Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient form of martial art practiced for hundreds of years in China as a way to maintain health, promote fitness, and rejuvenate the body and spirit. Some people refer to it as a form of moving meditation.
Regular practice strengthens muscles, tendons and ligaments; improves balance and flexibility; relieves stress; and improves digestion and weight control. Health care professionals recognize it as an outstanding low-impact form of exercise suitable for people of all ages.
The Jow Ga Shaolin Institute offers instruction in Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan at the beginner, intermediate, advanced and instructor level. It is the most popular style of Tai Chi Chuan in the world. Yang Style is characterized by graceful, flowing movements. Although its empty hand forms are performed slowly, Yang style weapon routines are done with a quicker tempo.
Students practice movements that simulate offensive and defensive techniques against an imaginary opponent. They coordinate the use of hands, arms, shoulders, feet and legs in a series of patterns while trying to maintain physical and mental balance between the forces of Yin and Yang. For example, instead of using force to meet force, you yield when your opponent attacks and advance when your opponent retreats. Moreover, while the body is active, the mind is quiet.
Tai Chi Chuan Origins
There are many theories about the origins of Tai Chi Chuan. One story involves Chen Wangting, a Chinese military officer during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.). He combined techniques from the martial arts classics, his own martial expertise, Chinese medical concepts, and Yin and Yang theory to create Tai Chi Chuan.
Tai Chi, which literally means Grand Ultimate, is based on the Yin and Yang theory. According to this theory, all forces of nature are complimentary: light and dark, positive and negative, soft and firm, activity and inactivity. Too much or too little of either Yin or Yang leads to imbalance and illness.
In modern China, Tai Chi Chuan is classified as a martial art, a sport, and a subcategory of Qigong (chi kung). Qigong is a generic term used to describe a variety of methods to enhance the flow of Qi (life force or energy) to harmonize mind, body and spirit. We offer Qigong training as part of our Tai Chi Chuan program as well as separate classes in Qigong.
We teach classes in Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, developed by Yang Luchan (1795-1872), from Hebei Province in China. His grandson, Yang Chengfu (1883-1936), modified the original form into 108 movements and made it into the most widely practiced style in China today.
In 1956, China's National Sports Committee reduced the number of movements to 24 steps to make learning Tai Chi Chuan more accessible to the public. This enabled more people to enjoy its many benefits. Please ask about our video that provides instruction in this simplified version.
Our Yang Style program offers comprehensive instruction at the introductory through instructor levels. Training is available in Tai Chi Basic Movements, Tai Chi Theory & Principles, Qigong, empty hand forms (24 step, 40 step, and 108 step routines) and weapons forms (sword, saber, and staff), partner training, push hands, and self-defense applications.
Certificates of Achievement are available to those who wish to receive formal evaluation and documentation of their progress. Examinations are used to assess skills and knowledge upon completion of each level. To receive certification, students must demonstrate their proficiency to the satisfaction of the Chief Instructor and Institute Director.
We also have a guest instructor, Stephan Berwick, who teaches Chen style. He is one of only a handful of instructors certified by Master Ren Guangyi to teach for The International Chen Style Taijiquan Association.
We teach qigong (chi kung) as a separate class and also as part of our tai chi chuan program. Students learn how to harness Qi (vital energy) using physical movement, body postures, breathing techniques, and mental focus. Our qigong style, called "Taijigong - the Art of Internal Power," leads to unity of body, mind and spirit.