Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises

For many years, experts have stressed the importance of warm up exercises before engaging in a workout routine. When it comes to warm up Tai Chi exercises, the art of Tai Chi in itself acts as a warm up. The movements in Tai Chi are slow and co-ordinated, designed to put a minimum amount of stress on your muscles. But despite the fact that Tai Chi acts as it’s own warm up, we still recommend following a regular warm up routine. Here are a few warm ups that you can practice before a Tai Chi session:

Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises for energy awareness:

When it comes to warm ups, most people think about stretching and using their muscles. But in Tai Chi, a warm up is about much more than that. It is also about increasing your awareness. Here are some exercises that can help you to do just that:

1) Breathing – This is one of the simplest exercises of them all. Over time, there are factors in our life (stress, poor posture, etc) that cause us to develop poor breathing habits. Breathing exercises can teach you how to breath longer and smoother, releasing stresses and tensions as you do so.

2) Energy Ball – This exercise helps you to develop your awareness of qi. To perform this exercise, rub your hands together as you would on a cold day and be aware of each movement you make. Hold the intention of bringing your qi to your hands. Feel the life force energy in each hand. Once you feel the warmth, pull them apart slowly, keeping your fingers soft and your hands relaxed. When you feel the connection between your hands weaken, bring them slowly back together, being sure that they never actually touch.

3) Stand in Neutral – Standing in neutral position may sound pretty basic, but it is very important in the art of Tai Chi. Standing can help you to become more aware of where tension areas are in your body. When attention is drawn to these areas, it is easier for you to resolve the tension and learn to relax. To learn the proper "neutral" standing position, ask your TCSociety instructor.

Warm Up Tai Chi Exercises for coordination:

In addition to raising energy awareness, many Tai Chi warm ups are designed to promote better body-awareness. Here are a few exercises you can use to practice coordination:

1) Circling your hands – In Tai Chi, all movements are circular. This exercise is a good way to develop a unified body motion because it opens up all parts of the body and allows them to expand smoothly in circular patterns. Once again, for detailed instructions on how to perform this exercise, speak to your TCSociety instructor.

Of course, these are not the only warm up Tai Chi Exercises. Throughout your learnings at the TCSociety, your Tai Chi instructor will teach you various warm up exercises that can prepare you for your lessons and help you develop skills like coordination and focus.

Tai Chi in Van Nuys, CA

When you think of the term "martial arts", what do you think of? If you are like most, you think of a body contact sport that involves kicking, punching, and fighting. And while there are many types of martial arts that do focus on these these things, Tai Chi is not one of them. When taking Tai Chi in Van Nuys, CA, more focus is placed on slow, rhythmic, and meditative body movements. Unlike most martial arts, these movements are not all about self defense. Rather, they are designed to promote relaxation, inner calmness, and peace. Let’s take a closer look at the art of Tai Chi, and the benefits that come along with practicing it.

The history of Tai Chi…

Before we discuss the health benefits of taking Tai Chi in Van Nuys, CA, let us first take a look at the origins of the art. Centuries old, Tai Chi is a Chinese martial art that descends from an ancient Chinese discipline known as qigong. While there is no record of how old the practice of Tai Chi actually is, there are some records that suggest it is more than 2 500 years old! The movements in Tai Chi are designed to be smooth and subtle. At a high skill level, Tai Chi artists reflect the notion of "four ounces can deflect a thousand pounds" and believe that will a small amount of energy, a skilled Tai Chi artist can easily defend themselves a greater force acted out by an attacker.

The benefits of Tai Chi…

Aside from learning how to defend yourself, there are many health benefits that are associated with the practice of Tai Chi. According to the Chinese, Tai Chi can prolong your lifespan, increase your flexibility, and strengthen your muscles. It is also thought to aid in the treatment of such conditions as high blood pressure, skin diseases, cancer, heart disease, arthritis, depression, and many other illnesses and health conditions. Unfortunately, while many people swear by these beliefs, they have not yet been scientifically proven. With that said, there are many benefits of Tai Chi that have been proven. Here are a few proven benefits that come along with taking Tai Chi in Van Nuys, CA:

1) Improves Balance
2) Increases self confidence
3) Improves strength and endurance
4) Improves aerobic capacity
5) Improves the condition of those suffering from fibromyalgia
6) Decreases stress

Why take Tai Chi over other forms of martial art?

