Science doesn't know everything. But it is beginning to understand what ancient Chinese wisdom has understood a very long time. Tai chi and qigong are powerful. No matter who you are, they can empower you. It doesn't matter if you are young or old, healthy or frail. They can make a vast and surprising difference in your life.
Too few people in our area understand this. In my personal experience, there's a big difference between a) the number of people practising tai chi and qigong, then b) the number of people who would benefit.
Why? Is it because you don't want a calm mind and boundless energy? Is it because you're not interested in improved health and longevity? No, of course not. Understanding and accessibility to the right classes are essential.
These are a couple of reasons why I'm launching a new Tai Chi and Qigong school. Tai Chi Globe Academy (and it's sister site, Tai Chi Globe; I'll explain soon). I want to make it easy to discover the benefits tai chi and qigong for you, alongside the existing tai chi community; who, understandably, struggle to keep up with demand!
What kind of benefits are there? Too many to mention here. Here are a few general ones to give you an idea:
Are you looking for a natural and proven approach to specific health conditions? Again, tai chi and qigong help in a wide variety of ways. Here are a few:
The list above is a thin slice of the benefits. With a growing body of evidence behind them. There's so much to tell you. So I'm also building Tai Chi Globe Academy's sister site, taichiglobe.com. Over time, the website will be feature-rich with; articles on what tai chi and qigong are, the benefits, the research and amazing real-life stories from around the world. There'll also be a tai chi and qigong school directory, to help people find the right instructor for them, wherever they are. I'll also introduce a newsletter to connect you to the vast and diverse tai chi and qigong community.
No brief explanation will do justice to the beauty and depth of these ancient arts. In the coming months, I will explore them more deeply with my readers and students through various channels; articles, public speaking, private workshops, demonstrations and workshops. For the benefit of this article, though, let's make a start.
Tai chi began in China as a martial art several hundred years ago. Sometimes it's been referred to as "moving meditation". Even a "moving medication"!
Watching tai chi, it appears as slow, graceful and continuous movements. Many may be surprised, therefore, how powerful it is as martial art! It also became clear they became healthier. Now, tai chi is often practised for their health benefits; although some still use it as a martial art. While movements have a martial application behind them, some traditional forms have been adapted to work correctly to improve health.
In China alone, millions of people practise tai chi, with millions more worldwide. Fortunately, this has lead to an increased scientific study to understanding its wide-ranging benefits. It's little wonder the NHS is beginning to pay closer attention to how it can benefit us in Britain.
Qigong is the "grammar" of tai chi but has been around much longer. As with tai chi, there are many types of qigong used for different purposes. Qigong means "energy cultivation." Everything is energy, including our body. Qigong helps you to move energy within our your body and even increase it. How is that useful? The benefits listed above gives you a taste of the answer. Low or reduced movement of "qi" (energy) within us leads to illness. Qigong practitioners have understood this for thousands of years. And through the study of nature, they discovered how to cultivate qi effectively.
The list of benefits alone may explain why I'm passionate about sharing tai chi and qigong with you.
I have practised these arts for over four years. I care about sharing the benefits of tai chi and qigong with you. I commit to this to the very best of my ability. It's why this year, I worked hard to become qualified as a British Health Qigong Instructor and a Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Health Instructor. These are part of an ongoing commitment to my students to provide correct and well-researched instruction. Not least, I add these to my years of practice with my friend, mentor and instructor, Sifu Keith Fensom; who has taught me a range of forms and continues to do so.
There is no hurry in tai chi. Every class, I teach something new, then break it down into small parts to make it easier to understand. I plan each class carefully. However, I listen to the needs and goals of my students. Plans are adapted if need be. You'll not be picked out from the group or asked to do something that makes you feel uncomfortable. Everything is done entirely within your comfort range. We say if it doesn't feel right, don't do it!
This year, Tai Chi Globe Academy is proud to teach Dr Paul Lam's Tai Chi for Arthritis and Fall Prevention Programs. By practising the Program regularly, many have found significant pain relief and an improved sense of wellbeing within a short time. Reports of benefits include:
I'm equally as proud to teach health qigong and the 12-step Daoyin Health Preservation Exercises. The steps apply principles of health preservation in line with mental cultivation. Each step has its list of psychological and physical benefits.
These are on the "main menu." but are by no means an exhaustive list of what's already on offer to learn. I intend to be adding more to the syllabus on an ongoing basis.
Instructor and Founder of Tai Chi Globe and it's Academy