Tai Chi Classes

First Section classes teach beginners the foundational movements and concepts of Tai Chi. They also benefit students who need to solidify their comfort with the beginning postures. The classes teach postures and movements of the first section of the Cheng Man-Ch’ing Yang-style form, fundamental Tai Chi principles and energies, and basic application concepts. Classes are twice weekly, one hour each.

T’ai Chi can be physically challenging as it requires the development of balance and movement that is different than 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.

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

Form Review offers corrections and more deeply explores the postures, movements, and principles of the form. Form Review deepens understanding of the postures, their energies, and their applications. Increased external and internal organization leads to improved health and energy flow.

Ongoing Studies help develop a complete understanding of T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Studies include form in flow, holding postures, standing meditation, and particularly Tui Shou, or “push hands”. Tui Shou is an exercise intended for learning, not competition, and teaches the interaction of Tai Chi movement with others. Students safely get “hands on” with others in order to deepen their understanding of the principles and skills of Tai Chi, especially the concept of Relaxation. 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. There is a Silent Tai Chi Retreat and Silent Meditation scheduled for March 2024. Details are on the Events page.

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 a lesson where new information is imparted, but consistent daily practice is where progress occurs.

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: A Simplified Method of Calisthenics for Health and Self Defense, by Cheng Man-ch’ing, Blue Snake Books, 1993; ISBN 9780913028858

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

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

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)

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.

Research information

These links are provided as suggestions, and not as endorsements.

US National Institutes of Health
Tai Chi: What You Need To Know
Qi Gong: What You Need To Know

UK National Health Service (NHS)
Tai Chi & Chi-kung for rehabilitation

Harvard Medical School Osher Center
Mind/Body/Movement Laboratory

The Journal of Taiji Science
International Medical Tai chi and Qigong Association