Fundamental Forms 101

These choreographed sequences of relaxing, slow, dynamic and rhythmic exercises developed in ancient China are the basis for the study and mastery of Tai Chi and will help you to achieve optimum health, expanded awareness and peace of mind.

The Tai Chi Form is the prerequisite to all other programs.

In this class students will learn three basic Tai Chi Forms: The Wu Chi Tai Chi Form, Yang Style Short Form, and the Yang Style Long Form.

In addition, students will learn Chi Kung healing exercises, meditation and relaxation techniques.

Clear explanations are given of the various health benefits, Chi energy flow, and proper breathing techniques to further the student’s understanding and enjoyment of Tai Chi. Immediately start receiving these mental and physical benefits:

  • Improved balance
  • Coordination and feeling of gracefulness
  • Deeper relaxation
  • Improved ability to handle stress
  • More energy for daily activities
  • Deeper breathing, increased circulation, of blood and lymphatic fluids.
  • Greater muscular strength and endurance  

If you’ve always wanted to learn this ancient Chinese art form, but didn’t know where to begin, or doubted whether you could follow along, this is the class for you. By the end of this program, you’ll have a solid grasp of the fundamental movements, as we make Tai Chi learning easy and fun for everybody.

Fundamental Forms, 102 Form Refinement

After you’ve taken our 101 course, you will realize that there’s more about Tai Chi that you want to explore in depth.

Learning the choreography has given you a fantastic springboard to start going deeper into the art, and our 102 course will provide you with more information.

As we work with you on refining the form you learned in 101, you’ll begin to experience more of the nuances, start challenging yourself at a higher level, and as a result, receive even greater physical and mental benefits.

In this class you will examine individually each posture of the Tai Chi Form in intense detail, sequentially. Advanced concepts and principles will be introduced which require prior consistent form practice over a suggested period of several months.

This extremely valuable class will assist you in reaching the optimum development, benefits and enjoyment of your Tai Chi Form by exploring in great depth the following important topics:

  • Breathing techniques and how they affect movement and energy flow
  • Chi energy flow
  • Proper alignment
  • Weight distribution and shifting
  • Hand and arm movements
  • Foot placement and steps
  • Emphasis on moving from the center
  • Spiraling technique
  • Relaxation
  • Opening/Closing
  • Muscle tone
  • Meditative aspects of the Tai Chi Form

If you want to make the beauty of Tai Chi a part of your daily life, our 102 Form Refinement course is a wonderful and effective way to deepen your Tai Chi practice.

“Be Like Water”

This work-out class makes Tai Chi movements easy to follow and remember.

“Be Like Water” strikes a great balance between relaxation, technique, and flow.

Students learn the ancient movements of Tai Chi from a Certified Instructor, who will motivate you, answer your questions, keep you engaged, and moving.

Experience the ancient, healing movements of Tai Chi in a supportive Group Class, open to all levels. Learn to meditate, and then truly flow.

As the immortal Bruce Lee said, “Be like water making its way through cracks.….. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Be water, my friend.” He meant that you’ve got to be flexible in mind and body, to adapt to changing circumstances. It’s about changing up the way you practice, and being open to new ways of doing things to achieve better results.

Here at the Tai Chi School of Westchester, we have always offered an engaging class experience, in the form of semi-individualized instruction, where each student in class may be learning a different movement.

Now we are pleased to offer you an alternative, in the form of a group fitness class, where everyone performs the movements together, for a fun and communal experience.

Push Hands Partner Exercises

The partner exercises of Tai Chi, called “Push Hands”, are considered a fundamental stepping stone to learning the deeper levels of Tai Chi.

Essentially the practice of Push Hands is meant to be a laboratory for the developing Tai Chi practitioner, through which they can test and improve their knowledge of the following critical aspects of awareness:

  • Correct physical alignment
  • Balance of yin and yang in all movements
  • Sensitivity and responsiveness to the partner
  • Avoiding errors, such as anticipating and using too much muscular strength
  • Martial concepts of yielding, sticking, deflecting, and countering

You will learn a series of solo and partner drills designed to improve the reactions, physical communication and body dynamics between two players.

The players cooperate with each other, rather than opposing the movement or intention of the partner. These exercises are relaxing yet exciting and fun.

Push hands is an excellent way to discover any areas that need additional attention in your Tai Chi Form. Special focus is directed to improving your sensitivity to detect and guide subtle changes in weight, movement and muscle tone or tension while working with a partner.

This type of training is absolutely necessary to arrive at a balance of yin and yang in your Tai Chi applications to daily life Push Hands training is a prerequisite for anyone interested in learning the martial art o f Tai Chi, since only by interacting with another will you be able to properly apply the Tai Chi principles in a self defense situation.

This experience will lead you to discover how to apply the Taoist philosophy to your day to day activities to reduce stress and live more efficiently.

Meditation and Chi Kung

This class focuses on the cultivation of balance ( physical, mental and spiritual) through exercises in active relaxation, gentle stretching, toning, synchronized deep breathing and visualizations to sharpen awareness (internal and external), generate increased Vital Life Force (Chi) and enjoy peace of mind.

