If you're going to invest your time into the study of something as profound as Taijiquan, then you need to make sure what your learning has depth, otherwise you'll reach a ceiling very quickly. The class is not just another "relaxing Taiji class', it's hard work and challenging, but also fun. It has a real friendly atmosphere and is made up of beginners and intermediate students, so you'll be more than welcome.
You can just turn up on the day and pay as you train, I'd rather keep it flexible for students rather than a monthly payment up front. Training lasts for two hours and the tuition fee is £8.
If you're thinking about coming along one night, ideally, drop me a line on the contact page to let me know in advance or come along a little earlier so we can have a quick chat first.
A typical class lesson starts with warming up and stretching exercises, sometimes I may do some conditioning exercises, but you will obviously only do what you can at first until you 'climatise', and obviously if you have injuries or other challenges, don't worry just work with what you have. 'Tai Chi' classes have a reputation for being soft and gentle with no demanding exercises, but this is only partly true, we need to condition the physical body first as it needs to be in a good shape before we start to work with the much subtler energy body, we can't neglect the physical it's our vehicle for life. Core strength exercises are vital to this aim, if you're fairly fit and able why should you not strive to achieve this, I believe we should maintain a balance between more challenging 'Yang' exercises with softer 'Yin'.
The first hour is mostly Nei Gong work, we may for example start with the standard Wuji standing posture followed by relaxing through Sung breathing and aligning the body correctly. Bad posture compresses the joints and closes the energy gates, combine this with mental tension or stress and the Qi (life force) will not flow as it should, causing stagnation which can lead to physical illness over time.
Then we will study something from the syllabus, such as Qigong or Daoyins tailoring the exercises to the level of the student. When I feel everyone has understood that particular exercise I will introduce something else in the coming week, then over the months we will revisit that particular exercise.
Sometimes I will use a white board in order to explain the theory of that exercise, it's important to study the theory of the art as well as the practice, I've witnessed students start by just 'dipping their toe in' then over time becoming fascinated by the Daoist arts (On the news page is a list of recommend reading).
Nei Gong can carry a very slight risk to some people due to the energetic changes that take place and so to be over cautious I don't teach the following people.
1. Under 18 years of age: There's a lot of emotional development going on during childhood and teenage years and we don't want to cause the natural development to be hindered in any way.
2. Pregnant women. Again there is a great deal of change going on in a women's body and we don't want to alter any natural development taking place at this time.
3. A history of serious mental illness: Working with the mind in Neigong may have a detrimental effect on someone who has any serious mental illness.
The second hour is dedicated to Taijiquan. As we always practise the forms, the class is divided up depending on what stage students are in the sequence then I will come around to check and add another posture, usually we'll start and finish the class with me leading the whole form and everyone has a go.
On other occassions we will do partner work and at other times Ji Ben Gong, or fundamental exercises which are constantly repeated to gain insight into that movement and allow us to put the principles into everything we do in Taijiquan. If the Taijiquan form is a car the principles are the engine, without which it is not a car, so no matter what style you practice it should have internal mechanics or principles within it.
Below is the current Cardiff Syllabus.
TAO LU (forms)
Yang style Taijiquan 37
Yang style Taijiquan 85
QI GONG & DAO YINS
Ji Ben Qi Gong (Fundamental Qi Gong)
Wu Dao Yin (Five leading and Guiding exercises)
Hunyuan Qi Gong (Mixed Circle Qi Gong)
Wu Xing Qi Gong (Five Element Qi Gong)
Dragon Dao Yin ((Four exercises working with the spine)
Toui Shou (Pushing Hands)
Da Lu and Yin Yang Hands
Rou Shou (Soft Hands)
Combination flow drills
Quan Fa (Martial methods of Taiji Quan)
Chan Si Jing (Silk Reeling)
Fa Li Jin (Manifesting power)
Nei Dan (Meditation)
Stretching and conditioning exercises
Zhan Zhuang (Standing Postures)
Sung Tu Na (Breathing exercises)
7.00 - 9.00pm
Oasis Hall, Splott Road, Cardiff (used to be Methodist hall)
Entrance on Habershon street, via middle side door or front door in Splott Road if open. (Please knock loudly)
Main image; practising a Taijiquan flow drill. Top left & right; Practising the form in class. Bottom left; Standing in Wuji. Bottom right; Practising the form.