Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Chen style Tai Chi’

I Learned A Lot Today, Thanks To Our Veterans

Posted by terrepruitt on November 11, 2014

It is Veterans Day today.  A day where we stop and thank our Veterans.  Many thank our Veterans all year round, but this is the day that the government and some stores are closed, other stores have sales, cities have parades, and Facebook feeds are full of black and white pictures in a proud display.  I am grateful for the freedom that has cost so many so much.  Thank you, Veterans, for your sacrifices and service.  Since it is a city Holiday the community centers where I teach my Nia class and yoga class on Tuesdays were closed.  So I decided to take advantage of my morning off and attend a class.  I went to Tai Chi at the YMCA.  The schedule indicates 30 minutes “Intro to Tai Chi” followed by 45 minutes of “Tai Chi”.  My plan was to attend the first one then I would just hang around for the second one to see if I could do it without disturbing the class too much.  Well, at one point several people exited the class.  But the other woman who was new to the class stayed . . . so I thought, “Ok, I’ll stay too.”  We didn’t really follow the clock.  The first portion of the class seemed as if it was Tai Chi exercises, then the second portion was the actual Tai Chi moves.  I learned that there are different styles of Tai Chi.

The instructor went through the beginning slowly as we all followed along, a couple of times.  Then he told us to do it on our own a couple of times.  I couldn’t remember the moves so I was following my neighbors.  Then the instructor did it again with us, then he said to do it on our own without watching our neighbors.  Well, that kind of worked.  Then he asked another woman in the class to take the intermediate people and he would take the beginners.  I felt bad because if there had been a cut and dry end and start I would have left so as not to disturb the intermediate people.  But at the end of class, as I was leaving I thanked the woman who took over the intermediate students and she said that it was ok that is how they do it.  So I felt better.

Right before we broke into the two groups the instructor asked us if we had any questions.  I was going to ask how many moves he had just shown us, but I let it go thinking it was about five.  Then the instructor said to us (me and the other newbie), “So those first two moves are called . . . “.  And I laughed, because what I thought was about five moves was actually only two.  He also explained that he practiced and taught the Chen style.

Just like yoga there is more than just one type of Tai Chi.  In looking for the names of the first two moves (I forgot what he called them.  “Pestle Warrior” did not bring up the move.) I came across this explanation on WikiHow:

#5 of part 1 of 4

“Experiment with different styles. Because all Tai Chi is good, it’s more important that you do any rather than worry about which style is right for you. But once you get immersed in the world, you may want to experiment. Here’s a brief rundown:

—-The Chen
style mixes up the tempo, going very slow and then being explosive. It can be difficult for beginners.
—-The Yang style is the most popular. It has a steady tempo and, as discussed above, uses large frame movements. It’s probably what you think of when you think of tai chi.
—-In Wu, the movements are almost microscopic. This makes it easy to do, but difficult to master — there’s a lot of focus on powerful flows of energy and inner, pressured movements. The movements are very slow and deliberate.
—-The Hao style isn’t very widely spread. You probably won’t find a teacher that practices it.”

So as this says I DO think of the Yang style when I think of Tai Chi.  However, I think the Chen style with mixing up of the tempo is good.  It really aligns with the “balance” of it all.  Fast – slow.  Hard – soft.  Steady – explosive.  Reminds me of the song in the Nia Routine, Zensation, where the focus of the Kata is Tai Chi and we move fast and slow.  We change the tempo.  That is the Chen style of Tai Chi.

I was very happy I was able to take Tai Chi class.  I even came home and practiced.  I don’t know when I will be able to get back to the class, but I want to try to remember the first two moves.  I am not certain I am doing them exactly right, but I will practice what he said was the most important part and then if I need to be corrected at least I will have a solid base.

And thank you again to ALL the Veterans!

Did you know there are different styles of Tai Chi?  Do you think that you think of the Yang style (as the article states)?  Have you ever taken a Tai Chi class?

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