Tai Chi Classes

Unlike most other forms of exercise or other Qigong practices, the T’ai Chi Ch’uan form is a sequence of movements that connect from one to the next. Therefore, it is important to commit to attending class. Similar to studying a musical instrument, each class is where new information is imparted, but consistent daily practice is where progress occurs.

First Section classes are the place to begin learning the movements and concepts of Tai Chi. These classes teach the first half of the Cheng Man-Ch’ing Yang-style short form, including foundational postures and movements teaching both the external and internal alignment of bones, joints, sinews, and muscles. In addition, fundamental Tai Chi principles, energies, and basic application concepts are covered. Classes are twice weekly for one hour each. T’ai Chi can be physically challenging as it requires the development of balance and movement that is different than our normal day to day activities. Students frequently choose to repeat the First Section until the postures become natural and familiar before progressing to the Second Second.

The Second Section adds more advanced postures to those learned in the First Section of the form. Although it contains a similar number of individual postures, the Second Section has many more repeated movements than the First Section. Therefore, the Second Section is taught in two sessions, Part 1 and Part 2. When complete, students will have learned the entire Yang Style Short Form.

Form Review offers an opportunity to more deeply explore the postures, movements, and principles of the form. Increased external and internal organization leads to improved health and energy flow. Additionally, warm up exercises, standing meditation, and tui shou are introduced.

Tui shou, or “push hands”, teaches the interaction of Tai Chi movement with others. Although most commonly referred to as “pushing hands”, tui sho is an exercise intended for learning and not competition. Students will literally get “hands on” with others in order to deepen their understanding of the principles and skills of Tai Chi. Tui Shou, done in a principled way, develops flexibility, adaptability, sensitivity, and mindfulness in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. More on Tui Shou classes.

Weapons forms such as Jian Sword, Saber, and Cane are areas of study available only for students who demonstrate achievement in the postures and principles of Tai Chi.

Private instruction is available on a limited basis. Contact Andy for details.

Events or workshops will be announced when scheduled.

Class costs may vary slightly, depending on how many classes are in a session.

Click here for the current Schedule.

It is important to adopt a patient and consistent attitude towards Tai Chi Ch’uan studies. Everyone progresses at a different rate, but consistent practice yields the best results. Many students repeat either or both Sections. It is far more critical to develop a deep foundation than to try and rise quickly through levels of study.

“Gradually, gradually.” – Professor Cheng

Video and audio resources

Reading recommendations

There Are No Secrets, by Wolfe Lowenthal, North Atlantic Books, Blue Snake Books 1993; ISBN 9781556431128 (available through Long River Tai Chi, the author’s website)

Cheng Tzu’s Thirteen Treatises on T’ai Chi Ch’uan, by Cheng Man Ch’ing, translated by Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo and Martin Inn, Blue Snake Books 1993; ISBN 9780938190455

The Essence of T’ai Chi Ch’uan: The Literary Tradition, translated and edited by Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo, Martin Inn, Robert Amacker, and Susan Foe, Blue Snake Books 1993; ISBN 9780615227771 (newer annotated edition) or 9780913028636 (available through Inner Research Institute, Martin Inn’s website)

Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell, Harper Perennial Modern Classics 2006; ISBN 9780061142666

T’ai Chi Ch’uan Ta Wen: Question and Answers on T’ai Chi Ch’uan, by Chen Wei-Ming, translated by Benjamin Pan Jeng Lo and Robert W. Smith, Blue Snake Books 1993; ISBN 9780938190677

T’ai Chi Ch’uan: A Simplified Method of Calisthenics for Health and Self Defense, by Cheng Man-ch’ing, Blue Snake Books, 1993; ISBN 9780913028858

Conservator of the T’ai Chi Classics: An interview with Benjamin Pang Jeng Lo ; this article is included in Cheng Man-ch’ing and T’ai Chi: Echoes in the Hall of Happiness, Via Media Publishing Company 2015; ISBN 9781893765061 (also available as an e-book)

The Tao of Pooh, by Benjamin Hoff, EGMONT, 2019; ISBN 9781405293785

T’ai Chi supplies

Clothing should allow freedom of movement. The best shoes for Tai Chi are flexible and have flat soles. You can find those inexpensively online by searching for Tai Chi (or Kung Fu) White Cotton Sole Shoe. However, any thin flat sole shoe will do. If you need to wear a special shoe or insert, do what you need to do. Socks are also fine, as are bare feet. You don’t need any special equipment to perform the solo form.
The T’ai Chi sword form uses a double-bladed “jian” sword. Study should begin with a wooden practice sword. I have also enjoyed using this extendable sword. I prefer to work with a firm blade sword rather than a flexible “wushu” sword, but there are reasons to work with one after practicing the sword form for a while.