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Tai Chi - Taijquan

Weekly Tai Chi Classes

Regular weekly classes in ‘Old Yang Style’ Taijiquan (Tai Chi),
commencing Term 3 2024 (25/7 – 26/9)

Thursday mornings 7.30-8.30am
@ KulchaJam, 1 Acacia St, Byron Industrial

$200/Term, $25 Casual

About Tai Chi Classes

 

The Old Yang Style of Yang, Lu-chan  as taught by the World Taiji Boxing Association and Erle Montaigue System, can be typically characterised by its smaller intricate movements, fajing explosive movements, lower and more difficult postures, and the retention of its martial origins, in contrast with much of the Tai Chi being practiced today.  

About our beginners classes: 

The 10 week format is designed to

  • Cover the ‘first third’ of the form in adequate detail in order to practice it solo, unassisted
  • Drills and exercises to assist absorbing the principles of taiji and improve your progress
  • Basic single push hands
  • Basic standing Qigong, and energy work

 

Larger, Expansive Movements: To assist in learning, the beginners movements are typically large and open, emphasising a relaxed, flowing form and clear postures that are characteristic of other Yang Styles;  Later, however, the movements will become smaller, more complex, and subtly intricate.

Slow, Smooth Transitions: The form is practiced slowly with smooth, continuous movements, and transitions from yin to yang and back again.  This cultivates ‘sung’, promoting relaxation, balance, flow, and coordination.

Comprehensive Training: Every beginners class includes solo forms, push hands, applications, and energy work through Qigong practices, ‘warm-up and cool down’ routines.  Weapons training and partnered forms, drills, and additional martial training will be covered in other classes.

Focus on Martial Applications: Emphasise  on the martial applications ensures the aliveness, power and clear structure in the movements, and avoids them becoming abstract or arbitrary.  My beginners classes do not shy away from martial intent, but are not designed with the primary purpose of teach students how to apply techniques in self-defense situations (this can be covered later, and elsewhere).

Fa-jing and explosive movements: This is not a primary focus of beginners classes, although it is a signature hallmark of this style that differentiates it from other Yang Styles (eg Yang, Cheng-Fu’s forms).  The foundations and principles will be covered to help you along your way.

Dim-Mak point striking: Each movement can be applied to a number of dim-mak (‘death touch’) points for both combat or healing.  In beginners classes, the points provide extra clarity to concretise the movements, and the form becomes a catalogue of knowledge.  Later these strikes can be effectively trained though partnered drills and pad work.

Emphasis on Structure and Alignment: Proper body alignment and posture are crucial. For example, the practitioner to maintain a upright spine, relaxed shoulders, and elastic waist.  Standing postures are the foundation for this,  which everything else is build upon.

Focus on Internal Energy (Qi): The practice aims to cultivate and circulate internal energy (Qi) through the body, enhancing overall vitality and well-being.

Authentic Transmission: Rooted in the teachings of Yang, Lu-chan and transmitted through Chang, Yiu-chun to Erle and then Eli Montaigue, who have propagated this system

Benefits of Old Yang Style Tai Chi:

Improves Physical Health: Enhances balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination through deliberate movements and proper alignment.  In particular, the strength gains for most beginners is significant, as executing the form correctly requires a strong foundation of balance and connected structural strength.

Reduces Stress: Promotes relaxation and reduces stress through mindful, meditative movement and slow, smooth transitions.  Embodied presence requires attention, and your stresses and worries are displaced by this.  Further, through an appropriate level of challenge in your qigong, push hands and partnered work, you become better adapted to dealing with stressors, and this carries over in to daily life.

Boosts Mental Clarity: Encourages focus, concentration, and mental clarity by integrating detailed instruction and comprehensive training.  The form also has embedded within it, for example shifting eye attention for increasing hypothalamic tone.  Once the details of the form are ingrained, the natural progression is the cultivation a ‘no-mind’ state.

Enhances Energy Flow: Stimulates the flow of Qi,  improve overall health and vitality through Qigong practices.  Each posture, and the entire form itself, is a Qigong.  We gather and release, lift and ground, open and close, within the postures and flow of the form.  Each ‘third’ of the form completes circuit of Qi flow in the body, following the circadian Qi-cycle.

Martial Skills: Provides self-defense skills and enhances awareness of body mechanics and movement, timing, developing structural power and precision striking.  The focus is on developing the capacity for subconscious, reflexive, counter-offensive striking to vulnerable points.  In order to expect these skills to be effectively expressed if/when needed, they must of course be practiced extensively in this way.

About the Instructor

Steven attended his first Tai Chi class in 1998, and became an instructor with the Celestial Tai Chi College in Melbourne in 2002, while completing his Diploma in Shiatsu and Oriental Therapies. 
During this time, in his search for the most comprehensive and detailed system of Internal Arts, he encountered the World Taiji Boxing Association and  Erle Montaigue System, which felt like home.  Steven began training the system in earnest, attending camps and classes, as well as distance learning, before gaining instructor certification in 2009.
Since then Steven has has periods of fanatical training, including running state and national camps, and at times has run as many as 17 classes/week for extended periods, and also had several ‘live-in’ full time students.   Steven has also taught outreach programs and corporate classes, including for RMIT University and Australian Defence Science and Technology.  Steven is also qualified as a Doctor of Chinese Medicine, and has studied a range of energy healing arts and meditations practices that inform his teachings.

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Student Resources

Rather than ‘re-inventing the wheel’, for content on beginners level ‘Old Yang Style’ Taijiquan, for now I direct my interested students to the following resources, books, and videos by my teachers, Erle and Eli Montaigue.  These are generously provided free of charge directly on the WTBA website and YouTube channel, which have a massive library of resources.  Of most interest to my beginning students studying Old Yang style will be these books and online lessons:

Old Yang Style - Beginners Lessons from Eli

Old Yang Style - Beginners Lessons from Erle