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Tai Chi Kung forms for health and well-being

What tends to be referred to as Tai Chi is fundamentally a martial art (Taijiquan) although many teachers (like Tony) tend to emphasise its health dimension. Although Tony specialises wholly on the forms he does sometimes demonstrate the martial application  of the postures (in the Tai Chi Form Classes) when teaching a form in order to help develop better movement and energy balance.

Tony also teaches these practises thoroughly focusing on correct posture, alignment and most importantly breathing. These practises are often  just put over as external exercises without paying attention to their internal dimensions which are what marks them off as unique practises having a effect harmonising mind, body and spirit.

The National Standard Tai Chi forms which Tony teaches are based on those as taught by Professor Li Deyin (See Links).

Chi Kung/Qigong (Energy Cultivation/Exercise) is a much older form of health exercise which dates back to the very early Shamans of China who found that copying certain aspects of animal movements had significant health benefits. This eventually evolved into what we now know as Traditional Chinese Medecine, with its many other therapeutic strands and will also have influenced the development of other Chinese Martial Arts such as Taijiquan. Qigong uses movement and sometimes other techniques such as visualisation and sound in order to energise, move and balance energy (Chi) within the body’s gross and subtle energy systems. Qigong, like Tai Chi, has a wide range of direct physical benefits, the range of which depends on the particular sets or forms being practised.

Tony teaches a wide variety of simple Qigong forms in his weekly classes.

In their more modern and simplified forms Tai Chi and Chi Kung are compatible and relatively easy to learn and perform.

They both help to harmonise body, mind and spirit and develop co-ordination, breathing and balance at many levels. They have been shown to be helpful in wide range of conditions/problems notably stress, diabetes, balancing blood pressure, falls in the elderly as well as improving cognition and memory. Buddhist Qigong (See Buddho) also has a wide range of health benefits often having a much stronger effect as well as deepening one’s psychospiritual development.

Tony teaches simple forms on a weekly basis (See Courses/Workshops Section). He runs two levels of practise: The  Tai Chi Kung sessions (Thurs) are relatively physically undemanding, and based on simple Chi Kung forms, basic meditation/visualisation and mainly work with a few selected individual simple Tai Chi Postures during the second shorter part of each session. This level of practise will be particularly appropriate for those who require more of an internal energy practise as well as being a little more meditative than the Tai Chi sessions described in the next paragraph. The internal aspects taught will help deepen the practise of those who attend the Tai Chi sessions on Tuesdays.

The Tai Chi Forms session on Tuesdays will be mainly based on Tai Chi forms or sets. These  practises are more physically demanding, and involve a variety of short and long Yang forms as developed and taught by Professor Li Deyin. This session will be appropriate for those who want a little more of a physical workout as well as having some energy (Chi/Qi) benefits. These sessions also require fairly regular and consistent attendance in order to learn the forms which are built up over time more than the Tai Chi Kung sessions. Complete Tai Chi forms (even the simple ones) are more complex than simple Chi Kung forms (partly because of the complexity/variety of the stances/floor patterns used) and take much more time to build up over a longer period. 

In the Tai Chi Kung sessions the emphasis is slightly more on Health and in the Tai Chi Forms class the emphasis is slightly more towards Fitness. For a more comprehensive and  holistic practise both classes are recommended and will only cost £6 in total (both in the same week) for a total 2hours practise.

PS Please note that, although a few of the Chi Kung forms have a slightly aerobic quality, one should  supplement these kinds of practises with other exercises having stronger aerobic features for a fully comprehensive fitness regime.

Tony also arranges weekend workshops for those wishing to learn Tai Chi Sword.

For those who wish to practise more in depth Chi Kung see section on Buddho EnerSense which is basically a  Buddhist Chi Kung/Yogic system with an emphasis on Spiritual/Transpersonal development as well as healing. An introduction to this approach is given in the Tai Chi Kung classes at the end of the first year.

He also offers individual teaching by arrangement (See Contact Us section).

PS Unlike most physical exercises, for these kinds of practises to have optimal effect, over and above other types of health activities, they have to be practised, regularly and ideally everyday, very much like antibiotics have to be taken regularly to maintain therapeutic levels in the body. Working with Qi is very different to working with the gross physical body and is also directly influenced by consciousness so needs to be practised with a focussed mind.

Western-style exercise and proper nutrition are necessary but not sufficient to maintain your health. Why? Because mind-body practices (Chi Gong and Tai Chi) are required to sustain and improve the health of your immune system, nervous system, internal organs, and to deal with stress, which is the cause of the majority of disease and illness. To be truly healthy, you need to add mind-body practices to your daily existence.

                                                                                   (Chi Kung Institute 2008)