Tai Chi classes at the Chinese Boxing Academy (CBA) in Baltimore Maryland are challenging, fun, health promoting, stress relieving and sometimes a little humbling. It can be humbling because it can prove difficult to move slowly, in a world where we are compelled to rush!
Class Make Up
There is quite a gamut of different skills levels of practitioners at the CBA. Students range from practitioners of more than 20 years and others are just beginning. The atmosphere of the classes are encouraging and inviting, with senior students willing to lend a helping hand.
There are group activities, individual activities and private instruction all based on the student’s needs. Class size generally ranges from about 10-15 students per one instructor with a senior student assistant.
Beginners will be introduced to the basic upper body movements and stepping as found in the Yang Family 108 movement. Initially, these movements are taught in isolation. Once the student is familiar with the individual movements, the student will be introduced to the form. Beginning students will be given additional reading materials and taught Traditional Chinese Medical concepts and terminology and introduced to Chi gong exercises.
At the intermediate level, students should be familiar with all of the techniques and principles in the 108 movement form and will receive continued instruction on technique and mechanics. At this level, the student should have comprehension of the martial purpose of each technique within the form. Also, at this level personal expression of form and chi circulation should begin to be employed. Typically, this is the time where Tai Chi straight sword and Sticky Hands exercises are introduced as well. Significant improvement to one’s health is often noted by practitioners at this level.
At the advanced level students are proficient in the techniques and principles of the 108 movement form and will receive continued tweaking of technique and mechanics. At this level, the student should have comprehension of the martial purpose of each technique within the form and should be able to use these in an improvisational manner outside of the form if needed. The internal circulation of energy, personal expression of form and chi circulation should be natural. The Tai Chi straight sword form should be finished or close to it and it should be continually worked on to achieve and maintain the highest levels of proficiency. A high level of health should be achieved with efforts to maintain it.
What to Wear
If you are coming in for an initial or free class, be sure to wear comfortable clothing. After the initial class, if it seems the Tai Chi is something that you would like to continue, comfortable clothing plus a black t-shirt is recommended. After a few months, if you are happy with the activity and happy practicing at the school and you think that you could be a long term student, a black CBA uniform t-shirt will be required.
108 Yang Long Form – A slow moving, low impact martial form for health and self-defense. Well known for its longevity promoting properties. It is of Chinese origin and was created by Yang Luchan.
Tai Chi Short Form – The Yang short from is an alternative and abbreviated form of the above suitable when practitioners need to squeeze in a shorter practice.
Chi Gong – Translates to “energy work”. Several Chi Gong or Chi Gung exercises are taught at the CBA to foster internal energy circulation and health.
Sticky Hands – is a fun touch sensitivity exercise designed to teach students how to sense your opponent’s intent while also teaching how not to share your own intent. This is mainly a self-defense application.
Straight Sword – The Chinese straight sword was considered an elite weapon of its time and in the right hands the straight sword could seemingly take on mythical traits. Today, the straight sword is used to further coordination, balance and Chi circulation. Straight sword techniques can also be adopted for use with everyday objects for self-defense.
If you are interested in studying Tai Chi in the traditional manner in the Baltimore metro area, feel free to schedule a free class through the form submit, give us a call, or shoot us an email. Tuition is due the first of the month and can be funded by cash, check or Paypal through the CBA online store.
Tai Chi – The Carrot at the end of the stick
Learning Tai Chi can be likened to taking a trip down the rabbit hole of Alice in Wonderland. How deep does it go? How far can you take it? How far can you take yourself? These are questions you should ask yourself.
More questions… What is it you are trying to gain from your practice? Some are looking for health, but others are looking for self-defense or meditative benefits. How long do you want to practice it? Do you want just a taste or is it something that you would like to master? Tai Chi can be a lifelong journey, if one so chooses. Tai Chi practice can mean different things to different people, thus it is an intensely personal practice even though it is practiced in a group setting.