Personally, I know why tai chi is so beneficial to people and why I enjoy tai chi so much. That is one of the reasons why I started this blog. However I was curious to know how other people felt about tai chi and the classes we hold here at the studio.
Recently, I sent out a survey to everyone to find out what classes are preferred and what people would like to see happen here at Ji Hong Tai Chi Mississauga specifically. So, it was interesting for me to understand what people enjoy most about tai chi and I thought you might be interested as well.
I am very self-conscious and I am mindful that I require a lot of time to fully grasp the flow. I focus on my hand or leg and sometimes forget the other physical components to the moves. I feel that I can learn at my level and not feel singled out because of awkwardness with some of the stances. This has really helped me to be enthusiastic about learning.
Donna M. [Oakville]
The Learning Experience by Tai Chi Class
There was not just one overwhelming favourite class amongst everyone. Instead, each person had reasons for enjoying specific classes and for varying reasons, people enjoy different types of tai chi classes too. If you have been eyeing any of the classes and want some insights into what you will learn in these classes, these insights may offer what you need to choose additional tai chi learning experiences.
Tai Chi Basics
Everyone starts with tai chi basics first. Starting here helps people learn the basic movements, a handful of core vocabulary terms and some basic understanding of the significance of these terms and how they influence posture, balance and biomechanics. After this class, each person has the basics to start their own personal training, journey or path. Glad to hear that people do find they have the basics after this class.
Yang Style Tai Chi
This is the most popular form of tai chi. Whenever a video clip or photo of tai chi is shown, it is typically of people practicing the Yang style of tai chi. Between Yang and Chen styles, Yang is the more graceful looking form, with a range of lengthening and flowing movements. People found that they learned to relax, improve their posture, improve their balance when moving and they were able to de-stress and focus which brought them to a better state of mind.
Those who gravitate towards Yang tend to look for health benefits, a focus on artistic expression and enjoy activities that most resemble dancing.
Chen Style Tai Chi
Chen style is the original tai chi form. It is a more physically demanding form of tai chi designed more for the martial artist within. People who enjoy these classes along with the advanced Cannon Fist indicated that the physical nature of this form was one of the aspects they enjoyed. Chen style tai chi can help improve their overall coordination and condition. They also learn to access and project their inner strength while remaining relaxed and performing soft movements. During Chen style classes, very often the instruction includes showing how the moves are applied from a martial arts perspective.
While all forms of tai chi can eventually lead to martial arts, people who gravitate to the Chen style tend to be physically prepared for more demanding movements with a wider range of speed, more demanding coordination and flexibility as well as explosive movements of internal energy.
This is an advanced course but we encourage everyone who has a curiosity or passion to join the course. It is a lot of fun and it is intended to enhance your sense of using your new found skills. These two quotes say it best:
With weapons, it really makes you more internally aware of your movements and surroundings with the weapon you are holding whether it be sword, sabre or spear. It eventually becomes an extension of your body and you begin to understand the dynamics of what each weapon brings.
– Oleh [Etobicoke]
I learn how to use the spear with the muscles I have not used before. And learning my focus needs more focus, otherwise; the spear will whack on the head or my leg.
– Aree [St. Catherines]
Weapons is not only fun to do but no matter your level of coordination and balance, it will test and challenge both of these skills. When returning to practice Chen style or Yang style, people experience balance, biomechanics and postures with a new found heightened awareness of each. You become more finely attuned to all aspects of movement.
Push hands tests your ability to use your learned movements when there is another person using their weight to tip you off your balance. An even greater understanding of how your body maintains its balance throughout the entire movement and at all moments is tested.
The most interesting part is feel Taiji ‘Jin’, and trying to do it in a right way.
– Kevin [Mississauga]
It is also not easy to knock someone else over without extending beyond our own centre of gravity. When you first start, it is easy to lose balance. Over time, as you become more experienced, it is a game of patience and continually moving with complete centredness and balance in order not to allow your opponent any opportunities to find your mistakes. It takes patience and great awareness of our bodies to know our own balance and whether your opponent is centred and balanced or off-centre and unbalanced.
