Student Practicing a Tai Chi Posture

TAI CHI/QIGONG 101:  FOUNDATIONS

This 3-Month program enables students to “enter the gate” of authentic Tai Chi, with a complete program of basic practices (in Chinese, jibengong) that are the foundation for all other Tai Chi form work, qigong, and two-person practices. The program introduces the fundamental Tai Chi principles of Rooting, Releasing, Pulsing, Spiraling, Alignment, and Flow through Stance and Posture work, Tai Chi Walking practices, Tai Chi Qigong (energy exercise) and selected movements from the classical Yang and Wu Tai Chi forms.

No prior experience necessary.

 

TAI CHI 102

This class continues the work of Tai Chi Qigong101, emphasizing development of Tai Chi stances for root and structural alignment; stepping practices for balance and whole-body integration; and classic Form and Qigong movements for energy pulsation, graceful power, and flow.

Open to those who have taken at least one session of Tai Chi/ Qigong 101.

 

PENG LU JI AN:  THE FOUR POWERS

Peng, Lu, Ji, and  An are considered the Four Primary Jings (forms of energy) in all Tai Chi styles.  Like the primary colors in art, they form the basis for all Tai Chi movements, and all other qualities and energies.  This class will explore the Four Powers separately in a variety of postures and stepping patterns, and then combined in the 4-move training sequence called “Grasp Sparrow’s Tail”.

The Four Jings are:

Peng:  expanding, billowing up and out, opening;

Lu:  releasing, flowing down and back, becoming liquid;

 Ji:  condensing and projecting forward, like the prow of a ship;

An:  sinking and flowing forward, heavy and soft.

Open to all levels past TC101-2.

 

STAND WALK SIT BREATHE

Less is more.  There are no secrets. Simple practices, done mindfully and with the right energetics, can often have the most powerful effects.  In this class, we will take the most basic and universal human actions–standing, walking, sitting, and breathing–and explore them as profound forms of meditation and energy-cultivation.  Methods distilled from Tai Chi, Yiquan, Ermei Qigong, Kuntao Silat, Bagua, and Ki-Aikido. Whether you are a beginner or a 20 year practitioner, you will gain calmness, vital energy, enhanced awareness and well-being.  Open to all levels.

 

RISE UP ROOTED

“Rooting” in Tai Chi is a mind/body process that connects us to the Earth, increasing our stability, calmness, naturalness, instinctual intelligence, and internal power.  It is one of the most important qualities developed in Tai Chi, with a central place in “old school” Tai Chi practice–both solo and interactive.

But the Yin of rooting is also important as the base/source/opposite pole to the Yang “rising energies” of the body, mind, and spirit:  expansion, straightening, lightness, openness. In the plant kingdom, the descending of roots into the earth enables the tree to grow upward, toward the sun.

In this class, we explore an array of methods–various Zhuan Zhuang (Standing Qigong), Rooted Shifting and Walking exercises, Equipment Training–to strengthen and deepen Root , both in stillness and in motion.  At the same time, we will balance this with an experience of Rising/Expanding energies (Peng) and the qualities associated with them.

Open to all levels past TC101-2

 

8 ESSENTIAL MOVES

Deep exploration of single movements (Dan Lian) is one of the key practices in the original, ancient method of Tai Chi.  In this course, we will study 8 movements that are of major importance in all styles of the art.  Each move will be practiced as Standing Meditation; Moving Qigong; Interactive/Martial Maneuver; and Energetic Archetype.  Variations in Frame, Height, Speed, Footwork, and Intention will also be explored. Improvements in chi flow and understanding occur through this method that are unattainable in any other way.

The 8 Movements will include: White Crane Spreading Wings; Brush Knee and Twist Step; Repulse Monkey; Golden Rooster; Single Whip; Shoulder Stroke; and 2 others.

Open to those who have completed Tai Chi 102 and Peng Lu Ji An OR have at least 6 months experience in any Tai Chi Form.

 

WOOD STONE IRON SILK (TAI CHI EQUIPMENT TRAINING)

In ancient times, practicioners of Tai Chi and other internal martial arts used rocks, logs, stone balls, iron weights, as well as staves, swords, spears and other weapons to enhance structural strength and alignment, increase root and mobility, and expand energy flow and extension.  Solo “bare hand” form work and chi kung can never develop the full measure of Tai Chi qualities andattributes (jings), without the addition of Equipment Training to one’s practice.

