Frequently asked questions
What is Taiji?
Meditation in movement – A system for the Development of Inner Strength and Harmony
through Concentration, Co-ordination and Relaxation of Mind, Energy and Body.
Taiji is a movement and martial art which practices the co-ordination of body, energy and mind. The slow, soft and flowing movements facilitate the natural alignment, the co-ordination and relaxation in the body. As a reward for regular practice you begin to experience your individual physical, energetic and mind potential and the development of an inner force. Progress over time deepens the understanding of the origin, the effect and application of that subtle force to which the reputation of Taiji as a mysterious martial art goes back.
"Taiji is in practice what the Dao De Jing – the most well known of the Daoist classics – is in theory. Through the practice of Taiji, Daoist principles can be understood in terms of physical movement; flowing, accumulation and refinement of energy within ourselves; intensifying and deepening consciousness; personal interaction through working closely with other people"1.
What is the difference between Taiji and Qigong?
Who is eligible for enrolment?
Are there any particular requirements to be met? What should I expect?
There is no prior knowledge expected or required. The only prerequisite is the readiness to get into a learning process which over time will challenge you more or less according to your prior condition. If you are physically or psychologically handicapped or limited in terms of sensory abilities, contact me in order to individually design your training.
Which style and which form(s) do you teach?
I practise and teach Yang-Style in the Zheng Manqing tradition as passed on from Master Huang Xingxian to my teacher Patrick Kelly from whom I have learnt since 1994.
I give a first introduction to the Taiji principles through the five loosening exercises of Master Huang. Sensing and partner exercises help to develop self awareness. I teach the short form of Zheng Manqing, meditation, fixed pattern partner exercises, later also the Yang style's longform and the quick fist – a fast form which originates in White Crane.
I have learnt a different Taiji form – can I come only for the push hands training?
To know another Taiji form or have experience in other forms of body work will certainly be useful. Push hands training is meant to develop and deepen sensitivity, and to practise the timing. To become aware of the inner movements in your own body and later to regulate them is a complex process. If a second person becomes involved, as is the case in pushing hands, the complexity will be too high for having a chance to learn something new in that situation. That's why we learn and practise the basics for the push hands in the form, and only if that training aims to develop the vertical, elastic forces it does make sense to study the effects of that force in the partner work.
This is one (but not the only) reason why I don't recommend separating the training of the form and the pushing hands.
How long does it take to learn the form?
Taiji is a sophisticated art which first and foremost requires interest and perseverance. Those who lack these qualities will either develop them or drop out.
The outer moves of the short form could be learnt in a few weeks or months, but experience shows it takes 1 – 2 years. After that, the refinement of the movements and outer details begins, until after several years the form will show more continuity in round, flowing movements. Step by step, more and more inner aspects are being added which in turn change the outer expression. Not different from any other art, the effortlessness of Taiji on a high level is the result of many years of intense training. Fortunately, the benefits for body and mind can be felt from very early stages in the training, and also the allure of push hands makes sure the quest is fun and continues to be thrilling.
The refinement of the form should never stop. Over the years the focus of the training will certainly shift from the outer movements to the inner forces and to the control of the mind.
I don’t have the time to come to class twice a week – is it o.k. to come just once a week?
My offer is designed for regular training in the group, several times a week. You could come only once a week, if you had sufficient prior knowledge in this training system and knew how to train on your own between classes. If that's not the case, I recommend qualified colleagues who offer classes in the once-a-week-format.
Do you offer private lessons?
No, there is enough possibilities for individual consulting and help during and regular classes and workshops.
What is a "suspended training"?
The term refers to a cup of coffee which, in a tradition which has its origin in Naples, Italy, is paid for in advance as an anonymous act of charity. Someone who had experienced good luck would order a sospeso, paying for two coffees but receiving only one. A poor person enquiring later whether there was a sospeso available would then be served a coffee for free.
I proceed with course fees in a similar manner:
Once in a while I receive extra payments from participants who are in a position to contribute more than the regular amount that I ask for. I use this money to grant those in need a discount. The same is true of lapsed down payments that are not needed to cover cancellation costs.