What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi (Taiji) or Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) translated literally means “supreme ultimate fist” and is a major division of Wushu (Chinese martial arts). It is one of the main internal fighting systems which utilizes the body’s internal energy or chi (qi) and follows the principle of “subduing the vigorous by the soft”. Throughout Tai Chi’s long history there has been a gradual process of change and development and in modern times the emphasis has shifted from combat to performance. Tai Chi is now practised as a methodology for achieving health and well-being, self defence skills, a recreational pursuit, cultural education and as a competition sport. The latter has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee.
Are there different styles of Tai Chi?
There are five major styles of Tai Chi Chuan and each are known by the family name of their creators - Chen, Yang, Wu/Hao, Wu and Sun. Each of the five styles has characteristic features of its own but they all share a common set of principles and theoretical base, Yang Style Tai Chi is the most widely practised in the world today and is characterized by gentle, graceful and expansive movements.
Can anyone learn Tai Chi?
Just about anyone of any age and level of fitness can learn Tai Chi. Yang Style Tai Chi is particularly suitable for the elderly as the gentle movements are performed slowly and do not require great physical exertion. Students will be expected to perform the basic techniques correctly but only to the extent of his or her physical capability.
I have a medical condition. Will it be safe for me to practise Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is widely practised as a gentle exercise for health. However, all students who have a medical condition or injury must consult with and follow the advice of their medical practitioner or health professional before continuing with Tai Chi practice.
How long is the course?
Various programmes are available but there are no set times for these. As we all learn things at different rates according to our own skills and abilities, some students will require more time than others. A variety of routines, each requiring a different level of skill are offered. Some students may want to practise Tai Chi as a competitive sport and additional training will be available to help them achieve their goals.
Do you have to wear a uniform?
No uniform is required to be worn in class. Loose fitting long pants and top which will allow ease of movement will be best. For comfort cotton material is best. Footwear should be lace-up sports shoes. They should be lightweight and flexible, and have a thin and wide sole to help with balance. Shoes which will mark the floor will not be permitted. Specially designed shoes for Tai Chi are available for purchase online. People participating in demonstrations and competitions will be required to wear an IWUF Standard Taolu uniform.