Welcome to our group.
The art of energetics is a profound and advanced holistic training system for the benefit of yourself and your interface with others, we teach in classes, we also teach privately and corporately.
The techniques are based on the ancient Chinese arts of Chi-Kung (qigong) and Tai-Chi (taiji).
There are many perceived reasons to pursue a self development process like this :- Health, Longevity, Healing, Relaxation, Stress relief, Confidence building, Self defence, Self esteem, Internal strength and fitness.
These are all facets of Yin and Yang, and if we are looking to change ourselves and/or add additional life skills it means we perceive ourselves as out of balance.
We as a group see the expression of this imbalance in the Taoist energetic philosophy of the opposing yet balanced forces of Yin and Yang that are behind the continually universal creation process.
The techniques, forms and skills of energetics are a varied and a very effective means of bringing you back into balance, but you must realise that what you perceive consciously about yourself at any one time is rarely the full picture, and the *major* benefit of this training is the creation of the sensitivity and awareness skills about understanding yourself and others that is at the heart of this training.
So don't be surprised if you come to us wanting relaxation and healing and you eventually get fascinated by self defence and martial skills and visa versa, it is just the process of balance working its way through you.
Peace and stability comes with balance not by the pursuit of desire, which is inherently unbalanced by its very nature.
Whatever age, apart from the modern growing process of youth, benefits from this training. Gender, fitness, size or nature is no hindrance to development, we all carry our own burdens.
|CHI KUNG (Qigong)|
Meditation and exercises based on the principles and concepts
of this ancient Chinese art, some aspects of which go back over 3000
years, for developing internal energy or Chi (Qi), for healing and health. It
is based on meditation techniques and relaxed exercises.
Energetics falls into both camps but is primarily preventative. To take the holistic or body, mind and soul approach, you have three distinct personas that make up you as an entity.
You have a physical being, the one that you see in the mirror everyday, it is a biological organic machine that can break down and will wear out, being organic it is also subject to other biological machines hijacking it for their own purposes (fungi, bacteria and viruses).
You are also a reasoning and calculating being, this is the person doing the observing of you in the mirror. It is a biological organic computer that as with the modern electronic version can be subject to overload, information loss, or when the program gets corrupted, crashing.
Within these two physical personas is the energetic persona that makes it all work, and also provides the emotional aspects to your life. From the spark of life given to you at conception this energy is the means by which everything “works”, your energetic being. In Chinese. It is referred to as Chi (Qi), in Japanese Ki and in India Prana. It can manifest itself in many different ways that western science is only just beginning to understand.
Each organ and bodily function has its own energy dedicated to its correct function, dictated by your genetic programming and controlled by your unconscious mind. This energy causes the growth, sustaining, and ultimately the decline of our physical and mental being. The purist form of this energy is given to us at conception and is referred to in some cultures as soul or spirit, it is the last energy to leave the machine when the lights finally go out. All the other energy we use and retain throughout our lives comes from the food we consume and the air that we breath, and the quality of this fuel is important for the quality of the resulting energy.
Energetics is the process of creating a “battery” within the body in which we can store spare or free energy, it also provides techniques for generating and directing that spare energy. In eastern philosophies there are many of these areas or centres in the body, in the sub-continent they are referred to as Chakras, in Chinese culture as Dan-tien. These areas are designated separately for physical, emotional or mental energies.
In energetics we initially concentrate on the physical or growing and healing energy, which we train you to develop and concentrate at your physical centre (centre of gravity and mass) inside the belly between the kidneys, these reserves of energy help you fight off common ailments and help to forestall the onset of more serious complaints. We then train you to be able to move this energy with your mind for correcting structural weaknesses, repairing damage or to regenerate wear. This is done by training the conscious mind to direct or move that energy by using our will or intent.
