Tai Chi and Chi Gung are the martial arts that is best known for its health benefits. But to gain the greatest health benefit, understanding the martial aspects can be very helpful. The slow movements allows one to inspect the same stances and postures as used in Aikido, and importantly develop the muscle memory to use these stances as needed. For this reason, the combination of both practices is quite useful for some.
Yang Style Tai Chi is known for the long form, 108 movements. The movements are slow, taking between 25 – 50 minutes to practice the entire form. But for health benefits, often 15 – 20 minutes of exercise is enough.
Through in depth study of the movements and postures, one develops patience from which a deeper understanding and many benefits accrue. One finds the maximum efficiency and effectiveness is self defense, and can apply the same efficiency to other endeavors. Better health and happiness tend to be side effects as well.
Our practice begins with the basic 108 move form of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. As a matter of respect for the form, study of the basics is traditionally taught one move at a time. With repetition of moves within the form, instruction of the moves reaches successively deeper levels. As a strong foundation in basics is established through study of the 108 move form, a new student might consider learning the first form to be a project completed over several years.
After learning the 108 move form, a number of other possibilities exist. One learns how to express physical force in tai chi through basic Shaolin Kung Fu forms. More advanced forms include Shaolin staff and the tai chi sword. Lastly push hands is a tool to check one's understanding of the form.
For those who feel most comfortable about studying self defense through forms, the tai chi system is a good choice. However, to the extent someone feels a need to engage a partner to see how an attacker might react to many types of situation, the approach in Aikido may add a dimension that can be helpful. Aikido is primarily a partner practice which takes the principles of forms and applies them to various situations.
In addition to classes in Westchester, our schools has ventured into Manhattan several times a year to deepen their practice with a senior student of Master Yu.
Steve Kanney began practicing Yang style Tai Chi in 1999 with Master Cheng Hsiang Yu and Aikido in 1978, but additionally studied a Wutang Mountain Style as well as Chen Tai Chi. The focus in class is Yang style. Please check the instructor page to learn more.