Most Tai Chi classes out there go something like this. You'll be asked to run thru the sequence that you've learnt already. The instructor will demonstrate some more form and teach you the next part of the sequence. You may be shown some martial art applications of the sequence you've just learnt and the session ends with a little partner work and maybe some push hands. The session will last anything from 1 to 2 1/2 hours as the main reason for your being in the class is to train. We do not do this. We are different. In our classes you do not learn to copy from an instructors demonstration. You do not learn sequence after sequence in order that your practice starts to look like your instructor's. You do not learn partner exercises as a beginner. Whilst practice of the form must make up the large proportion of the effort undertaken, our School has a unique approach. The student is made aware of the reasons and principles that lay behind the form. It is the relationship between the form and the prinicples that you are being taught. A simple example can illustrate this approach. Many Tai Chi sequences have the form 'Hold a Ball'. Ask why do you hold a ball. A response that involves mumbo jumbo such as 'it allows the chi to circulate' is simply not good enough. Neither is something that resorts to the type of martial arts example ' if someone does this then you do that'. Where martial arts are concerned, we are cold, analytical and logical. We will teach you, in plain English, the principles behind such a form, why you do it and how it is done. The rest you will have to do for yourself and practice. We open the door but it's for you to walk through. We are 'old fashioned' in this respect; if you do something then you do it properly. So, in our System, you will not be doing a form of martial arts dance or even applying Tai Chi 'techniques' to martial arts applications but rather a sophisticated and deep system that has a simple but extensive framework. To get a better idea of the kind of teaching points we go through even on the opening form look here and look below at the formal objectives sheet our instructors use as the basis for tuition. To answer some other common questions:
What form do we practice? Yang system? Chen system? Our form comes from that taught at the School at the Temple of the Fire God in Beijing. The form was designed to integrate with the principles of both Ba Gua and Xing Yi. In practice, however, it makes very little difference if you have some other form or none: we teach from principle, therefore you are welcome to bring your own form or none at all and learn the School's form. Do we teach Chi Gung? Meditation? Tai Chi and all of the Chinese Internal Martial Arts the School teaches works the breath and uses the breath as a tool to settle the mind. The School teaches a range of simple to sophisticated breath and meditative techniques as a fundamental part of it's martial arts practice, so the answer is yes. Do we teach partner work? Yes, partner work would be part of your martial arts practice but in our School this does not occur initially.