These classes are used as an introduction to the Tai-Chi art,
or for people who do not want to make a commitment to the full art. It
is for physical, mental and emotional control and flexibility. It is for
people not so much interested in the martial uses of the internal energy
(Chi) as the generation of it for health. It is less difficult to learn
than the full art.
|TAI-CHI CHUAN (Taiji Quan)|
Chuan means fist or boxing and denotes Martial Art Training,
as well as the above, it is for learning how to use the internal energy
(Chi) for self defence. The Tai-Chi Chuan Class has the same training as
the Chi-Kung and Tai-Chi Classes plus learning the Traditional Long
Forms (Hand, Long Sword, Broadsword), Pushing Hands (Single, Double,
Sensitivity, Ta-Lu) and Energy Work (Fa-Jing, Kong-Jing, Ting-Jing,
Tai-Chi is a tool to help you change the
things that you need to change in your life. It is not a religion or a
controlling philosophy, but the training it provides enables you to
understand and help yourself. The ancient Chinese book The I Ching
states that the balance of Yin and Yang energies physically, mentally
and emotionally are essential to mankind’s well being, and also it
states that as nature is always in motion then mankind should follow
nature and exercise and strengthen itself continuously.
Good exercise leads to good health, high
spirits and rational thinking, but many forms of exercise and sport have
built in limitations, your own fitness, age, strength, speed, gender,
can prevent your participation and the gaining of the benefits. Tai
Chi is different - with a skilled instructor Tai Chi will adapt to you,
even severe disabilities will often not preclude you from gaining
For hundreds of years westerners have
been puzzled at seeing Chinese people from all walks of life enjoying
this effortless looking, rhythmical ballet like exercise, which is
normally performed at dawn and dusk in China and in any part of the
world where there is an established Chinese community. The Chinese
say that if you practice Tai Chi correctly and regularly you will gain
the pliability of a child, the health of a lumberjack and the peace of
mind of a sage.
So what is Tai Chi? It can be proved to
trace back to at least the beginning of the 18th century with the
Chen family in Henan province in Eastern China, though there are many
other theories about its origins, including it being passed down by the
gods in a dream to a Taoist immortal called Chang San Feng who was
supposed to have lived for nearly 300 years from the early years of the
13th century. There has certainly been a fog laid over the true origins,
but this art or something very similar has been slowly developing and
refining for probably over a thousand years.
Tai Chi is a physical, mental and
spiritual discipline, quite similar in some respects to Yoga and other
eastern esoteric arts which cultivate the internal energy system. These
systems are known as the internal arts, as opposed to the external arts
which rely on muscle power and strength. In Tai Chi we use the mind and
not muscle to move the internal energy or Chi. This creates tremendous
power, which when used by a master is irresistible.
No matter how strong you are in muscle
power you can always meet someone who is stronger, there is only one
thing that can surmount the power of muscle and that is the combined
power of mind and Chi. The relentless power of Chi used with correct
soft and yielding Tai Chi techniques will overcome the hard and
aggressive power of muscle. Tai Chi movements are carried out with a
relaxed body and a relaxed but concentrated mind. There must be no
muscle tension in order to allow the Chi to flow naturally.
There are six aspects to Tai Chi (Chuan):-
1 THE HAND FORM OR SET
Moving slowly under the trees, breathing
it seems in time with a gentle breeze; merging with nature itself into a
healing rhythm. Head, shoulders, arms, trunk, legs and feet moving as
one; continuously smoothly and restfully; as if swimming into a new, all
pervading element; a different time, a different space..... Poor words,
but an attempt to convey the experience of performing the movements of
the Tai Chi form. The movements of Tai Chi are based on the
co-ordination of the mind, the inner body and the outer body. The whole
Tai-Chi Chuan form is divided into 3 parts, there are about 88 postures
which take about 15 minutes to complete. The Tai-Chi classes use just
the first part of this form, which takes 3 minutes to complete. When
done correctly, there is a picture of perpetual motion in a circular
form. The whole body is involved in all movements so that the student
becomes aware of his or her entire body, not just some areas as are
emphasised in some exercise regimes, martial arts and spiritual
disciplines. The essence of Tai Chi is to integrate mind, body and
spirit, with none having preference over the other. With practice you
will become stronger, healthier in mind and body, revitalised in spirit,
more relaxed, tolerant and self confident.
