't hurt you joints. In fact, it strengthens your joints and ligaments!
Today, Tai chi is commonly known as a “internal” martial art. An internal martial may be considered “soft” compared to others types of martial arts like karate that emphasize having tension in the muscles to generate power. This is due to the fact that Tai Chi practitioners try to incorporate the idea of complete relaxation when executing their movements. Sometimes people associate Tai chi with older people, because many it is practiced by many seniors as a means of exercise. However Tai chi is for everyone, young and old, and the benefits of practicing this ancient martial art are many
Here Are 2 Ways To Understand What Tai Chi Is
The first tip to improve your Tai Chi practice is to try and relax a bit more when practicing. I know that every teacher you have had in the past has told you the same thing but maybe they haven't explained to you exactly how to relax.
Try this experiment. Lie directly on the ground face up. Then ask a friend to help you up. You will find that they will easily be able to help you to your feet.
Next, try laying down again but this time your friend will have to pick you up like a sack of potatoes. You will act as if you are unconscious and they have to get you to your bed.
They will have an extremely difficult task in front of them. They will no be able to move you by themselves.
The major difference between experiment 1 and experiment 2 is relaxation. You want to have the same feeling of being heavy and being a dead weight when you are in your tai chi stance. Use the slinking technique described in the video to help you get this feeling.
Finally, relax your hands. You want o have MINIMAL power in the muscles of your hands. A drill I give my students is to freeze their hand in a very relaxed position then try and write their name out in the air while holding this minimal power position. Pretend that your index finger is a pen and and start to draw out the letters in cursive. This exercise is very similar to the way you want o play the Tai Chi movements.
Would you believe me if I told you tai chi is a fighting art? [self defense techniques]
When you think of people doing Tai Chi, what are some of the first images to come to mind?
Well, the most common image a group of old folks slowly practicing early in the morning at a park.
However this is a misconception.
The martial art of Tai Chi is exactly that, martial. Each technique within the form has an application in a self defense scenario.
Many students have little or no interest in ever having to use Tai chi for self defense. The goal of many of these students may be to gain all of the benefits listed previously. However, like all martial arts, Tai chi was founded as a combative system of fighting.
Tai chi as a fighting system has many self defense applications hidden within the sets or forms. Tai chi also has a two person exercise known as “push hands” or “tui shou”. Push hands are a method of training that demonstrates the practical side of Tai chi for self defense.
However when most people look at tai chi being performed they don't associate it with fighting ability.
The reason why?
The movements don't look like typical fighting movements
The style of Tai chi doesn't look like typical fighting because typical fighting involves striking. Remember, Tai Chi, is not primarily a striking art but rather a grappling art. Tai Chi excels at throwing techniques known as shuai jiao, and joint locking techniques known as chin-na. It is also very good at off balancing an opponent. All of these skills come from the base exercise known as push hands, which you see in this video.
Let me explain. Long ago people realized that practicing martial arts in a slow and deliberate manner helped them to gain balance and a feeling of connected to the ground. Sometimes this is referred to as rootedness. In reference to being similar to having roots like a tree.
Many practitioners also realized that this ability to have a high level of balance allowed them to use less power when dealing with an oncoming attack. Tai Chi then became an art which specialized in being able to off balance opponents using a strategy of redirecting force then counter attacking.
Here you see a class drill meant to teach tactile sensitivity. Which basically means the ability to feel our opponents balance through touching them on the wrist.
Knowing where your opponent's center of gravity is the first skill to acquire. The second skill to follow up by pushing your opponent off balance.
Who can do Tai Chi?
Anyone can learn Tai Chi... well that is...anyone who is motivated enough to prioritize coming to classes.
There are no physical requirements. Even someone who has never done anything athletic in their life can learn Tai Chi.
If you are coordinated enough to walk you are coordinated enough to learn from me.
What this means is, that you can get started even if you aren't in top shape or the best of health.
Of course it will take you some time before you start to excel at Tai Chi, but ANYTHING of value requires time and effort.
It is only through learning Tai Chi correctly that you will see the benefits of it.
Well, does all this sound like a lot of work to you? Well, actually, it's not really. True, there is a little effort to get set up for classes but... after that...it will become part of your weekly routine. So, if you are serious about receiving all the benefits that Tai Chi practice has to offer coming to class twice a week should be a snap.
The Benefits Of Tai Chi Practice
Concentrations And Focus
For many students, Tai chi is a martial art whose primary focus is to increase concentration. The physical benefits of training are a bonus. Tai chi may be called a form of moving meditation.
All movements in the set or form are performed with the Chinese concept of “yi”. “Yi” is translated to “mind intent” or concentration. Without “yi” the form can be considered empty movements. The quiet, serene, relaxed way in which Tai chi is practiced is perfectly fitted to the development of complete concentration.
Cultivating Health and Longevity
In today’s stress filled world, Tai chi can be an outlet for the chronic stress invoked by the job, mortgage, rent, bills and relationships. Tai chi is an excellent exercise for cultivating an energy source known as “chi”. “Chi” is life force or internal energy.
It is an Eastern concept found in many Asian cultures. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that illness is caused by a disruption of the natural flow of chi throughout the body. Correct practice of Tai chi helps to keep this flow of internal energy flowing and live.
