Jeff Smith began learning Tai Chi from a book when he was fifteen. Years later he furthered his education of Tai Chi with lessons from a Tai Chi instructor. He has been practicing and teaching the open hand Yang form since then, later incorporating the practice of a Yang style staff form and a Yang style sword form. His interests include many different ideas and philosophies including Taoism, volunteerism, backpacking and gardening to name a few. He considers himself a student who is always learning and finds that he learns the most when he teaches. From 2006 to 2011, he was the president of the Hai Gui* Tai Chi group at OCC in Royal Oak MI
Tai Chi is a moving meditation. When practicing, you concentrate on the movements, on the breath and on the energy flowing through your body.
The class will meet for 1.5 to 2 hours, and people of all skill levels practice together. The last 1/2 hour will be for students with more advanced experience.
The class will follow this format:
1. Simple breathing exercises to clear the mind
2. Simple stretches to loosen up
3. Review the form
4. Questions & answers
5. Learn new postures
6. Practice the form again
Different exercises and forms of meditation will be intermixed on different days to give variety and to teach different aspects of the practice.
Guidelines for Tai Chi
· It is best to practice well after eating but not while hungry.
· Wear lose and comfortable clothing that will cover the body during stretching, turning and bending. For the benefit and safety of all group participants the following dress code is encouraged:
Full T-shirt with no midriff showing. Pant legs past the knees. o All clothing fully intact with out large holes and self-sustaining around the waist.
· The mind should be clear and free and not under heavy stress.
· Practicing Tai Chi should not hurt. If anything feels uncomfortable bring it to the instructor’s attention so that corrections can be made.
· Practice of Tai Chi is non-competitive. Everyone will have different abilities and range of motion.
Practice of Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a form of Chi Kong or a breathing exercise. Because of the many branches, teachers and students of Tai Chi, the Yang forms taught at different schools can look very different from each other. It is open for debate on how important the exact movements need to be to practice Tai Chi. What is fully understood is that there are principles to practicing. These principles include but are not limited to:
· Hip over heal and knee over toes.
· Shoulders over the hips.
· Every movement flows to the next, no body part stops.
· Everything moves in circles.
· The breath leads the body.
· The spine must remain straight.
· The knees are bent.
· Hands generally stay below the shoulders.
· Never lock a joint, 98% extension.
· Do not pivot a foot that has your full body weight.
· Have Fun!