As said previously, Tai Chi combines self defense with relaxation methods. When combined together, these two factors can benefit you in all of the ways listed above. In addition, the risk of injury in Tai Chi is much less than it is in other forms of martial art because the movements are slow and gentle, placing a minimum amount of stress on your joints and muscles. Tai Chi is non-competitive, and is a form of martial art that you can take at your own pace. And most importantly, you will have a great time learning it!

So what are you waiting for? Try out Tai Chi in Van Nuys, CA today. If you like it, your body will reap the benefits! Contact TCSociety.com to learn how you can get started!

What to Expect During Your First Tai Chi Class

 If you have ever watched someone perform the art of Tai Chi before, you probably already know that each movement is slow, coordinated, and perfected. This can make it a little intimidating to attend your first Tai Chi class. With that said, there is nothing to be intimidated about. Everyone learns Tai Chi at their own pace, and instructors are always understanding of individual needs. But to calm your mind, let’s answer a few commonly asked questions regarding your first Tai Chi classes.

What should I wear to my first class?

Tai Chi requires a great deal of bending, stretching, and moving. As such, you will want to wear clothes that are comfortable and stretchy. While you want to be able to move in your clothes, you also want to make sure that they are not too baggy, as this can also make movements difficult. You should bring a sweatshirt along with you for the end of class, but make sure the clothes you wear are cool – you will be working up a sweat!

What if I don’t know the moves?

If you are attending your first Tai Chi class, you won’t know the moves. You may feel silly and have a hard time keeping up with more advanced Tai Chi students, but it is always important to remember that everyone needs to start somewhere. Even the most coordinated students were beginners at once and all beginners struggle during their first few classes. Pay attention and do your best – the rest will come with time.

What is the appropriate class etiquette?

Class etiquette in Tai Chi comes down to one thing – respecting those around you. Try to show up to class 5-10 minutes before class begins. If you are late, come in quietly and wait for the instructor to invite you in. Other than that, listen carefully to your instructor and be respectful of those around you. If you have any questions, save them until the end of class. Finally, try your best. You won’t learn the movements over night, but if you try your hardest every class, you will catch on quickly.

What should I do when I get frustrated?

If you have never taken part in a Tai Chi class before, you will definitely become frustrated at some point. Tai Chi movements are very technical and coordinated and take a long time to master – which can be very frustrating for new students. The key to handling this frustration is practice. The more you practice, the quicker you will learn and the less frustrated you will become. In the meantime, just remember that everyone starts in the same place – you are not expected to learn the moves right away, just have patience with yourself!

Before attending your first Tai Chi class at TCSociety.com, it is recommended that you watch one or two classes first. This will help you to become more familiar with the pace of the class, the atmosphere of the class, and a few of the moves. Watching classes beforehand will also give you the opportunity to meet some students so that you can become comfortable with your peers when attending your first class.

Are Group Tai Chi Videos Helpful?

When it comes to Tai Chi, there are several different ways that you can view and watch the art. The best way to watch Tai Chi is always in person, but there are many people who like to watch group Tai Chi videos as well. In fact, many people are turning to Tai Chi videos not only to watch techniques, but to learn the actual art. But are Tai Chi videos beneficial in this sense? Can you learn the art of Tai Chi through a video? Let’s take a more in depth look at this question.

Just as there are for other forms of martial art and exercise, there are many videos on the market that claim to be able to "teach" you Tai Chi. And while these videos can be beneficial in several other ways, using them to learn the art of Tai Chi is not recommended. The main reason for this is because Tai Chi consists of a variety of precise and specific movements. You can usually learn the basic movements by watching Tai Chi videos, but the preciseness will come down to practicing with others and gaining instruction from a Tai Chi master.

Another reason that group Tai Chi videos are not recommended for learning the art is because they don’t allow you to put the art into practice. You can watch videos and learn the techniques, but unless you have a group of other Tai Chi students to practice with you will never be able to learn the practicality of these techniques and movements.