What you will do in class
Step by Step
Part 1 Of Class (The Warmup)
A warm-up that focuses on loosening the joints. The warmup includes easy to perform motions such as arm and neck circles, twisting of the waist and hips, and rotating the knees and ankles. These type of warmups leave you feeling light and limber. The warmup is very mild and you will not break a sweat. The movements of Tai Chi are so gentle that you will feel invigorated after doing class rather than exhausted.
When I teach I like to start off with the lower body first, then work my way up all the way until I reach The neck area. Start with rotating the ankles in a circular manner. Make sure to rotate in both directions. Second work on rotating the knees, then the hips. When you get to the torso are swing your upper body around until you warm up your back and core. Slowly work your way up circling all of the joints. There is no need to rush here. Take your time and feel yourself loosening up.
Part 2 Of Class (Balance)
Balance is extremely important to having "good" Tai chi. A simple way to work on your balance is to count backwards from 50 while standing on only one foot. As you work on developing your balance you will find that, at first, you will be very tense trying to hold this position.
Remind yourself to relax. I usually shake out my arms in a wiggling motion to get myself to relax my body.
As you start to get better at holding your balance, try to challenge yourself by bringing your free leg up to touch your knee to your chest, all while relaxing and holding your balance on 1 leg.
Weight Shifting Is Key
When stepping from one posture to another, you are forced to momentarily balance on one foot. This is performed repeatedly within the form and gives you a great increase in your ability to balance. One of your greatest chances you have of PREVENTING injury, especially at an older age, is to work on your balance. The fear of falling can sometimes preclude you from doing the things you want to do.
Tai Chi also has many movement or techniques in which you shift your body weight from one foot to the other while in stance. This weight shifting practice is the key to why Tai Chi is so good for your sense of balance. Your typical day is filled with tests of your balance and agility, For example a simple task such as carrying groceries to the car requires much balance and ability to shift ones weight. You are usually not aware of how much balance you need on a daily basis until you lose some of that ability.
Part 3 Of Class (The Form And Push Hands
This is also where we start working on the form. Routines are often called forms. Memorizing the forms is the first step toward being in the moment and using Tai Chi as a means of increasing mental concentration. I will teach you a short series of movements which you can then practice at home. When performed at a slow speed this form takes approximately 5 to 6 minutes to complete.
The Set is actually comprised of fighting movement that can actually be applied in a self defense situation. The movements are designed to flow into one another to create a beautiful, elegant and graceful routine.The concentration and focus required when practicing the Tai Chi forms is what forces you to live within the moment and put aside the stresses of your modern day lifestyle.
You will then finish up with push hands. Push hands, also called "Tui Shou" is the pinnacle of Tai Chi training. It is a two person drill, in which the practitioners alternate between trying to push each other off balance and defending against being pushed off balance. This drill require ZERO power and is meant to help develop a feel for finding your "root". Try imaging roots growing out of the bottom of your feet like the roots of tree.
This will ground and center you. making it extremely hard for the other person to throw you off balance. React to the opponents movements by redirecting their force and using it to your advantage. When you practice this type of circular hand exercise, you become hyper-aware of both your own center of gravity and sense of balance as well as your partner’s center of gravity. This is the first step toward TRULY understanding the authentic art of Tai Chi.
We've tried to answer any questions you might have but if we've missed something you can always call us at 702-336-1095.
Answer: Tai Chi is an art that came from China. Tai chi means "Grand Ultimate Fist". Tai Chi doesn't use resistance or force. Instead, it is based on softness and awareness, and it's a form of self defense. Regular practice of Tai Chi can be many things to many people. For many centuries, Tai Chi has been know to be the most effective exercise for harmony between the body and mind.
Answer: Tai chi is mostly taught as a "form". A sequence of movements that flows from one posture to another. In class, students are taught as a group. The instructor would breakdown the details and give corrections when needed. Tai chi is learned by practicing the movements weekly in class and at home.
Answer: Our Tai Chi classes are held on Mondays & Thursdays 7:00pm - 8:30pm
Answer: We are currently learning Cheng Man Ching Yang Short Form 37
Here’s what people are saying about our school.
Enrolling in the Tai Chi classes at the Las Vegas Kung Fu Academy has been nothing but a great experience.
When I first joined, I was really nervous about starting. I was afraid that I'd slow down the class.
However, Instructor Kevin and Instructor Renee welcomed me with warmth and enthusiasm. They are so patient with their students.
The instructors and students are always willing to help. I am no longer nervous or worried about class.
His teaching skills of Instructor Kevin and Renee are top-notch. I am very grateful for finding this school.
I am very happy that I gave Tai Chi a try. It is a wonderful experience and I am always look forward to my next class
I heard of Tai Chi and I decided to give it a try. I wanted to find an activity where I could work on my balance, leg strength, and flexibility. The exercises and drills that we do in class are very useful.
We are always working on our flexibility, deep breathing, coordination, and balance skills. I am feeling better about myself, and my flexibility, balance, and leg strength has improved.I also enjoy the format of class. We would start with a warm-up that may consist of basic stretches or exercises. After our warm-ups, we move onto learning our form and push hands part of our class.
Thank you Instructor Kevin & Instructor Renee for all you do.