Tai Chi at Dharma Way Dojo
At Dharma Way Dojo and Self Defence Solutions we offer private and small group instruction in the art of Tai Chi Chuan, translated as Grand Ultimate Boxing. Steve has years of practice and teaching experience in this art. He is also a former lecturer, developer of curricula and current practitioner of Chinese Medicine.
There is probably not one art surrounded by as much misinformation, half- truths and misunderstandings as Tai Chi. There are five major styles of Tai Chi: Chen, Yang, Wu, Sun and Hao. Each of these contain sub styles and family styles under them.
At our school we offer instruction in Old Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, the original version of Tai Chi, taught by the Yang Family Tai Chi founder Yang Lu Chan. Most modern Yang style is from the Tai Chi taught by Yang Lu Chan’s grandson, Yang Chen Fu. His style was watered down in the early part of the 20th century to make it more palatable to public and cultural norms of the time.
Most schools of Tai Chi in the west have never heard of the Tai Chi Classics, get a free copy on this site, yet, the classics set forth a manual of practice necessary to follow in order to gain the benefits of health and self-defense: two sides of the same coin.
And now for the blasphemy: TAI CHI CHUAN IS A MARTIAL ART. In today’s world of false and misleading information that fact can come as a shock to the woefully uninformed. Nevertheless, it is true. A practitioner must interact with their Tai Chi practice as a martial art or the health benefits will never be realized. Many will lie to you for money, we won’t!
Tai Chi is about releasing stress so that the body and mind can flow freely. Martial arts at their core are about how to deal with the force of an opponent, which is stressful in itself. How will you release stress if you never learn the proper way to confront stress? Pretending it doesn’t exist is willful self- delusion.
Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art, one of the big three internal martial arts of China along with Baguazhang and Hsing I Chuan. It is the most yin of these arts. Internal vs. external martial arts is a vast subject, but generally, internal martial arts are characterized by softness, lack of tension, integration of mind, body, subconscious, nervous system, spirit, intention, flow, reception, dissolution of force principles, and balance.
Both internal and external martial arts are striving to get to the top of the mountain, they simply use two different paths. They both hope to integrate the inside of the body with the outside of the body in perfect and perpetual harmony. External starts outside and works its way in, internal starts on the inside and works its way out.
Conscious awareness and an understanding of biofeedback, along with keeping one’s attention on the present will create harmony in one’s practice. Increasing one’s present awareness also leads the way to improvement of skill in Tai Chi performance.
There are 8 major energies one has to understand and demonstrate in order to recognize practice as progressing or not. The experience and knowledge of a very skilled teacher has always been the necessary foundation of building skill.
Many modern teachers try to explain the health benefits of Tai Chi through the view of western medicine, that is like trying to understand how to fly an airplane by explaining how an automobile works. They are both a means of conveyance, but that is where the similarity ends.
Tai Chi must be understood from its historical and cultural roots. The health benefits of Tai Chi can only be understood from the point of view of Traditional Chinese Medicine. If your teacher knows nothing about Traditional Chinese Medicine then you will be left floundering, not understanding how to progress.
One must realize and internalize the concept of yin and yang, their 4 interactions, and how they relate to the forming and dissolution of the individual postures when practicing Tai Chi. There is no stopping, flow must be constantly maintained even when encountering force.
Steve often tells new students that martial arts can’t be learned with the same mind they came here with. In other words the practice must contribute to a broadening and deepening of one’s perception and awareness or improvement will never happen. It takes a very skilled teacher to lead you down that ancient path.
Tai Chi is not easy to learn. It is certainly not for everyone, some don’t have the temperament, patience, or perseverance necessary to allow the art to change the core of their being. Steve only teaches the dedicated. Those who are willing to allow the art to change them for the better do really well.
Tai Chi takes time and dedicated daily practice. When progress is made in Tai Chi the ego begins to dissolve, for many this can be frightening. The Tai Chi student must open up the heart and mind and nervous system to receive information. A Tai Chi student must grow from thinking the movements to feeling the movements.
Steve’s vast experience with teaching adults in several varied disciplines and his knowledge of Tai Chi has led him to some unique methods of conveying the art to students. He doesn’t start by having a student learn long complicated forms. Most Tai Chi practitioners are stuck on trying to remember 64, or 108 moves for years, thus are never able understand what the form is actually teaching them.
Steve will start your Tai Chi instruction with the basic principles of the art, then basic movements, stances and Tai Chi stepping. Afterwards, he will teach a few standard movements. This method bypasses the need to learn dozens of movements in the beginning, thus allowing the student to really start to feel and understand what Tai Chi is all about. Only then does he introduce longer forms.
Most Tai Chi classes held once a week are more of a social gathering around the idea of Tai Chi. Real Tai Chi, the kind where you gain a deep understanding of your mind, body, and spirit, and how they integrate, their function and characteristics, can only be obtained from dedicated practice and hard work.
Finding a skilled teacher with the ability to understand Tai Chi as a reflection of Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, and as a martial art is extremely rare in the modern world. The subject is so deep and varied, without the help of a professional instructor you can easily go off track and waste years trying to make progress.
Don’t let that happen to you in your Tai Chi exploration. All you need to get started is the willingness to walk the path of self-discovery. Call and receive two free lessons with no obligation.
021 151 3273