Qi Gong Health & Vitality
People have found Qi Gong to be very relaxing. It is becoming quite a popular course for relaxation and health benefits. Qi Gong works on the meridians of our bodies as understood in Traditional Chinese Meridians to help our bodies remain healthy and stress free.
Some students are asking for more meditative variations of Qi Gong….
Tai Chi Fitness
Various movements are practiced during the fitness class. People find it an extra cardio boost to their weekly workout by adding a couple of classes per week to their regular class. If you are looking to accomplish a movement which has so far been elusive, this class is ideal for helping to practice specific movements repeatedly.
Our Teaching Methods and Instructors
One of the core philosophies of our tai chi studio is to encourage each person’s passion for tai chi and encouraging natural teaching skills amongst our senior members to carry on the tradition. Our dedication to teaching tai chi has always been twofold with as much emphasis on teaching as well as knowing tai chi.
Here’s what people told us about our teaching methods:
I have taken other martial arts before, but I think May is the best instructor I’ve ever had. She’s very patient and I like the way how not only does she show us the techniques but also the theory and reason why a move is done in a certain way.
– Enrique [Mississauga]
May is awesome. A keen observer of how the students are moving and making helpful suggestions for improvements adapted to each students current skill level.
– P Morenz [Etobicoke]
May – patience, humour, very nice and understanding to everyone, excellent teaching skills.
– Bozena B. [Mississauga]
May is very patient and excellent teach. She knows enough to correct movements but understand it won’t be perfect in the beginning.
– David C. [Mississauga]
I am really happy to see that our focus on the teaching of tai chi as much as the tai chi itself makes your experience worthwhile. Your positive reviews are much appreciated.
Insights and Observations about Tai Chi
Let me share some of my thoughts about tai chi. Hopefully, these insights will help you find the right class and offerings that will make your tai chi experience fun and personally rewarding.
Tai Chi for Health
There are many added benefits of learning tai chi. Many people come for specific objectives and then realize they are getting much more than expected. Most people start tai chi for its many health benefits, then continue practicing because after becoming and staying healthier, they discover other challenges. Many become engaged in exploring the heights of personal accomplishments and physical competencies over their own bodies which is possible within the art of tai chi.
Tai Chi as an Art
If you enjoy expressing yourself through art, then tai chi is perfect as a means to discover yourself and express yourself through movement. The awareness and integration of mind and body, the expression of character and personality through tai chi movement can be very fulfilling.
The forms when executed well are beautiful to watch and also to experience. You can start tai chi at any age and still be able to excel in it. Many other sports, dance or physical activities require starting at a young age to do well. Tai chi is different. You can start at any age and you have a sense of accomplishment even if you start learning tai chi late in life.
Tai Chi to Enhance Athletic Performance
Tai Chi is an excellent complement to other sports, exercise or martial arts. The core principles of posture, balance, relaxation and elasticity in tai chi can enhance your performance in other physical endeavours and activities. We have received a lot of positive feedback from those engaged in other sports like: golf, skating, running, walking, karate, rowing, tennis, etc.
Do not be fooled by the slow pace. After several months of practice, our tai chi members become stronger and more fit than they would have ever imagined regardless of their initial fitness level on the first day of classes.
Tai Chi as a Martial Art without the Aggression
People can start tai chi at any age because there are few physical limitations. Especially, if you were interested in martial arts as a younger person but never had an opportunity, tai chi is a chance to learn a powerful martial art which is practiced at all ages.
You can build up from a minimum of physical fitness. And, you do not need aggression or to crush your knuckles regularly to become a martial artist.
In tai chi, aggression is replaced by calmness and mental focus. External physical strength is replaced by inner core strength through postural alignment and balance. Brute force is replaced by sensitivity and elasticity. The skills that make for a good Tai Chi martial artist are the same qualities which we continue to develop as we mature. The potential in each of us is limitless.
Tai Chi is an Experience
The depth of the art is immense. We can learn for a lifetime and still continue to discover new and wonderful nuances of the art. All one has to do is just start. Join us today.