2 YIN AND YANG
Tai Chi is intrinsically concerned with
Yin and Yang, the ancient Chinese philosophy of the two forces of
opposites (expanding and contracting etc) that form the physical
universe. In the Yang Family form of Tai Chi each movement is without
beginning or end, each move flows seamlessly into the next one, as Yin
flows into Yang and back into Yin. Yin and Yang are infinite so you can
never achieve the ultimate. Inside each must remain an element of the
other and as the extremes are approached so the desire to return becomes
greater creating the natural flowing oscillation that is the form.
Practising Tai Chi correctly enables Chi
(internal) energies to flow freely within the body, it improves
the quality and strength of these energies and stops them being blocked
or trapped by bad body structure or hard muscle. When these blockages
are removed you can then move with suppleness, poise, lightness and
speed. Chi energy invigorates the whole body and mind, it is an
effective re-vitaliser and the application of it is used by many people
to de-stress themselves from the pressures of modern life. In the hands
of a true Tai Chi master the use of Chi is the ultimate of martial arts
and even for senior students the power is usable. This energy can be
projected externally as well as for internal use, its application can be
both martial (Yang) and healing (Yin).
4 PUSHING HANDS
Pushing Hands is for the Tai-Chi Chuan
students only. Yang Cheng Fu (3rd Generation) said only by knowing
myself can I know other people. The Form and Chi Kung are about knowing
yourself, Pushing Hands is about knowing other people. This practice is
between two people, the aim is to try to uproot or get your partner off
their balance without using any muscular force, this is the Yang or
attacking side. The Yin or defensive side to the practice is the
absorbing and or deflection of your partners energy as they try to push
you. A very important part of the skill is the sensitivity to your
partners energy to obtain clues as to what they are about to do and also
disguising your own actions and not giving any clues to your own
intentions. The only way to do this is to stay soft and avoid the use of
any muscle power. These practice forms help train your reactions and
abilities to use Tai Chi in a self defence situation. With a lot of
practice you can develop great sensitivity and fast reactions. There are
many variations but the basic ones are single, double and sensitivity.
More advanced techniques such as Ta-Lu and San-Sau come into later
training. In the two person forms, pushing hands or in self defence one
never meets Yang with Yang as this is the meeting of force with force
and will automatically bring hard self defeating muscle power into play.
When facing Yang energy the response is to yield with Yin and absorb or
deflect until you can respond back with Yang when your partners energy
is diverted or dissipated.
5 AND 6 SELF DEFENCE AND WEAPON FORMS
Perhaps we need to say here that the more
vigorous applications of Tai Chi Chuan are only a part of Tai Chi. For
many people the softer, more meditative and spiritual aspects are far
more appropriate. But Tai Chi is a powerful form of self defence, each move
of the form has its logical application in practical combat, if the
posture cannot be related to this it is clearly incorrect, even if you
are only interested in the health benefits of Tai Chi. There are
also weapons forms that come into the training of senior students such
as Sword, Broadsword, Staff and Spear. At this stage you should realise
how violent Chinese society was over 100 years ago and even though the
use of these weapons in the modern age is very unlikely the principles
involved are important to advanced Tai Chi practice. The techniques for
weapons training are identical with the other forms and so they have the
same benefits on general health and fitness.
In the Tai-Chi Chuan classes you would
first learn the structure of the moves of the Large Frame form, initial
teaching known as Square Form. On finishing this you would then learn
how to apply Yin and Yang to these structures and release Chi energy
(open/closed) with the moves, this is known as Round or Circular Form.
On satisfactory completion of this you will be eligible to study the
Middle Frame or advanced form.
The Tai-Chi classes are repetitive
training of the first part of the Square Form for health and internal
fitness, you can try either at your wish at any time. There is a clear
and logical process within the group for your progress in learning this
fascinating art. If you wish to progress or just want the exercise and
the good health and harmony Tai Chi will adapt to you to fit to your
lifestyle and satisfy your needs and wants.
