T'ai Chi Ch'uan (taijiquan) is a traditional Chinese martial art developed hundreds of years ago as a highly efficient means of self defense. With its focus on yielding and softness, re-direction of incoming force, and subtlety of application it remains unparalleled. It’s usefulness and subtle power remain hidden, “... like a needle in cotton.” However, many people today practice taiji for its health benefits alone. The ancients noticed that practicing taiji increased strength and power, improved balance, coordination, and flexibility, improved health, and generated greater confidence. Modern clinical studies have proven taiji to be the single most effective form of exercise for balance and fall prevention. Studies have also shown that practicing taiji helps reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and improve bone density, while promoting overall good health, better healing, and a relaxed mental outlook. Taiji practice can also minimize the effects of many chronic and trauma induced conditions, while improving breathing capacity and boosting the immune system. As a practice for health, taiji can be used in combination with a wide range of other treatment modalities and therapies.
Our classes utilize a traditional approach that incorporates elements from related disciplines to emphasize the mind/body connection and the meditative and health aspects of taiji along with martial applications. Our focus goes beyond simply learning a sequential set of movements. We believe that whether your goals are health or self-defense related, a basic understanding of the applications hidden within the movements is the key to being able to effectively use your intention to direct the body’s qi/energy flow and obtain the maximum benefit from playing taiji. We emphasize fluidity and control, making this practice the perfect way to balance the mind and body in a relaxed and effective form of exercise. The balance of emphasis between applications and health-oriented practice is left to each individual to establish for her/himself.
The taijiquan curriculum offers ongoing learning opportunities. In addition to learning several forms, students may graduate from the solo open hand (or empty) set to practice two-person exercises such as Push Hands (tui shou) or Feather Boxing, and Weapons such as taiji knife, or saber, (dao) and taiji straight sword (jian).