Yang-style Tai Chi is the most popular form in the world, with millions of practitioners. Since the Yang family popularized Tai Chi during the 1800s, the form has been passed down from teacher to student in an oral tradition, resulting in a wide variety in the way the form is practiced. No matter which version of the form you practice, the essential principles and structure within the movements are basically the same.
The Southwest Center for Taoist Studies begins the student with the 36 posture Yang style form created by Professor Chen Man-Ching. This form is easy to learn and is practiced in almost every state and country. The Student can progress to other forms, weapons and two person practices.
Beginning to learn Tai Chi can be daunting, as you realize the traditional form can seem very long, and there are many details to be aware of. But like any classical art, you simply start at the beginning and allow yourself to learn at your own pace. Once you've learned the movements and can maintain a sense of relaxation, you can enjoy Tai Chi as a moving meditation which will lead you deeper into investigating the energetic aspect of the art
Tai Chi Chuan, which is sometimes transliterated from Chinese as "Taijiquan", means "Supreme Ultimate Fist". It was originally developed as an internal martial art, which emphasizes softness and roundness over using brute force. By learning the originally-intended purpose of a Tai Chi movement, which is known as its martial application, you will learn the finer points of exactly where your hands and feet should be. The Southwest Center for Taoist Studies can offer the student training in all areas of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan.
With roots in ancient Chinese culture dating back more than 4,000 years, a wide variety of exercise forms have developed within different segments of Chinese society in Traditional Chinese Medicine for preventive and curative functions. Although the term qigong has been traced back to Taoist literature of the early Tan Dynasty (618-907 AD), the term qigong (Chi Kung) as currently used was promoted in the late 1940s through the 1950s to refer to a broad range of Chinese self-cultivation exercises.
Qi (or chi) is most often translated as life energy, referring to energy circulating through the body; though a more general definition is universal energy, including heat, and light; and definitions often involve breath, air, gas. Qi is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. Gong (or kung) is often translated as cultivation or work, and definitions include practice, skill, mastery, merit, achievement, service, result, or accomplishment, and is often used to mean gongfu (kung fu) in the traditional sense of achievement through great effort. The two words are combined to describe systems to cultivate and balance life energy, especially for health.
In 1949, Liu Guizhen established the name "Qigong" to refer to the system of life preserving practices that he and his associates developed based on Dao yin and other philosophical traditions.
Chinese Medical Qigong include the Yin-Yang and Five Phases Theory, Essence-Qi-Spirit Theory, Zang-Xiang Theory, and Meridians and Qi-Blood Theory. The exercises are designed to create a balanced flow of qi. Qi is believed to be cultivated and stored in three main energy centers and to travel through the body along twelve main meridians.
The Southwest Center for Taoist Studies offer a variety of Qigong exercises designed specifically for the practitioner along with newly developed protocols for many medical conditions.