Working with A Partner

To learn Tai Chi you need to work with the force of someone else. The empty hand forms will teach you the movements but push hands practice allows you to apply them.

We also have two person exercises that focus on different skills in Tai Chi: redirection, sticking, and using the force of the whole body.

The transition of weight between the legs and keeping the center of the body stable is an important part of fighting. In Tai Chi when doing push hands you're trying to sense the center of the other person while concealing your own. If you're aware of where their center is and when it changes to a weak position, then you can overcome the opponent. Anytime you have to move, you may shift into a weaker stance and if you're opponent is aware of it they can use that to push your center off balance.

Trying to push a partner off balance teaches you to feel how every part affects the whole. The idea is to make your body work together as one integrated unit. Think of it like a group of people tied together. If everyone tries to go in their own direction, no one will be able to get anywhere efficiently. Once everyone picks a direction, they have to learn to move so that they don't step on each other's toes. Communication on what to do as well as practice at doing the actual stepping is required. With enough time and energy the group becomes efficient and moves as one.


Qigong exercises develop your awareness and ability to use energy, also refered to as qi. While Qigong refers to the energy systems and practices from China, most cultures and people have an idea of what energy is and how to work with it. The most fundamental idea is that energy is everywhere in some form, and affects us physically and mentally.

When we practice Tai Chi, we move externally, and move our energy internally.

We use energy to enhance how our bodies respond to change and to maintain a strong position when attacking and defending.

There are many different systems of Qigong: Medical, Martial, Spiritual, and others. The branches can be divided into external and internal exercises. External exercises use the limbs of the body to stimulate and build energy, and that energy is circulated back into the body. Internal exercises work from the inside out using relaxed still positions with an emphasis on circulating the energy at internal points so that it builds up and flows throughout the body.Tai Chi combines elements of both kinds of practice where very part of the body and mind move in unison.

QUestions And Answers

What is Tai Chi and how is it related to martial arts?

A system of fighting that can be used to improve your body and health. Tai Chi works on developing strength and speed in a different way than very-hard-style martial artists, boxers or MMA fighters use, but instead emphasizes body awareness and redirecting the opponent's force against them by using softness, yielding, and redirection.

Who created Tai Chi?

There are different accounts of the original creator of the system. Based on what we know Tai Chi originated in Chen Village. The martial art was practiced and developed in the village for generations up to today. Yang Lu Chang was the first outsider to be taught the form. From it, he developed the Yang style.

Modern Tai Chi has many branches and variations developed by different masters. Chen was the basis for Yang, Wu, Sun, and other family systems. In China the idea of a original or wrong version is left off in favor of the idea of complements. Each type of system is suited to a particular person and situation. Everyone starts with the same principles though. The interplay of yin and yang, using softness to overcome hardness, sensitivity and use of the whole body as an integrated whole, and the development of qi.

Will I be able to learn Tai Chi?

Everyone one starts with the basics. We start with simple moves and ideas that are practiced until the student is comfortable moving on to more difficult material. As you master successive levels of learning you will find that what was previously hard becomes easy and what was complicated becomes simple.

How long will it take me to learn?

Every student sets their own level of learning. If you're able to demonstrate skill with something, we'll give you more to learn. While the forms themselves and the exercises can be learned easily within a year by a very focused student, mastering them and learning them at successive levels of skills can be the pursuit of a lifetime.

How will Tai Chi improve my health?

Tai Chi is an excellent way to increase cardiovascular fitness, strength, and range of motion. The forms and drills slowly develop the body, and we adjust the movements as needed as well so that trying to make the body healthier doesn't cause it to be injured. Something that can often happen with other forms of fitness training where the person isn't given enough time to adjust physically to changes.

Can I use Tai Chi to defend myself?

Yes, but it requires more time to master for a new student. Depending on your background and experience in fighting you may be able to learn the techniques well enough to use in fighting. The ability to use those techniques with ease will depend on the overall strength and skill of your opponent. Tai Chi requires being able to follow the opposing force and turn it back with your own. However, for any person there is always another that has more strength and skill. Even then there is no way to say on the day who will defeat who for sure. Ideally, you try to avoid having to fight anyone in a life threatening situation.

How can soft, slow movements work against someone who is stronger and faster?

Tai Chi is not used slowly in fighting. Tai Chi Demonstrations are done slowly and beginning stages of practice have to be slow because you're paying attention to obvious and subtle aspects of the movements. To practice for fighting and application you start slow and progress to using the techniques quickly and automatically.

Greater numbers in military battles did not always determine victory. An opponent that uses their greater strength as a way to win loses their advantage against a neutralizing skill that is well developed.

Not all opponents use unskilled strength but that opponent would be using more than strength already and in that case the more skilled fighter will usually defeat the less skilled fighter.

If you have more questions, contact us and come try a class to find out more.