Student FAQs

New Student FAQs

Before joining a Tai Chi and Qigong class with instructor Nicola of Earth Balance Tai Chi, please read over these common questions and answers.

  • This isn't your grandmother's Tai Chi - An article looking at Chen style Tai Chi
  • Students attending group live-stream classes, please read our article on blending to green.
  • Please understand that Tai Chi and Qi Gong practices can be demanding on the body, even though they may look soft and easy to do when watching DVDs or youtube clips.

What classes do you offer?

Medical history

  • Our instruction provides guidance with posture, movement and deep breathing according to the principles of Tai Chi and Qigong.
  • Before joining a class all students must advise of any limitations or pre-existing conditions that may prevent them from engaging safely in Tai Chi and Qigong.
  • Earth Balance Tai Chi fully understands its obligations to ensure that personal information is treated fairly, lawfully and correctly, and is committed to achieving compliance with the laws of the Data Protection Act / GDPR regulations. Please see our privacy policy.
  • Please visit our online resources for general health and wellbeing benefits of these practices.
  • Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation are not a replacement for conventional medical treatment.  Please refer to your GP with any medical questions you may have before or during your classes with us.

Do you teach children?

  • Lessons 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 classes are aimed at beginners.

Am I too old for Tai Chi or Qi Gong?

  • Our students range from the age of 18 to 95.
  • All exercises are carried out standing up, and will include walking and stepping movements, and standing on one leg.
  • The majority of Tai Chi and Qigong movements can be adapted for all abilities in our private tuition classes.

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.
  • No heels of any height.

What is a Qi Gong set?

  • A Qigong set or routine are standing up 'yoga-like' exercises that repeated on both sides of the body.
  • 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 on both sides of the body for symmetry.
  • Each movement can be practiced individually or can be put together as a whole routine.
  • Each movement will relate to a specific function in Traditional Chinese Medicine e.g. to stimulate the lung meridian.
  • Generally Qi gong is easier to learn than Tai Chi.

What is the Tai Chi form?

  • There are two types of Tai Chi training, drills and form.
  • The Tai Chi drills in Chen style are called silk reeling exercises, which are similar to Qigong and repeated on body sides of the body.
  • The Tai Chi form is a performance of choreographed movements, performed as right or left handed versions.
  • As beginners, we learn a 'right-handed' form, also known as the 'empty hand' form as no weapons are held.
  • The word 'form' describes a series of martial Qi Gong movements put together in a continuous pattern or choreography, performed in slow and focused manner.
  • The form is broken down into named movements e.g.  Move 3 Lazily Tying Coat.
  • Each form will have a number of movements/steps e.g. Chen 18 Form, Chen 74 form.
  • Each movement can be practiced and repeated individually or the whole form can be performed as one unit.
  • Tai Chi is complex to learn in both the mind and body.

What is the Difference Between Tai Chi and Qi Gong?

  • Qigong is an ancient Taoist exercise practice (formally known as Dao-yin) used as a preventative and restorative exercise health system for mind, body and spirit. From circa 4000 years ago.
  • Tai Chi uses the principles of Qigong movement as a basis for an internal martial art, practiced today mainly for health benefits. Chen style Tai Chi is from circa 300 years ago.

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

  • Live stream group classes and online private tuition 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 deceptively demanding, please always work within your own ability and range of motion.
  • In private tuition, 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.

Useful Resources