Phoenix Tai Chi Chuan
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Tai Chi FAQ – Phoenix Tai Chi London

I've heard that Tai Chi is an internal martial art?

A: Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) is one of the three Chinese Internal martial arts. The other two being Xing I Quan and Ba Gua Zhang. It is a characterised by soft relaxed movements and trained at a slower speed than other martial arts.

Is there any danger of injury?

A: Tai Chi is essentially a gentle activity; even when practising with a partner the contact is soft and well co-ordinated. There will be no punches or kicks thrown at you and there are no falls or rolls on the ground. The body stays upright in all of the postures, including those in a squatting stance, and the improved sense of balance which is cultivated means that there are no extreme stresses applied to joints or muscles during any of the exercises.

Are classes suitable for men and women?

A: Generally there is a mix of men and women in a class. Women-only classes are a rarity in Tai Chi and it is generally benefical to have a mix of Yin (female) and Yang (male) energy within a class, but you can always choose to train only with women/man partner.

Can I learn Tai Chi using videos or books?

A: Videos and books can serve as aids to learn the set, but can't replace the role of a trained instructor who can offer customized feedback and support as you progress in your practice. The instructor can make sure that your form is correct, effective, and won't cause injury.

Can I park nearby?

A: There is plenty of free roadside parking next to all the venues.

Do you have to be fit to start doing Tai Chi?

A: No, in fact many of the Tai Chi movements can even be adapted to wheelchair users, although some individual attention is required. Do however check with your doctor if you are in any doubt before starting any program of physical exercise. Also let your instructor know of any condition you may have that may restrict your ability to perform certain movements.

Do you run separate classes for beginners?

A: We introduce beginners in a separate area of the hall during the normal training session. The induction is structured towards integration with the main session, usually within a few weeks.

How long does it take to learn the set?

A: It takes about three to four months to learn the basic movements, and be able to do them with a group. Then you can practice in a continuing class which lets you learn to practice on your own, and extends your understanding of the moves and adds additional exercises to aid in developing the health benefits.

If I don't want to learn to fight should I still join the class?

A: Yes, absolutely! Typically, some students will be solely interested in the health and meditative aspects of Tai Chi, while some students will want to pursue its martial applications as well. This class is designed to accommodate at the same time each of these pursuits. For those students that want to avoid the martial pursuit, the class structure and the Tai Chi system itself make this possible. Each student is encouraged to pursue their own path of development and goals.

What are the traditions and etiquette of a tai chi class?

A: A certain amount of respect for the traditions of Tai Chi is required. A bow to your instructor at the commencement and the finish of the training and a bow to your partner at the beginning and end of two person training is expected. Behaviour is required to be respectful to both other students and the class environment. If you want to know more, download Martial Arts Etiquette here

What do you wear for Tai Chi?

A: No special clothing is required but the right outfit can help you move more easily and balance better. Any clothing in which you can move freely is suitable eg. tracksuit bottoms, T-shirts and gym shoes, but you can buy special tai chi footware and trousers.

What is the age range in classes?

A: This varies from class to class but expect a broad range of ages (teens and 20's up to 80's & 90's).

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