These traditional and ancient Chinese exercises can be used either in a preventative or therapeutic sense to alleviate a physical problem or to avoid the potential development of various negative conditions (physical and psychological).

Meditation and Chi Kung leads us to explore the Taoist philosophy upon which the art of Tai Chi is based.

Practical Applications of the Tai Chi Form

Learn the multiple potential self defense uses of each posture and transitions of the Tai Chi Form as a method of enhancing your understanding of Tai Chi concepts and principles.

Traditionally, students studied Tai Chi as a martial art and not just a health system.

Most students find it a fascinating realization that every movement performed in the Tai Chi choreography has not only a health benefit, but a potential martial application. This creates another level of understanding of Tai Chi that helps you maintain interest and enjoyment in your Tai Chi practice.

Techniques will include: Evasions, escapes, strikes (both open and closed hands and kicking), grabs and locks, pressure point strikes, etc. all performed safely as solo exercises and with a cooperative partner.

An increased awareness of the yang side of Tai Chi will also assist you in reaching the highest levels of development and balance in your training by providing a guide to the accuracy of your techniques.

Two-Person Forms

This is a choreographed series of movements performed slowly and with full control with a partner to illustrate and practice the proper use of Tai Chi postures in a traditional Chinese kung fu fighting situation.

These moves will teach you the correct use and understanding of distance, range, angles, footwork, yielding to force, deflection of force and the ability to use the opponent’s strength against himself for the successful use of Tai Chi for self-defense.

If you have also studied the Practical Applications of the Tai Chi Form, now you will get a better sense of flow in your techniques and increase your feeling of coordination, balance, strength and agility in performing Tai Chi.

Weapons Forms (Flute or Short Stick, Broadsword and Double-edged Sword)

These beautiful solo weapons forms are wonderful methods to enhance the development of your body, balance, coordination, strength and Chi by the performance of the long flowing movements of the Broadsword, the subtle and graceful changes in the Double-edged Sword and the aggressive, bold spirit and speed of the Flute.

The use of a weapon aids in the improvement of your strength and flexibility while providing another example of the Tai Chi principles.

Each form is taught separately and sequentially beginning with the Flute Form continuing with the Broadsword Form, then concluding with the Double-Edged Sword Form.

Tournament Preparation

Learn how to create your own Tai Chi form (empty hand or weapon) and push hands techniques which can be used in contemporary tournament competition, similar to gymnastics exhibitions.

This program is for the experienced practitioner who wishes to use tournament settings to “test” their development, understanding and application of the Tai Chi principles.

Tournaments are also an excellent method of exchanging information and techniques with other players and teachers from different Tai Chi schools thereby expanding and elevating your own level of knowledge.

Tai Chi Sparring

The use of Tai Chi techniques including punching, kicking, locks and grabs, deflections, reversals and other strategy will be taught to confirm your ability to apply Tai Chi for self defense.

This class is quite strictly supervised and restricted to advanced practitioners only.

Safety equipment (Such as headgear, gloves, mouth piece, pads, etc.) will be required to allow the realistic and danger-free use of restrained and controlled force in non-choreographed practice.

Personal Development through Teaching

Most are aware that you can learn in depth information about a subject by “teaching” another.

You will explore Tai Chi from the perspective of a teacher without the requirement of being formally accepted into the Apprenticeship Teaching Program, with its specific commitments to time, administrative work and teaching classes.

This is also a good opportunity to discover if you would like to actually become a Tai Chi teacher in the future by examining the requirements and level of knowledge, application and understanding necessary to teach Tai Chi either as an assistant in the school or independently, outside of the school.

Apprenticeship Training Program

Participation is open to students at the invitation of Sifu.

Among the criteria for admission are: successful completion of all prerequisite courses, demonstration of a high degree of proficiency in skill and an exceptional attitude.

This is a specially developed program designed to perfect your teaching skills.

You will be able to teach at various levels over a period of 3 to 5 years, leading to certification enabling you to pursue a Tai Chi teaching career, either within the Tai Chi school or independently.

Tai Chi Teacher Intensive

Work one on one with Sifu.

Instruction will be focused on improving your understanding, teaching techniques and skill level.

Individual areas of personal interest will be addressed allowing you to choose from various specializations within Tai Chi and related health fields.

This class is restricted to members of the Apprenticeship Program.

Tai Chi Teacher Intensive Workshop

A periodic workshop for members of the Apprenticeship Program only.

You will concentrate on working out (form, meditation, Chi Kung, push hands, weapons, fighting techniques, sparring, etc.) to hone your personal skills, understanding, and conditioning while working directly with Sifu and other advanced students.

Workshops (see workshop schedule)

These specific and individual workshops focus on a particular aspect of Tai Chi and related training within one session.

Unless otherwise indicated, workshops are usually open to all students and have no pre-requisites.

Lasting several hours, these workshops will give you the opportunity to explore in depth subjects which may not be taught in ongoing classes in the school.

These topics may be briefly introduced in other classes so that you become aware of the many potential areas of study in Tai Chi.

Occasional guest teachers will help you to expand your understanding and foundation.

These workshops are designed to be hands on so that you can actually practice and more easily retain the information covered.  

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