Tai Chi Class FAQ

How do I get started?

New students start with a Beginner Class, where you learn the Tai Chi form step by step. Private classes are reserved for one student. Semi-private classes are shared by two or three students. This works well if you have a friend or two who want to learn Tai Chi with you; otherwise, I can try to match you with other students who are interested in sharing a semi-private class. Tuition is $360 for 6 private classes, $180 for 6 semi-private classes. If four or more people attend, tuition will be adjusted. (Please note: the Beginner Class generally takes at least 4 to 6 months to complete.)

If you are interested in taking a Beginner Class, please contact me.

Tai Chi Class

What will I learn in Tai Chi class?

Each class starts with a simple qigong warm-up followed by step-by-step instruction in Yang Style 24 Tai Chi Form.

What is qigong?

Qigong is any exercise that cultivates and balances your qi (life energy). There are hundreds of different kinds of qigong. Tai Chi is also a type of qigong, since regular practice of Tai Chi cultivates and balances your qi.

What’s a “form”?

At the heart of Tai Chi is the form, a carefully choreographed sequence of Tai Chi movements performed slowly and mindfully. Because Tai Chi is generally practiced slowly and softly, it’s easy to forget that it’s a martial art. But beneath each flowing movement is a fighting technique. Over the years, Tai Chi martial artists have choreographed sequences of Tai Chi fighting techniques in order to practice. These sequences are called forms. Today, people all over the world practice Tai Chi forms, not necessarily to fight, but as a fitness exercise to improve health and well-being. When practiced mindfully, with quiet focus and deep breathing, Tai Chi becomes a form of meditation in motion.

Why learn 24 Form?

24 Form is a standardized form developed in China and practiced by millions of people all over the world. It takes 8 to 18 minutes to perform, depending on how slowly you go. If you start with a warm-up and practice it two or three times, you will have a satisfying workout and meditation for your day. (See What’s so special about Tai Chi?)

How long does it take to learn 24 Form?

Everyone learns at a different pace. That said, you should be prepared to devote at least four to six months to learning the basic shape of the form. Once you are familiar with the entire sequence, it takes years of practice to polish and refine it.

How should I practice Tai Chi, especially in the beginning when I only know a few moves?

Whether you know only a single Tai Chi move, a short sequence of moves or an entire form, the goal is the same: practice as much as you can remember, as best as you can, focusing completely on whatever you are working on at the moment. If there are parts of the form you haven’t learned yet, don’t worry about it. Stay focused on what you can remember. The rest will come later. More thoughts on practice

Are there videos that can help me remember the moves?

Yes. Online video clips are available to help you remember what you learned in class so that you can practice on your own at home.

Note: Videos are provided free of charge to current students only and are intended to supplement class, not replace them. In order to view them, you must attend class; to maintain access, you must be actively attending class.

What happens after 24 Form?

I practice and teach six different forms, mixing it up from day to day. However, the goal is not to learn or practice as many forms as you can, but rather, to deepen your practice of whatever you are working on at the time, whether it’s a single Tai Chi move, a short sequence of moves, an entire form or a series of forms.

Are you a Tai Chi Master?

No. I am a Tai Chi practitioner and instructor who has maintained a daily Tai Chi practice for over 17 years. I studied Tai Chi for nine years with my teacher and taught as an assistant instructor in her school for over six years before branching out on my own.

Also, I am not a fighter. I believe it is important to understand the fighting technique behind each Tai Chi move, and so I explain martial applications in class. However, there is no sparring or fighting in my class. I practice and teach Tai Chi for health, well-being and enjoyment.

Finally, I have chronic pain and nerve damage, which affect my balance and mobility. Tai Chi has not cured me, and I make no claims of miraculous Tai Chi healing powers. However, in Tai Chi I have found a healthful activity that I can practice and enjoy, even with imperfect health.

Where are Tai Chi classes held?

Tai Chi classes meet at BAX (Brooklyn Arts Exchange) on 5th Ave. & 8th St. in Park Slope, Brooklyn, NY.

What should I wear?

When practicing Tai Chi, it’s best to wear loose, comfortable clothing so as not to restrict your qi (life energy). I suggest wearing a loose-fitting t-shirt and loose exercise pants. It’s also a good idea to remove tight rings, wristwatches and belts.

For your feet, plan to wear socks, as street shoes are not permitted on the studio floor. Tai Chi slippers or Tai Chi shoes are also okay. You can find Tai Chi slippers in Chinatown or online. (Most people find the ones with the white cloth soles preferable to the ones with the brown plastic bottoms.) For information on appropriate Tai Chi shoes, please contact me.

How much do Tai Chi classes cost?

Tuition is $360 for 6 private classes or $180 for 6 semi-private classes. More info

Tai Chi Terms

Translation, please?
Tai highest, greatest, supreme
Chi utmost, ultimate, top
Chuan fist (or hand-fighting technique)
Tai Chi Chuan “Supreme Ultimate Fist” (i.e., “Supreme Ultimate Hand-Fighting Technique”)
Tai Chi shortened version of Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Chuan the old-fashioned (Wade-Giles) spelling developed in the 1800s
Taijiquan the new (pinyin) spelling developed in the 1950s
Taiji shortened version of Taijiquan
Jian double-edged sword
Tai Chi Jian “Supreme Ultimate Sword”
Dao single-edged sword with slightly curved blade (saber), also knife
Tai Chi Dao “Supreme Ultimate Saber”
Qi breath, life energy, vital energy
Qi the new (pinyin) spelling
Chi the old-fashioned (Wade-Giles) spelling
What does “embracing the moon” mean?

“Embracing the moon” is one of the movements in the Tai Chi Sword form. It is also a lovely phrase that captures the beauty and serenity of Tai Chi.

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