Chi Kung is a form of working with energy and the breathe. Chi or Qi translates as air/breathe or life force and Kung or Gung means work as in Kung Fu (Hard work). So Chi Kung (Qi Gong) means working with ones life energy. It can be performed static, moving or seated making it very accessible to people from all works of life. Utilizing the breathing techniques of Chi Kung helps promote the circulation of vital energy around the body. The Chinese call this vital energy, “Chi”, just think of it as nutrients, oxygen and working with the different electrical currents your body produces. It is hard to explain but once you have been practicing for a number of weeks you will feel what it is rather than being able to explain what it is. If someone offered you the chance to revitalise and re-energise your body whilst slowing the ageing process, increasing your sense of wellbeing, calming the mind allowing you some “me” time along with increasing your range of movement would you take it? This is Chi Kung.
Tai Chi Chuan is often seen abbreviated to Tai Chi but they are very different like water and ice. Tai Chi is the symbol most westerners call the upside down hugging fish of black and white or Yin/Yang Symbol. Tai Chi is a philosophy based on living our lives in harmony with nature and being natural to our true state rather than trying to be something other than our nature. The Chinese call this, (living our lives in harmony,) following the Tao, which there is no real translation for but means something like Way. With Tai Chi the martial element has been removed even though it may be explained and demonstrated it is not practiced. The main element to Tai Chi is learning to relax, let go, enjoy your body, movement and the moment, this is done through learning the basics of Chi Kung, Postural alignment, Postures, Tai Chi walking and the Form. All of this is based on the underpinning principles of Yin/Yang or Tai Chi. You will often hear of Tai Chi described as moving meditation or moving Chi Kung and put this simply it is not an undue description.
Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art. Tai Chi Chuan utilises the principles of Yin and Yang as does Tai Chi. However Tai Chi Chuan is an internal (neija) soft (not weak) martial art that has explosive movements and internal power. So does boxing but boxing and say Karate use force against force, Tai Chi Chuan teaches us to harmonise and redirect physical force not resist. This is often mistaken by people to believe that Tai Chi Chuan is weak and only trains in softness. If this were true you would only be taught to be Soft or Yin. If the system has Yin (Soft) and Yang (hard) as its founding principles it cannot be Tai Chi Chuan without both being taught? Similarly Tai Chi Chuan is often seen as this slow moving form but not always, if it is just slow it is Yin and we know Tai Chi Chuan is Yin and Yang therefore there must be fast explosive moves as well as soft yielding moves. Those people whom have just been taught this soft side I would assume have been taught Tai Chi for its health benefits hence Tai Chi not Tai Chi Chuan. Tai Chi is taught for health because of this soft side. This is the reason I distinguish between the 2. Very few people wish to learn the Martial Art context hence alot of this context has been lost. Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art only if it is trained in as a martial art, this includes all of the basics in Chi Kung and Tai Chi whilst also including Pushing Hands, Applications and Free Sparring.
At Tai-Ga we offer Tai Chi, Yoga, Personal Training, based in Flitwick covering Bedfordshire including, Dunstable, Luton, Flitwick, Ampthill, Maulden, Woburn, Barton Le Clay and surrounding villages.
With many people having experienced learning with us, please see a selection of some of our student's comments below.
"Finding Stuart's Tai Chi class was one of the best things that has happened to me; Stuart has great knowledge of Tai Chi, both the health aspect and its martial arts application, is passionate about passing on his knowledge and is an excellent teacher whom has taught me alot………………. Stuart possesses a lot of patience and I really enjoy his classes and would recommend them to everyone."
Alun, Dunstable Class
"I first decided to give Tai Chi a go not only because of the known health benefits but because I needed some me time. After finding Tai-Ga Tai Chi I have found exactly what I was looking for and me, it provides a focused period of time and space to myself, whilst I am also learning about strength, meditation and self defense."
Rachel, Flitwick Class
"New skills, confidence, health, control and flexibility were all key when choosing the new fitness regime and lifestyle change I was seeking after years of road running, cycling and more than a few injuries. Training with Tai-Ga and learning Tai Chi Ch'uan has given me all of these things and more. I would, and frequently do, recommend it to anyone."
"I joined Tai-Ga Tai Chi about four months ago to help maintain fitness and flexibiliy in my seventh decade! There is a huge age range and mix of ability and experience in the class and Stuart manages to bring out the best in all of us with humour and encouragement. He is extremely knowledgeable and enthusiastic about Tai Chi and is passionate about passing the skills he has learned on to us. Classes are suitable for teenagers upwards and everyone feels the benefit from the friendly atmosphere as well as from the Tai Chi. It doesn't matter how I feel before the class - afterwards I always feel calm and refreshed. I would recommend these classes to anybody and everbody!!"
Vivienne, Ampthill - Barton Class