With all of that said, Tai Chi videos can be useful in many other ways. Firstly, they are great for practicing techniques. Once you learn a technique from your Tai Chi instructor, you can use videos to review the proper technique while you are practicing at home. They are also great for learning combinations of movements (known as "forms"). Forms combine 8 or more Tai Chi movements together, and videos can be a great way to review them outside of class.

In addition, group Tai Chi videos can be a great way to get a head start on yourself. The art of Tai Chi is not learned overnight and is usually taught in stages. Group videos can help you research what is ahead, taking a look at movements, techniques, or forms that you have not yet learned. Keep in mind that these videos should not be used to learn the techniques, but to review them and become familiarized with them.

The verdict? Tai Chi videos are a great way to research Tai Chi and gain an understanding of the different movements and techniques used. They are also great for practicing the art form at home. With that said, if you are serious about learning the art of Tai Chi, group Tai Chi videos are not the way to do it. The only way to really learn Tai Chi is to practice in class with a reputable instructor such as those within the TCSociety. Videos can be used to supplement what you learn in class.

Tai Chi 13 Postures – A Quick Guide

When it comes to the fundamental practices of Tai Chi, it all comes back the the 13 postures. The Tai Chi 13 postures consist of 8 forces, or "expressions of energy", and 5 steps, or "directions of movement". The first 4 energies are thought of as the "primary forces" and are known as peng, liu, ji, and an. They are used in Tai Chi to enhance internal energies. The second 4 energies are also important, but are less common. They are known as cai, lie, zhou, and kao. Let’s take a closer look at the 8 forces and 5 directions of Tai Chi.

The 8 Energies of Tai Chi:

1) Peng – Peng is the force that puts a curved barrier between you and your opponent. In Tai Chi, you use peng to feel, or listen to, the force of your opponent. In this force, your body is placed in a way that repels any incoming force, warding it away. When one standing in the correct peng posture, it is almost impossible to move them.

2) Liu – Liu stands for "leading the opponent’s force into emptiness" and is the force that causes them to lose their balance by redirecting their force away from the center to the side.

3) Ji – Ji requires both hands and arms to work together. It is thought of as the action of squeezing your force into a small area of your opponent. Ji is directed forwards, toward your opponent.

4) An – The fourth of the Tai Chi 13 Postures is An. This is when you gather your power, and then redirect it towards your opponent to drive them away. Power for this force comes up from the earth and through the legs.

5) Cai – Sometimes referred to as "large roll back", Cai is when you use your hands and fingers to pluck or pull. Like Liu, Cai is used to lead your opponent off balance.

6) Lie – Lie is a force that causes your energy to split into two separate directions. It is often used to break the hold that your opponent has on you.

7) Zhou – Zhou is the force where you use your elbow to strike your opponent. This strike throws your opponent off balance and prevents them from controlling your elbows.

8) Kao – This is when you use your shoulder, combined with your full body force, to defend against an opponent. This will knock your opponent off balance, and prepare you for any attack they may make.

The 5 Steps of Tai Chi:

1) Jin Bu – The first of the 5 steps in the Tai Chi 13 postures is Jin Bu. This step involves pushing your momentum forward.

2) Tui Bu – Tui Bu is when you retreat backwards, opening up a space for your opponent to fall into when overextending.

3) Zuo Ku – This involves stepping and kicking to the left.

4) You Pan – This involves stepping and kicking to the right. It helps you to gain an advantage in your position and avoid any incoming forces.

5) Zhong Ding – Also know as "Central Equilibrium", zhong ding is when you maintain your center position. This represents the balance of ying and yang around the center, and is the primary direction of the 5 steps in Tai Chi.

The Tai Chi 13 postures are the fundamental practices of Tai Chi. If you are new to Tai Chi, these 13 postures may sound intimidating. Just remember that no one masters these postures overnight and everyone will learn them at their own pace. If you train with the TCSociety regularly, you will be surprised how quickly you will catch on!

Tai Chi Principles and Chinese Language – 2013 Tai Chi Workshops in LA

Tai Chi Workshops Los Angeles 2013

TC will be conducting workshops in January/February on Tai Chi Principles and Chinese Language.

The workshops will be divided into four parts on weekends from 2-3:15pm at Yahoo Center.

