Tai Chi Ch'uan is an advanced martial art that was traditionally taken up by kung fu masters in mid-life. It blends close-range self-defense techniques for unbalancing an attacker with deep breathing, slow, flowing exercises for lower body and core strength & joint mobility, and meditative concentration. Though tai chi is practiced slowly, tai chi masters are renowned for their blinding speed in application, as the muscles are trained under conditions of deep relaxation and focus.
Tai Chi in the Modern World
Tai Chi was created for fighting. However, the same things that make it a deadly self-defense system make it appealing to today's health and fitness conscious person. While some might add some benefits or alter their order of importance, nobody could argue with the following attributes being part of the Tai Chi adventure:
- Ability to completely relax the musculature.
- Ability to clear the mind and become acutely aware of your internal and external environment.
- Achieving a stong, balanced, stress- and tension- free posture
- Increasing the unhindered flow of energy throughout the body, with a systemic increase of blood flow.
- Defend oneself with minimal use of effort by applying the concept of accommodation (yin/yang)
It's clear: only the #5 attribute pertains solely to martial arts. The other 4 goals of Tai Chi are desirable to nearly everyone human alive. They were critical to martial arts mastery 800 years ago and they are critical to LIFE mastery now.
Shaolin-Do offers the most comprehensive curriculum of internal martial arts in New Orleans. Tai Chi is the best-known of the internal arts, the yielding or soft style. The internal art of Pa Kua Chang teaches to evade attacks through a fluid, circling pattern of movements including steps designed to throw an opponent simply by coiling and uncoiling the body. At a higher level, the entire system of Hsing Ie Chuan (Fist of Will) teaches the student to explode their internal power into every strike.
Meditation exercises help students control their breathing, develop a greater awareness of their body and encourage a calm and controlled mental attitude. The internal arts require decades to master and the constant addition of new material at the Shaolin-Do school ensures that each student remains interested and challenged for a lifetime. Like the famous yin/yang symbol, the balance of these two unique strategies, SHAOLIN & TAI CHI, creates a powerful force and well-rounded martial artist. (back to top)
Learning Tai Chi at Shaolin-Do
We recommend that students interested in the martial aspects of tai chi follow the traditional path of martial arts study and start in the kung fu program before learning tai chi. Studying kung fu will give you a jump start on your physical fitness and self-defense skills and provide you with the basic skills of a martial arts practice before tackling the subtleties of the internal systems.
If you do want to start with tai chi, we recommend our Tai Chi Foundations class, beginner workshops, or private instruction.
In our ongoing Tai Chi Foundations class, we focus on meditation, breathing, qigong, and short segments of Tai Chi forms that can be learned and practiced in a single class. These are the basic building blocks of a tai chi practice. This is recommended for absolute beginners and people who are more interested in the health aspects of meditative movements, than on tai chi as a martial art.
Longer tai chi forms can be learned when we periodically offer 6-8 week workshops. These typically teach the beginner 24-posture form, the most popular tai chi form in the world. This form can also be learned roughly 4 sessions of private instruction.
After some time in the Foundations class, or equivalent private instruction or workshops, students may move on to the intermediate Tai Chi Curriculum class. Here students will start by practicing the 24-posture tai chi form, the most popular tai chi form in the world. They will also be learning the practical applications of tai chi as a martial art to gain a deeper understanding of the movements. From there, students can move on to learning other empty-hand or weapon forms from the immense Shaolin-Do curriculum of internal arts (see list below).
Contact us for more information on tai chi instruction.
Ongoing Tai Chi Class Schedule
Tai Chi Foundations: Saturdays, 10-11am at Shaolin-Do in Bywater.
Tai Chi Curriculum: Saturdays, 10-11am at Cypress Fitness, 625 Celeste St inside the Landing Zone Building.
Contact us for information on beginner workshops and private instruction.
- Damo's I Ching Chings (1-49)
- Single and Double Pushing Hands
- Small & Large Circle Breathing
- Huo Tien Chi and Shien Tien Chi Meditation
- Iron Shirt Chi Kung
- Hua Tuo's Five Animal Chi Kung
- Eagle Claw Chi Kung