Tai Chi Brighton - What Makes a Good Beginners Class?
There are many classes where you can practice Tai Chi in Brighton, here is a short list of what (imho) I believe should be included in, especially, a beginner’s class:
What makes a good Taiji Class?
- Good Lineage
Your teacher should come from a good long lineage of teachers who have practiced the form over a long period of time. This means it is a tried and tested formulae. Over hundreds of years the form and exercises has been refined to be the most effective art in terms of health, vitality, and martial application.
- Relaxing Meditative Movement
Although the Daoist principle is both hard and soft, fast and slow, the classes should be relaxing. The essence of each movement should involve relaxed concentration and awareness of movement.
Being aware of your movement takes the mind away from the constant chatter of dualistic thoughts that is over emphasised in our modern materialistic world. Awareness of the body is great for relaxing and it improves feeling and sensitivity to the body so that you can listen more effectively to your body’s needs. Even while practicing FaJin the body should be a relaxed as possible and only utilise dynamic movement of the body to create the “whip”.
- Calm, Understanding & Experienced Facilitator
The quality and intention of the teacher is of paramount importance. It has been said that the teacher should exemplify the personal qualities you’d like your children to have when they grow up! This makes sense, as ultimately you will pick up the vibe of the teacher – they should be calm, experienced and emphatic to your needs. The teacher should apply his knowledge and pace to the demands of his audience. The teacher should also practice what they preach of course!
- Careful warm-up exercises
Many if my teachers spend most of the class warming up and stretching (DaoYinShu) with the last quarter doing the exercises they are warming up for! The stretches and warmup are there as part of the Taiji, they often apply the movements of the Taiji form but in isolated parts to practice and master ready to integrate into the structure of the Taiji form.
Stretches should also be dynamic movements not static stretches as recent research has shown that you are more likely to get an injury when warming up with static and passive stretches. The exercise to warm-up gets the blood pumping, loosens joints, increase awareness of the body and get the movements ready to practice the form of Taiji.
Some classes of course focus more on the actual form and practical application, but for beginners its best to connect with each joint, relax them first and learn the basic movements so that you can put it all together into the form later.
- Structure of Taiji form
Spiraling circular movements powered by the leg, including upwards, sideways, backward and forwards and centre.
- Pushing Hands
This may not be included in beginner classes to start with but should be included later on as it helps with sensitivity training, contact and understanding how we move and interact from a martial point of view. Non resistance pushing hands moving onto more resistance with practice helps us to feel how the movements work and how it could help in self defensive applications.
- Grounding Closing down at the end
If you are applying Qi Gong exercises into your classes I believe it is important to “close down” at the end of the class. This is a really nourishing exercise and ensures you don’t leave the class open to the outside environment…
Find out more about our Brighton Tai Chi Classes on Tuesday evenings in Central Brighton...