  • January 19 – Session 1
  • January 20 – Session 1 repeated
  • January 25 – Session 2
  • January 26 – Session 2 repeated
  • February 2 – Session 3
  • February 3 – Session 3 repeated
  • February 9 & 10 No sessions (Chinese New Year)
  • February 16 – Session 4
  • February 17 – Session 4 repeated

NOTE: The repeated sessions will give everyone the choice of coming on Saturdays or Sundays.

Students will learn the meaning, pronunciation, and writing of:

  • 守 – (Shou)
  • 正 – (Zheng)
  • 勻 – (Yun)
  • 和 – (He)
  • 鬆 – (Song)

….and ways to use them in daily activities.

Workshop Costs and Attendance

These workshops are being offered for free to TC Society members and persons who responded to a coupon offer in our surveys. Each person may also bring one guest for free. Anyone else wishing to attend will be charged $20.00 for the full four sessions.

Also, if you are attending and bringing a guest please let me know so TC can prepare a sufficient number of brushes etc. for the calligraphy.

Contact Info

If you have any questions regarding this workshop series please contact Eileen at taichi4u@verizon.net or call 310-397-4871.

How to Earn a Tai Chi Certificate

Tai Chi is a form of martial art that takes years to learn. But once you have learned about the art, you may want to take things one step further and earn a Tai Chi certificate. In order to earn Tai Chi certification, you must first become a student of Tai Chi yourself, partaking in formal Tai Chi classes for several years. Once you have demonstrated your knowledge of the art, you must then demonstrate your understanding and expertise by teaching such classes for yourself. Let’s take a closer look at Tai Chi certification including who qualifies for it, as well as where you can go to earn it.

In order to qualify to earn a Tai Chi certificate, one must demonstrate over 2, 000 hours of class time and practical experience. These hours must be recognized and documented by a Tai Chi master in a registered school. While certification is not always necessary to teach Tai Chi, it can definitely be beneficial in attracting students to your class, showing them that you are in fact a reputable Tai Chi master who has extensive knowledge surrounding the form of martial art. In order to qualify for certification, you may also be required to pass a written exam regarding the history and health benefits associated with the art of Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Certification Los AngelesThere are many different schools that offer training and education surrounding the art of Tai Chi. In these schools you will learn about the technique of Tai Chi, the history of Tai Chi, and the philosophy surrounding Tai Chi. Most schools will also teach its martial applications. In order to pass certification, a student must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the different Tai Chi forms, showing that they understand how to perform the movements, postures, and applications properly. Many Tai Chi courses also include classes that teach students how to run their own Tai Chi programs, as well as how to market their school.

In order to achieve a Tai Chi certificate, a particular number of hours in formal instruction and practical experience will be required. While this number will vary greatly from school to school, most courses require between 150 hours to 2000 hours of experience for certification. Generally speaking, the more advanced the certificate, the more hours you will need to receive it. Tuition for classes will also vary from school to school, and some courses will require you to pay an annual fee in order to keep your certificate active.

In order to find a Tai Chi program that meets your needs, you will want to take your time and contact several different schools. Ask each school about the courses that they offer and why they feel they are the best school for you. Compare courses and ask about the instructors experience and credentials. There are several different organizations that offer Tai Chi certification including the American Tai Chi and Qigong Association, the American Fitness Professionals Association, and the International Fitness Professionals Association.

Is a Tai Chi certificate the right choice for you? If you want to teach Tai Chi, than certification will go a long way in building your student base. Start contacting different schools today and discuss your future in teaching Tai Chi! Where can you begin? Start here – TCSociety.com.

The “eight powers” of Tai Chi Chuan

The animation presented below is meant to illustrate the eight ways of power to be demonstrated in Tai Chi. In Chinese, these are called the ‘ba men’ or “8 gates.’ Here, I’ve attempted to show these 8 different styles that make up 8 of the ’13 Postures’ of tai chi chun. If you have questions, please contact brian.tcsociety@gmail.com, or TC.

You can see the trigrams for these 8 movements here, and in the animation:

peng ☰
liu ☷
ji ☵
ahn ☲
tsai ☳
lieh ☴
zhou ☱
kao ☶

Enjoy!

Yin-yang visualization

The video below is a basic and balanced display of the interchangeable nature of yin and yang. Enjoy!