In this course, we will explore both ancient and modern equipment training to enhance and deepen all aspects of Tai Chi–including internal power, root, balance, intention, and chi flow.  Almost-immediate upgrades are guaranteed! Open to all levels beyond TC101-2.

 

YI QUAN

Yiquan is a unique internal martial art/qigong system developed by Wang Xiang Zhai in the early 20th century, which combines the most powerful and direct methods of all the Chinese internal martial arts and qigong systems.

Yiquan is a formless art, containing no fixed, choreographed sets of movements or techniques. Rather, it works to directly and rapidly develop one’s vitality, strength and mobility through an array of powerful “universal and natural” practices, including:

Zhan Zhuang –standing mediation/qigong, in a variety of postures;

Shi Li –slow, intensified movements, maintaining the integrity of the held postures as changes of shape, direction, and intent are practiced; and

Moca Bu –“friction stepping”–to develop moving root, leg strength, balance, and moblility.

Fa Li–the release or discharge of power.

Open to all levels past Beginner/1st year .  A fantastic adjunct to those who practice forms and other choreographed sequences!

 

PUSHING HANDS (TAI CHI TUISHOU)

Tai Chi Tuishou, commonly called Pushing Hands, includes a wide array of two-person practices which develop the essential Tai Chi qualities of Rooting, Sensitivity, Calmness In Action, Neutralization, and Energy Projection. These attributes can then be brought into the solo practice of Forms and Qigong, deepening and animating them. Push Hands is traditionally the basis for beginning to learn the martial (self-defense) side of Tai Chi, as it trains awareness, timing, self-protection, and being in the present. This class will explore several varieties of Push Hands in a format that is safe, energizing, empowering, healthy, and fun!  Open to all levels past Beginner/1st Year.

 

INTERACTIVE TAI CHI (2-PERSON TAI CHI)

Tai Chi is equally an art of self-cultivation and interaction. Many of the most essential Tai Chi qualities and attributes–rooting, jing energies, releasing tension, structural integrity, sensitivity, energy projection–are most directly and easily acquired through 2-person work; and then brought into solo practice.  Class will include a variety of interactive exercises are non-competitive, healthy, energizing, and also fun! Open to all levels beyond TC101.

 

MARTIAL TAI CHI

Tai Chi is an extremely powerful and effective system of self-defense and combat capability–if and only if it is practiced for those purposes!  In this class we will learn the Tai Chi methods of striking (with hands, legs, elbows, etc); Tai Chi defensive skills (mobility, neutralization, rooting, sensitivity); mental/energetic skills and strategies; and weapons work. The class will be totally safe and enjoyable but will include some healthy contact.   Open to all levels past 101/102.

 

12 JINGS

Jings are expressions of energy with a particular pattern, quality, idea, or flavor, distinct from ordinary, untrained force or action. Understanding the specific jings inherent in every movement of Tai Chi makes those movements “come alive”.

While reviewing and deepening our skill with Peng, Lu, Ji, and An (the first four major jings), this class will explore 8 more advanced jings, that together constitute the inner content of all styles of Tai Chi. (4 purely Interactive Jings, such as Ting and Hua jing, will be covered when in-person classes resume!)  These will include:

Kao Jing—”Shoulder”, ie, whole-body intelligence and power without the interference of the hands and arms;  Ren Jing—Tenacious pliable strength, like a vine; Fajing—Sudden discharge of energy;  Kong Jing—“Empty force”, the expansion/ projection of energy beyond the confines of the physical body; ChanSu Jing–“Silk reeling”/ spiralling energy connecting the whole body; and Lieh Jing–splitting, opposing, or branching energy, where two separated or even opposing forces are created in a single action.

Open to students who have completed 101/102 and Peng Lu Ji An, OR have a minimum 2-3 years of Tai Chi practice.

 

YANG IN THREE: 3 FRAMES, 3 SPEEDS, 5 HANDS

This class will explore multiple Yang Style moves, postures and short sequences in the authentic Old Yang Method: varying the Frame (size of movements and positions), the Speed (from ultra slow to quite fast), and Hand Configuration (Yang, Yin, Tile, Fist, and Mixed); as well as other factors. This unique method, rarely taught anywhere today,  makes the movements “come alive” and opens up an almost infinite array of energies and experiences. Your Tai Chi will (literally) never be the same!

Open to all levels past Peng Lu Ji An/ 8 Essential Movements; or with a minimum one year of any Tai Chi Form practice.

