Your Tai Chi Journey
As a beginner when learning the internal martial art of Tai Chi or Qi Gong, it is important to learn how to move rather than mimicking the instructor. Without guided and personal instruction, the movements become mere choreography. If you simply watch and follow your Tai Chi or Qi Gong instructor, you will only be able to copy what you see. This is a trap! You will probably end up waving you arms around in the air like a dance. Yes, there are many Tai Chi classes you can attend where this does happen. This is the difference between learning real Tai Chi versus Tai Chi like exercises. Remember method not mimic.
As a beginner it is important to learn the principles of movement. First you stat with the foundations, looking at physical alignment and your posture in basic movements. You learn how and why you move in a certain way in Tai Chi. You learn where the moves originate from and how the whole body is connected as one unit, never moving in isolation.
It is the role of your instructor to ensure you grasp the principles, working at your pace and in a way that you can relate to. We all have different learning styles, some visual, some verbal, kinetic and audio etc. Your instructor will work with you using their experience to translate the information into easy to learn movement-bites. The foundation exercises are the most important in your training, as without these the rest of your training will be difficult. Getting the basics right both cognitively, physically and practiced is your goal.
- Correct posture and alignment
- The kua squat
- The dantian connection
- Rooting and grounding
- How to protect the knees
- Expansion/compression of joints/torso/limbs
- Protecting the spine
- Coiling of the soft tissue
- Lengthening of the connective tissue
- Softening of the muscles
- True relaxation of the central nervous system
- The absence of resistance
- Whole body coordination
- Focused concentration
- Uninterrupted circular motion
- Being present in the moment
- Martial application (non combat)
- Martial intent
- Diaphragm breathing
- Balance Yin Yang in the body
Authentic Tai Chi is like an onion with several layers to explore.
To follow along watching an instructor without explanation and guided tuition, this is not truly Tai Chi as it removes vital elements of development e.g. How should the movement feel? What is happening in the internal body? What is the movement used for martially? How is the breath coordinated? How does the body move in unity? How are the upper and lower body connected? What drives the movement?
Instructor Nicola of Earth Balance Tai Chi provides clear explanations of how to move during her lessons, progressing through the principles of Tai Chi to aid each student on their Tai Chi journey. With hands on guidance to ensure good posture, correct alignment and ensuring that each student understands the principles of movement.