Tai Chi

I teach Tai Chi core principles & mechanics.

Tai Chi is the glue that sticks everything together and fills in the gaps from other martial arts, especially Wing Chun.

Because Wing Chun is a simplified system that focuses on the main things, so Tai Chi is added to smooth it over, plug in its gaps, extend its remit, and generally make it a more cohesive & comprehensive system, without undermining anything important to Wing Chun, because they are still fundamentally very similar artforms.

Tai Chi alone is a comprehensive system, but lacks practical focus and training habits for self defence (in most schools).

So Wing Chun and Tai Chi make a great combination – like Yin & Yang, they are each other’s missing link. Many of the top Wing Chun teachers around the world today combine Wing Chun with Tai Chi – there are even many doing this in the UK – this is testament to how well these two styles of Kung Fu complement each other.

What is Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is a coalescence of Kung Fu (martial art) and therapeutic gentle exercise (for extra health benefits).

In this way, Tai Chi resembles Aikido. Both are described as ‘internal’ martial arts, because they emphasise the cultivation of unseen nourishing & vitalising energy flow, called Qì 气 (in Mandarin) or Ki 気 (in Japanese) or Hei 氣 (in Cantonese) or Hi 氣 (in Hakka).

Many people claim they are doing Tai Chi while interested only in the exercise. Some people do it primarily or equally for combative skill, but this is rarer. So many Tai Chi teachers don’t learn the combative side – some are disinterested in it, and others can’t find good tuition for it.

From the original perspective, Tai Chi is all about practising the most powerful expression of your body. This is rooted in relaxation & balance (Wú Jí 無極 – the source of energy), but goes one step further – it is the disciplined exertion of energy, through your undistracted, sensitive, ever-ready body, towards a target or through a focal point, in the most efficient & effective, and balanced yet powerful way possible, with the help of wholesome breathing, good skeletal alignment, and the best mix of tension & relaxation in certain muscles according to what move you’re doing.

Tai Chi (Tài Jí 太極) etymologically means Great Ridgepole, which may refer to holding up our structure from our crown, like a ridgepole holds up a building’s roof. Or the ridgepole may be our vertical axis – it may refer to straightening the line through our spine up to our crown, roughly along the Dū Mài 督脉 meridian (if we walked on all fours like other animals, this would literally be our skeleton’s horizontal ridgepole). A taut vertical axis is a key part of good Tai Chi posture. In modern context, the Ridgepole (Jí 極) character is also symbolic of any Peak (Tai Chi is the peak expression of energy through a balanced state) or anything Extensive (Tai Chi is about extending energy through our body, to a target).