Starting well with tai chi!

posted in: Tai chi theory, Taichi | 2

I wanted to talk a little about what to expect when you first attend our Tai Chi classes. When you first come to the class you will be introduced to our warm up which we practice as a group. We then usually go over the first 17 moves of the tai chi set which form your foundations and is also referred to as the 1st third. It also gives you a more global view of what we do and allows you to play around with the moves.Because the class is a multi level class we then split into groups and I spend a while with each group level to introduce moves, to break them down and to spend time refining them. During your first class we will probably only break down 2 or 3 moves, which you then will have to retain and refine. Towards the end of class we usually bring things back together and practice either a full set or the first 17 moves again depending on how much time we have. At the end of the Wednesday class we usually also do a cool down.

Tai Chi takes a while to learn and it is good to remember that it is referred to as meditation in motion. When you practice your new moves it is good to get into a meditative state or to just ‘chill out’. I see beginners sometimes getting impatient and thinking they can handle a lot more than they are given. Bear in mind that some of the practitioners in the class have been attending for 1 or 2 years and therefore they will have more moves to practice. Remember also that we shouldn’t rush and hurry through the first moves. The first few moves that we learn are not just about moving our body in a certain way, they are also about getting into a certain frame of mind, one of awareness and openness.

Awareness about what we are actually doing, about how we feel the moves inside our bodies, about what it is that we are trying to achieve.

Openness towards what you are learning. Things may feel completely alien at first, however if we keep an open mind then we can get to the core of the practice.

It is also pointless to introduce and breakdown 10 new moves during your first class as little will be retained and practised. Tai Chi is learnt slowly and through lots of repetition, amongst other things it teaches us patience and resilience!

Tai Chi is part of Kung Fu, and is developed through hard and repetitive work. It is expected that newcomers should commit to tai chi for a while as it does take a few weeks for students to develop a feel for their practice and also to start gaining the benefits.

Tai Chi is definitely not about ego, it is not about being able to perform some cool moves, or about competition. I respect each and every practitioner for who they are and try to work at their own pace. Tai Chi is about a personal journey of developing and maintaining our own personal energetic, physical, mental and emotional equilibrium. For some it also becomes part of a spiritual journey.

Tai Chi is non religious, it is open to all. When you come to the class you will be treated with respect, understanding and non judgement and I hope you can approach your class in the same way.

I hope you will enjoy your classes, and that you know that I am always there to answer your burning questions or to demonstrate a move again and again. That is all part of the fun! 🌟

2 Responses

  1. JPK

    Trying to compare, as a beginner, different brands of Tai Chi in order to choose what one believe is the best, is like jumping from spoke to spoke on a wheel.
    That will always leave you in the end stranded at the periphery, unsatisfied and looking endlessly after a better teaching.
    Choosing one path and progressing with patience and commitment into it will lead you in the end near to the centre of the wheel where all paths converge.
    You want the perfect master? He/she may need the perfect student, are you?