What is tai chi chuan?

Tai chi chuan/taijiquan is a style of kung fu once practiced by the Manchu Emperor's elite palace guards.There are 5 traditional styles of tai chi chuan: Chen, Yang, Wu, Hao and Sun. 
The art is quietly challenging; requiring patience, hard work, commitment, mindfulness and composure.
Students work towards the cultivation of a high degree of physical skill and can reasonably expect to practice the art for most of their lives. 


Does tai chi chuan combat take place in slow motion?

To quote the Tai Chi Classics: "If the opponent's movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly."
Some of the training methods (i.e. form) are slow; this is to develop strength, accuracy, balance and control.
New skills are often slowed down for safety until the student gains familiarity.

As the student becomes adept, the kung fu speeds up considerably.
Combat is usually fast.


Why don't people know that tai chi can be a martial art?

The combat methods and principles behind tai chi chuan have been a well-kept secret in China for hundreds of years.
Very few members of t
he general public understand how to use tai chi chuan as a martial art.Classes offering the complete tai chi chuan martial syllabus are rare in the UK. 


Can combat be healthy?

Every martial artist in the world seeks to defeat their opponent in combat.
But at what price?Blocking, struggling, forcing, striking a balanced opponent... these are also harmful to your own body.
In defeating your opponent you may also harm yourself.

Tai chi chuan is different.
All movements are performed in a manner that ensures the greatest effect for the least amount of effort.
The internal martial arts aim to incapacitate the opponent without sustaining any injury to yourself.
Additionally; emotional composure is maintained at all times.
There is no aggression or macho, cocky behaviour in tai chi chuan.
This is good for your health and wellbeing.


Can I study baguazhang?

Baguazhang is physically and mentally challenging, with a complex form, unique training methods and counter-intuitive tactics.
A high degree of balance and coordination is necessary.

There is no beginners or intermediate level in baguazhang.
A student gains the foundation skills through the study of tai chi chuan
sensitivity, footwork, timing, biomechanical awareness, whole-body movementjing, root...
Baguazhang employs a considerable amount of shuai jiao and chin na applications, so a thorough grounding in these skills is a must.
A potential baguazhang student must show considerable aptitude with tai chi chuan if they want to study a second art.
Yang style has something of the feeling of 'killer energy' about it; it is more martial in appearance.
A spectator can see the applications of the movements when they watch the form.
(Master Xu Shu Song)


What are the martial skills (kung fu)?

In combat, tai chi chuan uses evasion, stickiness and sensitivity rather than brute force.
The muscles remain relaxed at all times and the body moves as one whole unit (neigong).

There are many tai chi chuan martial skills in the syllabus, including:
  1. Shuai jiao (take downs)
  2. Chin na (seizing)
  3. San sau (fixed sets)
  4. San da (freeform combat)
  5. Form application
Even though many of these skills are common to different styles of kung fu, a tai chi chuan student must perform them in tai chi chuan way.
The application of tai chi chuan always follow the guidelines presented in the Tai Chi Classics.


What are the benefits of learning tai chi chuan?

Tai chi chuan is not just about combat.
Daily practice offers a wide range of benefits that will affect your everyday life:

• Get fit
• Stay calm
• Feel balanced
• Increased stamina and endurance
• Stress-relief
• Gain functional combat skills that rely upon intelligence rather than brutality
 Off-set the effects of aging (e.g. sarcopenia)
• The release of deeply-held muscular tension   
• Boost energy
• A way to use millennia old Chinese wisdom in everyday life  
• Meditation
• An unusual form of strength
• Emotional composure in the face of confrontation and crisis
• Philosophical study involving some of the most influential books ever written 
• Cultivate confidence and resourcefulness