FAQs for New Students Tai Chi & Qi Gong


Before you join read these

Do you teach children?

  • Our classes, courses and workshops are for adults from the age of 18 years upwards.

Do I need experience to join?

  • No previous martial arts, Tai Chi, Qi Gong or meditation experience necessary, our beginner courses and our drop-in classes are aimed at beginners. In our courses you progress as a group with other students of the same level.

Am I too old for Tai Chi or Qi Gong?

  • If you are able to stand and move for an hour,  you are able to practice and benefit from Tai Chi, no matter your age. Our students range from the age of 18 to 91.  Please note all courses are open to adults from the ages of 18 years and upwards.

What do I wear?

  • Loose fitting and comfortable clothing e.g. tracksuit bottoms, t-shirt, sweatshirt.

Do we need to lie down?

  • Tai Chi and Qi Gong are done standing and moving, no floor work.
  • Meditation is carried out seated on a chair, bring a cushion if you find this more comfortable to place on the chair

Are there special shoes?

  • No special shoes are necessary.
  • You can wear socks, bare feet,  plimsolls, flat/thin soled trainers or martial arts shoes.  Bear in mind that some venues may have cold hard floors.

What is the Tai Chi form?

  • The word ‘form’ describes a series of martial Qi Gong movements put together in a continuous pattern or choreography. The form is broken down into named movements e.g.  Move 3 Lazily Tying Coat.  Each form will have a number of movements/steps.  Each movement can be practiced and repeated individually or the whole form can be performed as a unit.

What is a Qi Gong set?

  • The word ‘set’ describes a series of movements e.g. Earth Qi Gong for Women has 10 movements in the set.  Each movement will have a short sequence that is usually repeated 2 – 8 times.  Each movement can be practiced individually as it is complete in itself, or can be put together as a set.

What is the Difference Between Tai Chi and Qi Gong?

Do you need to be fit to do Tai Chi or Qi Gong?

  • The beginner courses are suitable for beginners, no matter of fitness level or physical condition.  Each student works within their own range of motion and capabilities.  The movements can be adapted to the individual, everyone is welcome to join the classes, we are happy to accommodate all levels, abilities and encourage beginners who have not exercised in a while.  The movements can be deceptively demanding, always work within your own ability and range of motion.

What is Chen Tai Chi?

  • Each style stems from a Chinese family name; Chen, Wu, Yang etc.  Chen Style Tai Chi comes from the Chen village, Henan province, China.  The birth of Tai Chi has many legends, the Chen lineage can be traced back to around 350 years ago, combining Qigong principles and deep breathing with posture, alignment, slow, deliberate and powerful martial movements.

What are the Tai Chi levels?


Beginner Tai Chi Courses For new Tai Chi students wishing to learn within a structured course, progressing as a group. The emphasis is on learning the foundation silk reeling exercises and the empty hand form with constant instruction and monitoring through method. The beginners form is the first five movements of all Chen style Tai Chi forms and contains the signature movements of Chen style. It is the easiest form to learn and is known as ‘The Four Corners‘. This is taught over two x 8 week courses.
Short Form Courses Students who have completed the beginner Tai Chi course (16 weeks in total) can apply to attend this course. This is suited to students who wish to start learning Chen style as a discipline. The emphasis is on the student being responsible for their learning. The class is a mixture of instruction and self-practice. Known as the ‘Chen 18 Form‘, this takes roughly 7-9 months to learn.
Long Form Courses Students who have completed learning the Chen 18 Form can apply to attend this course, known as Laojia Yi Lu (Old Frame, First Routine). This is suited to students who wish to explore Chen style with commitment and discipline. The emphasis is on the student being responsible for their learning. The class is a mixture of instruction and self-practice. This is taught on an individual and small group basis and traditionally takes 2-3 years of study.
  • Tai Chi courses are structured to be progressive, developing the movements of the form and sequence in each class. The focus is on learning a skill.
  • Tai Chi drop-in classes are suited to less regular attendance, for students wishing to focus more on relaxation, posture and health. Each week you will learn different movements without tying it all together in a form.

What are the Qi Gong levels?

  • Qi Gong classes are open to everyone at all levels
  • Each course provides a different Qi Gong set to explore
  • Each lesson looks at one or two movements from the set
  • Instructor Nicola will guide the group according to level
  • Qigong is much easier to learn than Tai Chi as it tends to be more repetitive without as much tying together of the performance.
  • Most students are actually looking for Qigong when they enquire about Tai Chi classes, so if you’re goal is relaxation, posture and improved breathing. Take a look at Qigong.

What are the Meditation levels?

  • Taoist Meditation classes are open to everyone at all levels
  • Proficiency in the inner smile is required to progress onto the microcosmic orbit
  • Instructor Nicola will guide the group according to level

How are the classes structured?

  • Our drop-in classes are on a pay as you go basis
  • Our courses run over 8 week blocks.
  • Our Qigong for women lessons are on an ongoing basis (pay as you go / 6 week block in advance)
  • A calendar will be provided on request detailing scheduled training and open training for your course.

Can I come and chat to the instructor at one of the venues?

  • All new students please contact Nicola by phone or email prior to visiting one of the venues, as we unfortunately do not have time to speak to you at the beginning or end of a scheduled session regarding joining a course.

Can I watch a class before I join?

  • New students may join in on one of the drop-in classes, to try out Nicola’s style of instruction, these are on a pay as you go basis of £7 per class. We encourage you to take part to get a full idea of what’s involved.

As with all forms of exercise please seek guidance from your Doctor before joining a class. Tai Chi, Qigong and Meditation are not a replacement for professional medical advice or treatment.

Return from Tai Chi Beginners to the homepage