Taijiquan, or Tai Chi, is an ancient Chinese martial art, usually practiced for health rather than self defence in the west. The Chen style is the original and oldest form of taijiquan. It’s a unique, fascinating, challenging and rewarding way of moving, practiced very slowly so that the correct posture and the optimum way of moving from shape to shape can be instilled habitually into the body through many repetitions, bringing about enhanced relaxation, awareness and physical effectiveness.
To most people the movements of the solo routines are what spring to mind when Tai Chi is mentioned but it would be more accurate to say that Tai Chi is the inner processes that drive the movements. We learn to achieve these correct inner movements through individual silk reeling exercises (see video on classes page) and Zhan Zhuang (standing like a post), where we can take time to relax into a stable yet responsive posture. We can then transfer these improvements into our solo routines.
Tai Chi is justly famous for improving health, strength and well being. The same processes and principles that make it an effective self defence system - sinking, grounding, staying relaxed and centred, moving the energy throughout the whole frame - are also the elements that heal and empower our bodies and minds. Partner exercises known as Peng testing (finding and maintaining one’s root and centre) and Tui Shou or pushing hands (a short two-person routine) are also explored to improve awareness of our own energy and the energy of others.
Tai Chi can be a friend for life! You can begin practice at any age and progress at your own rate. Whether you attend a beginners or a mixed ability class you will find yourself practicing the same things. So you needn’t miss a session if work or domestic demands pop up. We promise to be friendly, make you feel welcome and look after you in the class. You will see people working hard but you will also hear a lot of laughter. We do our best to combine an exceptionally high level of teaching with an equally high level of compassion, sincerity and humanity. We want our love of Tai Chi and our enthusiasm for our practice to rub off on you so you too can reap its many benefits.