Tai Chi Taster Classes

Everyone is welcome to experience and enjoy Tai Chi.
The classes are suitable for beginners.
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Huge thank you to teacher colleague Nick Cheang in the UK for sharing this short video (3 min.) 

Published on Sep 30, 2016

Sifu Nick Cheang of Master Ding Academy Midlands Traditional Tai Chi Chuan www.chunggong.co.uk teams up with Gary and Jason from UK Film School to create an inspirational artistic piece capturing some early Sunday morning Tai Chi practice at the Peace Pagoda, Milton Keynes. Gary has titled it 'Be Water, My Friend'.

What is Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan, or Tai Chi, as it is more commonly referred to in the West, is a discipline about which there are many preconceptions. Ask a dozen people what Tai Chi is, and sure enough you will get a dozen different answers. Some will claim it is a potential martial art, whilst others will suggest it is an exercise system for health, or even a spiritual discipline. Often these answers will reflect what a particular person wants from the art. However, none of these labels can exclusively claim to describe the art. It can be all of the above. Tai Chi Chuan, of its very nature, offers a wide range of attractions: health, meditation, self-healing, self-defence, fitness and so on. It is this holistic approach to mind and body that attracts so many to Tai Chi.

Tai Chi Chuan is a complete discipline. It is a training method that allows you to discover your true potential on a physical and non-physical level. It is able to integrate the mind, body and spirit, and thus improves both physical and mental well-being. Tai Chi Chuan allows you to grow both in body and mind, and hence its associations with health are the most well known of its attributes.

The soft, relaxed, flowing series of movements that are unique to Tai Chi Chuan allow the body to be used in a very precise and definite way. Muscles, bones and joints are all utilized in a meticulous fashion that increases your awareness of ourselves and of those around us.  Muscles gently tone and strengthen as balance and posture improves. However, the benefits are felt not only in the musculoskeletal system, it works from within on a much more profound level.

By practising Tai Chi Chuan, the body´s internal energy (known to the Chinese as Chi or Qi) can be harnessed and is able to circulate freely within the body. As a result the internal organs become healthier and both the mind and the body become stronger and more robust from inside. Even with a small amount of practice Tai Chi Chuan can invigorate you from within, and provide you with a powerful antidote to stress. It can make you feel more relaxed, refreshed and revitalized, as well as more tolerant, self-confident and above all, happier with life.

 

CHI KUNG

Chi Kung is the first part of the triad that is traditional Tai Chi Chuan. It is said that whilst Tai Chi Chuan forms gives Energy direction and speed, it is Chi Kung that stimulates, concentrates and develops the Chi in the first place. Chi Kung is made up of the two Chinese characters – Chi and Kung. Whilst the literal translation of Chi is life energy, force and breath, the meaning behind Kung is far less obscure and is usually used to represent work and the work place. Thus together Chi Kung can be taken to mean a system that works with Chi.  Although Chi Kung is part of Tai Chi Chuan, it is also a separate discipline in its own right.

One particular style of Chi Kung often used in Tai Chi Chuan practice is Zhan Zhuang Chi Kung. It is a unique ancient Chinese exercise system based on the Taoist principles of harmony, simplicity and naturalness, and its aim is to cultivate, focus and balance the flow of Chi energy within the body, relaxing the mind, strengthening and improving health.

John Ding Yeung San Chi Kung is a set of eight postures based upon the Zhan Zhuang System. It´s method involves standing in still postures that exhibit no obvious external movement. However, whilst standing in stillness may appear simple, the truth is that it is deeply involving both physically and mentally.

As you begin to use these postures their stillness will gradually help you become centred and focused. Your breathing should also be slowed and deepened. As each breath is taken, it is projected from the diaphragm and abdomen, and not from the chest, so that breathing is unforced, natural and relaxed. Once this is achieved, Chi will flow more freely and will begin the cultivation process. 

Useful tips: for complete beginners, start off by practising from 30 seconds to a minute on each posture. If you have problems with your knees, try not to bend them too low. If you find standing difficult, practise sitting down. Slowly increase the time to 5 or more minutes per posture. 

 

John Ding Tai Chi Chuan Form 

At the heart of Tai Chi Chuan is a series of coordinated and linked movements known as the form. The art is perhaps most famous for its forms. Almost everyone who sees their movements associates them correctly with Tai Chi Chuan. When a form is performed accurately, it radiates an image of perpetual motion within a circular frame. Practitioners are deeply engaged with their practice, oblivious to any distractions, and in this sense many that watch the movements of the art often describe them as a moving state of meditation. But whilst Tai Chi Chuan certainly does have its meditative aspects, the forms play a much greater role to the Tai Chi practitioner.

Beginners to the art often start by learning a slow empty-handed form so that concise and methodical approach can be taken. Forms vary in length from school to school. A short form will take around five minutes to complete, whereas a long form will take anything up to fifteen minutes. Whatever type of form you start to learn, it becomes the backbone of your Tai Chi practice. 

In all different styles of Tai Chi Chuan, the form is used as a tool to help you slowly bring together the natural harmony of the mind, body and spirit. The word 'natural' is important, as it requires the re-education of your mind, body and spirt so that Chi can once again flow freely and naturally. This process necessitates time, effort, perseverance and patience to achieve the ultimate state of naturalness. 

Most traditional forms are complex and long, requiring both a large space and a luxury of time to learn and practice. The Master Ding Foundation Form is a simplified empty handed form based on Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan that embraces the essence of the art. It is also requires less space to carry out. It has been put together for maximum holistic benefit. It is also based on the results of Tai Chi Chuan research and an over 30 years of Master John Ding´s own martial arts and Tai Chi Chuan teaching experience for health, energetic and martial applications. The foundation form will provide you with a good foundation and understanding to help you continue your training in a complete traditional system of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.