The Mandarin term gongfu does not actually mean martial arts, but rather any skill, ability, merit, or power developed through effort over time.  One may have gongfu in calligraphy, in cooking, in music, in teaching, woodworking, or car repair.  In the art of Tai Chi, gongfu means the development of certain essential qualities of mind, body, and energy, including:

Rooting; Relax/Release (sung); Centering and Calmness; Mind-Body Integration; Fluidity;  The Eight Jings; Naturalness; Yi (Intentional Awareness); and Chi (life force).

Beginning in Fall 2018, Brookline Tai Chi will be offering a unique program that focuses on the development of Tai Chi Gongfu.  These classes will improve and enhance the ability and energy of students of every level, from first-year players to advanced practicioners in their second or third decade of Tai Chi.

1.: ESSENTIAL GONG:  Dan Lian, Equipment, and Yi

This class will focus on one of the most important elements of Tai Chi gongfu training: Dan Lian, the repetition of single movements, and often small portions of those movements, with full awareness, intention, root and connection.  Ten to twenty minutes repeating the first six inches of Commencement, for example, will produce energy and internal power that cannot be imagined.  Class will also include working with staves, balls, rocks and other equipment–a vital but neglected part of traditional Tai Chi training.  The use of the Yi, or intention/awareness will be also be a major component of this class.

2. ZHAN ZHUANG: Standing Qigong

Zhan Zhuang means “standing like a stake”, or “standing like a tree” and refers to

the practice of holding specific stances and postures to develop internal strength.

A central practice of traditional “old school” Tai Chi, zhan zhuang develops structural alignment and strength, root, chi flow, and a calm, confident mind. Tai Chi masters from Guo Lien Ying to Bruce K. Frantzis have all attributed their high levels of chi development, mental clarity, and martial ability to these practices.  Class will include both the Five Primary Standing Postures for Chi Development, as well as Holding Postures from the Tai Chi forms–from the Yang, Wu, Chen, and Sun styles.

3. SUNG: Relax/Release/Root

Sung (pronounced “soong”) is a unique term that includes relaxing, releasing tension, and letting go–without becoming weak, deflated, or unaware.  It is considered one of the most important qualities in Tai Chi, because it is the essential ingredient for the development of root, fluid integrated movement, and calm awareness.  This class will include movement, breathing, imagery and some 2-person work to enable everyone to become significantly more “sung“.  Your experience of all Tai Chi and Qigong forms, as well as your ability to perform all manner of tasks and actions in a relaxed, efficient, easeful way will be enhanced.

Tai Chi Gongfu classes are open to intermediate and advanced students, with a minimum of 6 months training: either 2-3 courses of Tai Chi Fundamentals training (TC 101/ Jibengong) or basic knowledge of a Short or Long Form, or Qigong set.