Q: Are classes open to beginners / Do I need to be experienced?
A: Classes are open to beginners and experienced alike. The pace of the classes is such that it is easy to fit in to them at any level of experience. There is one section of the class (the sequence of movements called the ‘Form’) which new folk usually find easier in the specified Beginner’s Classes, so it often helps to attend those – at least in the beginning. Otherwise many of the other exercises can be learned fairly quickly, and then refined with continued practice.
If you can’t make one of the beginners classes – you can attend one of the other classes if you don’t mind doing some catching up in the Form sequence mentioned above. (Back to top)
Q. Do I need to book a place?
A: Its usually a good idea to contact me first if you can. Most people come for a taster class to see if it suits them and/or is appropriate for them. Also see next question below. (Back to top)
Q: Do I need to sign up to a whole term?
A: No. I offer new people a beginner’s ‘course’ or period of 8 weeks / 2 months, (this is on a pay-as-you-go basis). This gives people a chance to try the art of tai chi without committing themselves long-term. If you wish to continue after this, and the class is suitable for you, you can have a regular, ongoing place in the class if one is available. Spaces are limited so sometimes I may need to ask you to go on a short waiting list.
Q: If I miss a week or two will I miss out important information ?
A: Much of the class consists of exercises and techniques for regular practice which promote health and well-being. There is a fair amount of repetition and refinement of the movements as you progress, so it is often okay to join a class at any time throughout the year (however, see ‘are classes open to beginners?’ question above). Many people attend every week but some attend intermittently if they have other commitments. (Back to top)
Q: Do I need to pay for a whole term up front? How much per class?
A: No, just pay on the day for each class – the fee is £5 (concession) or £6 (working). (with the exception of Carlton on Trent class) (Back to top)
Q: Is tai chi a martial art?
A: It can be. However, it is not taught as a martial art in my classes – as we focus on the health, slow exercise and meditative aspect of tai chi. These days most people want to practice it in this way to enhance their health and well-being.
The Taoist Arts Organisation offer some very good classes in Lincoln (where I first learned Tai Chi, in fact) and Boston which often incorporate the martial art aspect as well as the health aspect of Lee/Li style tai chi. (Back to top)
Q: Are the classes open to people of any age?
A: Yes. The vast majority of the exercises and techniques are fine for people of most ages to accomplish. Most group members are active retired people, though some are younger and still in regular work. (Back to top)
Q: Do I need a certain level of physical fitness and good health to attend?
A: The pace of the exercises is usually slow and appears quite gentle. As you may know, the health form of Tai Chi is renowned for its low impact on joints and its accessibility to people of almost any age. The class does require you being on your feet for one hour, but it is fine to sit out and take a break. (Back to top)
Q: Are there any floor exercises / do I need a mat?
A: I do not currently do floor-based exercises, as they are unsuitable for some of my class members (Back to top)
Q: Do I need special clothing?
A: Any loose fitting clothing is fine. Try to avoid wearing anything that restricts your movement. Flexible training shoes or plimsoles are great, or light, flexible shoes can be okay too. (Back to top)
Q: Can Tai Chi help me with my specific illness / health problem?
A: Tai Chi does not usually treat one particular injury or illness, unless it is specially adapted (for eg. at Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health Institute) . It works in a general way by helping to improve the overall health and well-being of body and mind. It is also often seen as a form of preventative medicine/exercise. Despite that, people do regularly report improvements in flexibility, breathing problems, stiffness in joints/muscles, stress levels, balance and numerous other benefits. (see also About Tai Chi page)
Tai Chi instructors (myself included) usually do not have the specialist knowledge that your own doctor/health practitioner has, nor do they have the time in the class to conduct a proper health assessment. Therefore I always recommend checking with your own doctor/specialist first if you have any health concerns before starting a Tai Chi class. (Back to top)
Q: Is your tai chi part of a particular style?
A: Yes, it is the Lee (or Li) style as originally taught in the UK by Grandmaster Chee Soo. (Back to top)
Q: Do you practice Qi Gong (or Chi Kung) as well as Tai Chi in your classes?
A: Yes. There are numerous breathing and movement-based exercises in the class which are a type of Qi Gong exercise. In this style of tai chi they are sometimes called K’ai Men exercises. Put very simply, many authorities say that Tai Chi itself is a form of Qi Gong. (Back to top)
Q: Can we learn to levitate in your classes?
A: I tried to start a levitation class but it never got off the ground (Back to top)
Q: Will there be other jokes of such high quality in the class?