It is possible to learn Tai Chi simply as
a form of exercise and many teachers teach it this way. I hope we have
conveyed to you that real traditional Tai Chi goes very much deeper than
that. What makes real Tai Chi so different from other exercises is
its concern with the understanding of the use and circulation of vital
Chi energy, which in its purest form is the energy of life. Only when it
is taught with a holistic approach will you understand this and truly
get the full benefits that Tai Chi Chuan has to offer. The only way
to prove the existence of Chi energy is to experience it for yourself.
With practice the movements of the forms can be done without effort and
with a completely relaxed body. The postures then become supple, relaxed
but also very powerful and no amount of physical force, applied by
another person, can overcome them.
Tai Chi is both simple and complex and
your association with it can be casual or committed, the choice is
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT IN A CLASS?
From the early years of development of Tai Chi up to the present century, the correct methods and techniques have been kept secret within the Tai Chi families.
Within the traditional Tai Chi families, knowledge of the full secret techniques, were handed down carefully from father to eldest son or if no eldest son was available then an adopted 1st disciple.
The circumstances have now changed, there is no longer any great need for secrecy and the patriarchal barriers are now mostly removed.
Tai Chi has never been regulated by an official organisation and there are no belts or certificates and therefore competition or ego should never enter into Tai Chi classes.
Your instructor should always treat you as an equal, but it is your duty to recognise and show respect to your instructor and to the senior students within your class.
You should also treat all your fellow students with understanding, friendliness and consideration.
It is important to have faith in your teacher, but at the same time you should test the truth of his or her advice by putting it into practice and coming to your own conclusions.
Do not be too quick to accept teaching at face value. When you hear advice, contemplate the meaning, and then put it into practice, and then be aware of the experience, and then learn from that experience.
WHAT CLOTHING IS NEEDED?
There is no need to buy any special clothing for practising Tai Chi. Any loose fitting clothing which allows you to move with complete freedom is suitable.
Tracksuit trousers are ideal for giving freedom of movement, even during the more expansive positions of the form.
For the feet you will need light footwear that does not have a raised heel. Some students do wear trainers, but these are too heavy and cumbersome for sensitive contact with your root (the ground) and tend to make quick movements more awkward. If the floor surface is comfortable you can practice in bare feet in your early training but later on some protection for the foot will be necessary for advanced training.
WHAT ARE THE TRADITIONS AND ETIQUETTE OF A TAI CHI CLASS?
A certain amount of respect for the traditions of Tai Chi is required. A bow to your instructor at the commencement and the finish of the training and a bow to your partner at the beginning and end of two person training is expected.
Behaviour is required to be respectful to both other students and the class environment.
HOW MUCH EFFORT IS INVOLVED IN TAI CHI?
When you begin Tai Chi the experience is probably new and strange, but you will become more familiar with the Tai Chi way of moving and expressing your energy in a gradual way - the process takes time.
You will find it helpful if you remember to approach Tai Chi in a relaxed way, and let your interest and involvement develop at its own natural pace.
Studying and trying to learn in a class can be a tense activity, particularly if the pace of the class is too fast for you. However, it is not necessary to learn everything on the first hearing, as there will be a great deal of repetition.
CAN ILLNESS, INJURY OR DISABILITY STOP ME TRAINING IN TAI CHI?
If in doubt consult your Doctor, but don't necessarily expect him or her to understand what Tai Chi is.
If you have any physical injuries or weaknesses your practice can be adapted around them by your instructor, and it is rare for Tai Chi exercise not to improve or alleviate any problems or complaints. For example Tai Chi is an excellent method for improving your posture.
The use of strength and power comes from your understanding of your relationship with and contact to the ground and weakened or damaged back muscles and joints are greatly improved by this understanding. A by product of this improved posture is the understanding of good habits for lifting and carrying heavy weights.
Tai Chi is about relating to your body as it is and becoming in tune with that inner experience so that you can find ways of expressing your energy in a more natural way.
Whatever problems you have to work with in your body there need not be any serious restriction to your practice if you are able to find the way to adapt your Tai chi, with the help of your instructor, while conforming to the principles of the art. This is true also for those who have physical disabilities and are not able to practice Tai Chi in a conventional way.
Our instructors will be able to help you adapt the Tai Chi postures and movements to accommodate your particular difficulties.