Chen style Tai Chi and Qi Gong taught in a traditional manner
- Peaceful movement bringing inner strength
- Great for fitness
- All welcome regardless of age or fitness
- No previous experience necessary
Tai Chi Classes: 2017
Every Friday at 11am
Last class December 22nd 2017.
Please plan to arrive about 5 to 10 minutes before the class and wear loose comfortable clothing with flat shoes or bare feet. All ages and abilities welcome.
Private lessons are available for one on one or group bookings either at the Hope Centre or any suitable location.
Why not join us and experience for yourself the benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gung, the 8 step form is excellent for beginners as it is quite easy to remember but will also challenge experienced practitioners as it contains many movements that have deeper qualities.
Cost £5 per person
Here are my answers to some frequent Tai Chi and Qi Gong questions if you would like any more information please contact me
What you will learn
Each session will begin with a traditional warm up, joint loosening Qi Gong, allowing the body to start to release any tension it has built up during the day and to allow the bodies energies to start to move. We then move onto Qi Gong to strengthen the internal energies and finally we practice the 8 step Tai Chi form.
Tai Chi – Ba Jia (8 Step) Form and Chen 18 Step Form – practice serves to bring balance and harmony to the practitioner. The beautiful circles and graceful moves serve to provide a powerful self-healing and fitness system that does not overstress the joints.
Tai Chi is one of the 5 healing arts of Traditional Chinese medicine along with Qi Gong, Acupuncture, Herbs and Tui Na (acupressure) massage.
Qi Gong is an internal system of breathing and cultivating Qi, which translates loosely as energy, it can involve movements or be stationary and is complementary to Tai Chi. Qi Gong has been practiced in China for over 5000 years and provided the basis for most of the healing arts throughout China.
What is Qi gong
Qi Gong is a generic term for Qi cultivation that can be broken down into two main areas of External or Wei Qi and Internal or Nei Qi sometimes know as Nei Gong. These exercises are direct evolutions of the esoteric Qi Gong exercises practiced in China some 3000 years ago.
In modern times Qi Gong is used primarily as a way of health maintenance and by some practitioners as a healing art.
Baduanjin Qi Gong (Eight Treasures) is one of the most common forms of Chinese Qi Gong used as exercise Variously translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade, Eight-Section Brocade, Eight Silken Movements and others, the name of the form generally refers to how the eight individual movements of the form characterize and impart a silken quality (like that of a piece of brocade) to the body and its energy. Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong to aid health maintenance and well-being rather than a religious or martial forms of Qi Gong.
This exercise is mentioned in several encyclopaedias originating from the Song Dynasty. The Pivot of the Way (Dao Shi, c. 1150) describes an archaic form of this Qi Gong, the Ten Compilations on Cultivating Perfection (Xiuzhen shi-shu, c. 1300) features illustrations of all eight movements. The same work assigns the creation of this exercise to two of the Eight immortals, namely Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin.
The exercise was later expanded from eight to twelve movements over the centuries and was described in the boxing manual Illustrated Exposition of Internal Techniques (1882) by Wang Zuyuan, a famed practitioner of the Sinew Changing Classic set.
Nineteenth century sources attribute the style to semi-legendary Chinese folk hero General Yue Fei, and describe it as being created as a form of exercise for his soldiers. The legend states he taught the exercise to his men to help keep their bodies strong and well-prepared for battle. Prof. Meir Shahar notes Yue’s mention as a lineage master in the second preface of the Sinew Changing Classic manual (1624) is the reason why he was attributed as the creator of Baduanjin qigong.
Baduanjin – 8 Treasures Qi Gong
Baduanjin has many forms, it is said that every village in China has its own unique variation on Baduanjin, but most of them follow a common set of exercises:
- Two Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)
This move is said to stimulate the “Triple Warmer” meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the centre of the body.
- Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk (or Vulture)
While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.
- Separate Heaven and Earth
This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.
- Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion. (I do not use this movement and replace it with Twisting at Waist with lift see Alternatives below
- Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart fire in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.
- Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily) – Also called Fist Covering Heart and you honestly don’t get angry 🙂
This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This, which is the most external of the pieces, is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength. This is a bit of a poor translation and the Glare Fiercely should be Look with Intent. The gaze to the fist is to bring Qi to the extremities filling both the Yin Meridians of the arm (Lung, Heart and Pericardium) and the Yang Meridians (Large Intestine, SanJiao and Small Intestine), allowing these Meridians to balance and harmonise.
- Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes. I personally use and teach a variant of this exercise that emphasises the drawing of Earth Yin and Heaven Yang to the Mingmen. (I do not use this movement and replace it with Gathering Earth and Heaven see Alternatives below)
- Bouncing on the Toes
This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing whilst holding soft writs to the lumbar area and allowing the back of the hands to slap gently at the lumbar and sacrum. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to “smooth out” the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.
There are some variations that can be used depending on the practitioners level of health and mobility
- Twisting at Waist with lift
This movement resembles twisting at the waist and lifting a ball from stomach to chest. The twist is achieved by sinking into the floor with alternate feet and thus turning the body much more than is possible with just the waist. This movement opens and regulates the Ren Mai and Du Mai channels.
- Gathering Earth and Heaven
Starting with feet at shoulders width lift the arms behind the body (as much as you can) to above the head, then bending at the knees with straight back (again as much as is possible) descend to the earth keeping the feet flat. Pushing from the heels lift the body back to standing and draw the hands to chest then exhale to standing.
As with all exercise it is better to come to a class, see the movement and get some instruction rather than just reading it. There is the possibility that you may injure yourself doing these exercises so always work within your physical limits and seek medical advice before starting any exercise regimen (all salute health and safety).
What is Qi?
What is Qi (chi or ch’i)? The word Qi is one of the most misunderstood words in the Chinese language because it encompasses such a broad and commonly (in China) accepted phenomenon. In the west we tend to think of Qi as some form of life force or energy, which it is, but it also describes states of being such as intent.
For instance a rock has Qi, it exists in the material world so it must have Qi, it is held together by Qi, but it also behaves like a rock, so its Qi is that of a rock rather than that of a bird or table. It cannot be a bird or a table because its Qi is that of a rock. However it is also wholly Yin in nature as it is of the Earth.
So you see the idea of Qi is not just of energy but also of intent and existence and we are all filled with Qi of different kinds all working together to give us our life, ambitions, fears, joys etc.
The idea of Qi can be found in many cultures such as Prana, Mana, Lüng or Vital energy and it generally speaks of some esoteric form of energy or power. The Chinese have been the most successful at harnessing this energy for healing are martial arts practice, and it is said that the greatest martial arts practitioners are healers first.
The etymology of Qi ? is of steam rising from rice as it cooks and this is possible why there is a saying in Qi Gong practice that Qi is life and so the breath is life. Qi Gong (literally translated as Qi done with excellence or spirit) is a system of exercises which have been used for centuries to cure disease and maintain health use movement combined with breath techniques to maintain or restore balance to the Qi system. For more information on Qi Gong practice please see here.
Qi is the material basis for maintaining the activities of human life. Qi in the body is a minute substance invisible to the naked eye. This minute substance possesses the characteristics of constant change and motion. Like irrigation by a mist or dew, qi passes through the body to perform the numerous physiological functions of steaming the skin, filling the body, and moistening the hair. Ancient people referred to this process of motion and transformation as qi hua or qi transformation. It is due to the constant, unceasing function of qi transformation in the body that such matters as qi, essence, blood, fluids, and humors in the organism are normally produced, transformed, utilized, and discharged so as to meet the needs for the activities of one’s life.
Bob Flaws, Aging and Blood Stasis: New TCM Approach to Geriatrics
Why not join us and experience for yourself the benefits of Tai Chi and Qi Gong or for more information please contact the Manchester centre.
Telephone: 0161 973 9130
Tai Chi Timetable
Friday’s at 11am:
First Class January 13th 2017
Last class December 22nd 2017