Tai Chi is a very deep art with no finish line. At New Jersey Tai Chi, we believe in teaching real Tai Chi in depth as soon as possible. In order to reap the many benefits of Tai Chi, you need to learn structural alignments; efficiency of movement; the various body states and energies of the art. Those are some of the skills that will bring about the real benefits, which we want you to receive as soon as possible. As a result, we teach a short form in order to avoid a common problem in Tai Chi. Most schools spend great amounts of time learning long sets of choreography without developing the real components of Tai Chi. Essentially these schools delay the health improvements that could come for their students. Sometimes the internal skills are never really developed because the choreography has become king. Many practitioners spend years and years on form only to later discover that their Tai Chi is empty and watered-down.
Another common misunderstanding occurs when learning Tai Chi for health versus for the martial fighting applications. In order to truly understand the form and to have the proper structural alignments and efficiency of movement, which are all part of bringing about good health, you absolutely must have exposure to the martial applications.
This does not mean that you have to kick and punch – especially if you are a senior, but it does mean that you need to at least have the martial aspects demonstrated for your understanding. Programs that do not teach this are not giving you the full scope of the art and thus, the full health benefits of Tai Chi.
There are a lot of body states in Tai Chi that are next to impossible to teach with words alone. You must have an instructor that you can touch hands with. You need to feel and learn through direct transmission. Push Hands is the part of Tai Chi training that is also frequently missing from programs. Before you run away thinking that you do not want to be pushed, maybe you have a bad knee or poor balance, please be assured that Push Hands in our classes is very gentle. It is taught to our seniors regularly and every one has seen the reason and the benefit to this part of the training.
Yes, there is combat and tournament style Push Hands – only those interested in that training will receive it. You are not pressured into the martial side if you are studying for health.
We hope this brief description will enable you to make a wise decision when searching for proper Tai Chi training. At New Jersey Tai Chi, we teach everything we have discussed above and much more. We are proud to represent Master Richard Clear and we teach his Clear Tai Chi curriculum. If you have any questions, please write to us: [email protected]
Almost everything that is learned in Tai Chi has both a Health and a Martial aspect. There is no finish line - it is a lifelong journey of constant learning and refinement.