Tai chi or taiji chuan is a form of mind-body "soft style" martial arts originating in China. Sometimes referred to as "meditation in motion", it has developed from self-defense to graceful forms of exercise using flowing movements. It primarily involves three aspects- Martial Arts, Meditation and Health. It is practiced for a variety of reasons, most commonly as a stress reducer and for it's health benefits. Tai chi promotes serenity and clarity and brings about a calmness of mind. It is also known to reduce anxiety and depression. Recent scientific studies have also suggested that tai chi offers numerous health benefits, improved sleep quality, lowered blood pressure, improved cardiovascular fitness, relief of chronic pain, improved internal circulation, and overall feelings of well being. It is also associated with improved muscle strength, coordination and flexibility, pain and stiffness relief, improved balance and increased energy, agility and endurance.
Tai chi also incorporates yin and yang- the Chinese concept of opposing forces within the body, and qi (chi) - life force or vital energy. Practicing tai chi aids the flow of qi (chi) with it's healthy balance of yin and yang. Because it requires concentration, tai chi forces the individual to put aside distressing thoughts, instead focusing on the present. Used as a meditation, tai chi harmonizes both body & mind.
At Full Circle Tai Chi we only teach the original Yang Style Long Form Tai Chi (108 postures). The long form is broken down into 6 sections allowing the students to progress at their own pace. There are many deviations of this form but we believe it was mean't to be taught in it's original form in order to get the most benefits possible.
Qigong (chi-gong) is an ancient Chinese energy practice. Qi (chi) means energy while "gong" represents the effort placed into Qi (chi) practice as well as the power to heal through such practice. Qigong is based on the concept of "chi", the energy which flows through the body. Qigong is a self healing practice that can lead to the connection of mind, body and spirit. Images and symbols may be mentally used to assist with the healing. The Chinese believe that we all have the ability to access our own naturally occurring self-healing capacity. To put it is easier terms "healthy mind, healthy body".
At Full Circle Tai Chi we will be teaching three different Qigong forms. We teach the Ancient Eight pieces of Brocade (Baduanjin), Tai Chi Qigong as well as Medical Qigong. Each one of these forms has a specific healing quality which we will discuss in class.
Once a student meets certain criteria we will start to introduce some of the other deeper practices of tai chi such as:
Pushing hands (tuishou)- works to undo a persons natural instinct to resist force with force, teaching the body to yield to force and redirect it. Push hands also helps a student develop "jing" (listening power), the sensitivity to feel the direction and strength of a partners intention.
Tai Chi straight sword (juan)- with the straight sword the student learns how to extend their energy into and through their sword while working through the form.
San da (self defense)- if a student is advanced and wants to learn how the Tai Chi form actually breaks down into a martial art they would enter this class. To get into this class a person usually has to have been training for 2-3 years and enter based on the teachers recommendation.