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Monday & Wednesday mornings, 9-10 am

58 Cecil St. (north of Dundas, south of College, a few steps east of Spadina)

Instructor Brian Milani

Yang style as originally taught by Master F. Y. Mai

 

sps0014.jpgTai Chi Chuan (or Taijiquan, meaning "Great Ultimate Fist") is a traditional mind-body discipline, arising from the Chinese martial arts, with positive applications far beyond self-defence in health, meditation, self-development and social relationships.  It is one of the three main "internal" styles of kung-fu.  (The others are Xingyiquan ["Form of Mind Fist"] and Bagua Zhang ["8 Trigrams Palm"].)  Whatever one’s main tai chi interest is—fitness, health, relaxation, self-defence--Cecil Tai Chi can help players to attain their goals.  We have a balanced program including qigong, standing meditation, drills, partner work, push hands, and the Long Form—all within a friendly relaxing 50 minutes, twice a week.  

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The slow-motion Long Form is at the core of the art.  You can click here, or on the picture of Master Fu Yuan Mai to see him perform his Yang style Long Form.  He taught at Cecil for several years before retiring to Hong Kong after the passing of Mrs. Mai, who was also a very proficient tai chi player and teacher.  Cecil classes are now taught by a former senior student of Mr. Mai.  Mr. Mai's form is classical Yang style—known for its slow, round and continuous movements; but he performs it with a relatively compact frame, with tight circles, easily adaptable to push hands and practical self-defense applications.  Within the essential principles of tai chi, students learn to express their own way of movement. The Long Form takes anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes to complete, depending on the speed of its performance.

 

Drills, Qigong and Standing Meditation

Tai Chi as a complete discipline involves more than the Long Form.  Being an internal art, Sphere8.bmpTai Chi puts great emphasis on the use of the mind.  Standing meditation, or Zhan Zhuang, is a way of attaining deep relaxation quickly and developing what internal martial artists call "whole body power".  It helps players develop sensitivity and find proper alignments.  Qigong, which literally means "life energy cultivation," refers to exercises that can contribute to healing, relaxation, fitness, self-defence, spiritual development and more.  At Cecil St., we do 26-movement qigong set as a 3-min. warm-up to the Long Form. And we also we perform selected qigong movements to enhance energy-flow and flexibility.  We also practice individual drills—which are usually variations of movements from the Long Form—since it is sometimes desirable to do multiple repetitions to cultivate body memory.

 

Tai Chi Partner-Work and Relationship

While Tai Chi itself can be considered a form of qigong, it is much more than an SnakeCreepsDown.jpgindividual health or energy practice.  We are not just focused on finding our individual centres, but on finding our right place among other centres.  It involves relationship in a central way, even when doing the form alone.  The original Chinese philosophical concept of "tai chi"—expressed in the symbol —refers to the birth of yin and yang from the Cosmic Void, and how this interplay of yin and yang animates and governs all of life.  Tai Chi Chuan is a martial art that strives to feel & use this yin-yang interplay in movement—expanding & contracting, filling & emptying, gathering & discharging.  Besides every movement having yin & yang elements, the form itself is a pantomime of martial conflict.  As the ancient masters said, "always do the form as if you are fighting, and fight as if you are doing the form."  Visualizing an imaginary opponent is necessary to fully feel the energies involved.  The different forms of partner-work we do are not competitive, but to help each other find how to centre, root, blend and flow.  All our partner-work strives to cultivate this sensitivity.

 

Self-Defense, Push Hands and Weapons

Tai Chi Chuan can be a very effective form of self-defense, but it is very different than PushHands1.jpgexternal martial arts focused on developing speed, physical power, and aggressive action.  Tai Chi emphasizes blending and harmonizing with the 'opponent's' force, gently redirecting his/her energy in a safe direction.  To do this, the Tai Chi player must maintain a centred and balanced mind, since any strong emotion like fear or anger will diminish the player's sensitivity.  This mindset of harmony is useful not only for dealing with physical conflict, but also for dealing with everyday psychological and social conflict.  Practicing Tai Chi's Push Hands with a partner, therefore, develops skills of harmonious response that can be applied to many areas of life. 

At Cecil St., weapons practice (like Yang-style sword) and San Shou (2-person choreographed sparring) are optional, but they are also designed as kinds of biofeedback to aid the player develop energy skills. 

 

Membership and Registration

Cecil Tai Chi is open to all who take out a membership at the Cecil Community Centre—which costs as little as $6 a year.  For more details on membership see this.  And check out all the other programmes offered by the Centre at its official website:

http://cecilcommunitycentre.ca/

 

For More Information

Contact Brian Milani here

 

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