TAI CHI 301: ADVANCED WORK

For advanced students and instructors with a minimum of 5-10 years experience in Tai Chi  and other Internal Arts. In keeping with the original methods of the Taoist arts, there is no fixed curriculum, but classes will cover such subjects as:  the 16 Major Jings of Tai Chi, Yiquan Standing and Moving Practices, Dan Lian “deep form” Work,  Transformational Processes (hua jing), the relation of Martial and Healing energies, Wu Wei (non-doing), and the like.  We will also include individualized work to enhance each person’s specific path to progress.  Admission to class by permission of BTC Director Don Miller only.

 

WU STYLE TAI CHI

The Wu Style utilizes small circular movements and relatively high stances, making it easy physically but with a great deal of internal energy. At BTC we offer two choreographed sequences of the Wu Style of Tai Chi, as transmitted through Master Liu Hung Chieh of Beijing and Energy Arts founder Bruce Frantzis.

The Short Form contains 18 movements and takes 4-5 Minutes to perform. We emphasize precise alignments of the legs and spine, to facilitate relaxation and energy flow. The Long Form consists of over 100 moves, and takes about 25 minutes to perform. Learning Long Form provides access to deeper twisting, pulsing, and internal energy flows, as well as the “meditation in motion” that is the hallmark of all advanced Tai Chi practice.

 

WU SHORT FORM 1

A short version of the traditional Wu form, created by Bruce Frantzis, lineage holder in the traditional Wu Style Tai Chi. It takes 4 to 5 minutes to do, and requires very little space to practice. We emphasize clear alignments so that the structure holds the body up and it can relax more easily. Since the shoulders are one of the first places tension goes to in the body, we practice releasing the arms and shoulders. The arms are rounded, but the elbows are released so they can sink and help open the shoulders. Knees are delicate joints, so a lot of attention is given to how to align the knees and feet and hips to avoid injury.

 

WU SHORT FORM 2

Once you have the framework, you now start the long process of putting in the internal components. Done properly, the form pulses and “bounces”, smoothly flowing and swirling in intricate patterns. You are always lengthening in and out, connecting further into the body until moving your arms and legs connect to your belly. Level two is when you start getting a sense of the four energies: up, down, inward, and outward. While the form helps you become and remain healthy, above all tai chi is fun! People find that the more they learn of it, the deeper in they go, and the more enjoyable it becomes. Many people continue in level two for many years, continually finding new ways of working with the body.

 

WU LONG FORM 1

This is a traditional form consisting of over a hundred movements, which takes about 25 minutes to perform. Learning the Long Form provides access to deeper twisting, pulsing, and internal energy flows, as well as the ”meditation in motion” which is the hallmark of all advanced Tai Chi practice. We teach the long form over 4-6 semesters, starting every year in September. Most students need at least two years of short form work before starting the long form. Many find that other qi gong courses also help to prepare their body for the internal work.

 

WU LONG FORM 2

In this phase, we go over all the moves learned in level one, and also work to develop circularity. We work on tai chi stepping, and start to look at how the four energies are used. By the time you get to this level, you are fairly comfortable with the form, so it is time to both relax and also to look more deeply into things. We look at every move in the form, including those taught in the short form, spending as much time as people need. At this pace it takes about four years to cover all the moves. All learning is circular, so as you study moves repeatedly, you understand them more deeply, and, paradoxically, learn how to make them simpler and more complex. You progress from moving your hands and feet to moving your arms and legs, and then to moving your body, until you are just moving from your lower dan tien.

 

WU LONG FORM 3

(Description coming)

 

WU LONG FORM SPECIAL SUBJECTS

These classes are considered part of level two and three, and are included in the price. Special Subjects can also be taken alone. This course is about whatever Alan decides to teach, or what he feels is needed. Individual movements are not taught, but the principles behind them are. Every class may be different, or one subject may be developed for a month or more. Possible subjects are: twisting soft tissue, leg alignment, pulsing, stepping, or the core channel.

 

YANG STYLE SHORT FORM, FIRST SECTION 

Yang style Tai Chi is the most widely practiced form in the world. It emphasizes rooted, flowing movements; relaxed, yet mindful awareness and intention; and the integration of mind, body, and energy. The class will cover the 20 movements of the First Section of the Yang style form, a 3-5 minute sequence that becomes both a moving meditation and a whole-body exercise routine. Open to students who have completed TC101/102 and one additional class.