T'ai Chi Ch'uan (often abbreviated to T'ai Chi) literally means supreme ultimate fist or boxing. It is not only a very powerful Chinese martial art, but is also a very effective exercise routine for promoting good health and fitness.
You do not have to be young or superfit to start practising this art, nor do you need to wear designer clothes. Loose clothing like jogging bottoms and a t-shirt along with flat-soled lightweight footwear is all that is required.
The T'ai Chi Ch'uan form is a sequence of movements performed in a slow controlled manner, which eventually instills a feeling of calmness.
Indeed, Taiji has been described as a moving meditation.
However, you will discover as you progress, that it is very much more than this.
Which Style Will I Learn?
There are different styles of T'ai Chi, amongst which are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wuu, Sun and Li. Even within these main divisions, there are derived styles and variations. Some forms concentrate on the martial aspects of the art, whilst others concentrate solely on promoting good health. Others, however, take the mid line and work on both aspects. It is these forms which are probably the most beneficial and complete styles. With East Winds you will learn Traditional Yang Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan, which follows the mid line approach.
How Long Will It Take to Learn?
The study of T'ai Chi can take a lifetime and you will probably still never reach perfection! Master Christopher Pei has said that if we had 100 years to study T'ai Chi, we would spend one year learning the form (the sequence of movements) and then spend 99 years refining it! The important thing to remember about learning T'ai Chi is, the more effort you put in, the more benefit you will take out. In the beginning everything will seem strange and new, but like any activity, it becomes easier to understand as you progress. Remember - you are doing T'ai Chi for yourself and are not competing against anyone else, therefore you can be as good as you want to be.
T'ai Chi for Arthritis
Alistair went to Oxford to work with Dr. Paul Lam, the Australian T’ai Chi Master who has developed a T’ai Chi for Arthritis programme based on Sun style T’ai Chi. The T’ai Chi form he has developed in association with the Arthritis Foundation of Australia and the American Council on Exercise can be learned with East Winds.
Dr. Lam, a medical practitioner who has himself suffered from Arthritis from an early age, points out that 1 in 7 people develop Arthritis and 85% of these explore alternative therapies. Since Alistair went to Oxford, several other East Winds Instructors have been accredited by Dr. Lam to teach his T’ai Chi for Arthritis programme and this system is taught in separate classes which you will find listed under the “Classes” section.
More information about Dr. Lam’s programme can be found via our “Links” page.