Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to wear special clothes or shoes?
Wear comfortable clothing. As for shoes, when you start to learn the form, any comfortable shoes are fine,
such as tennis shoes. Later, when you
learn the second half of the form, consider buying shoes which make it easier to complete the two turns
in the form. Many people wear Chinese shoes with cotton soles. Search for them on Amazon or Ebay with
some variation of the following terms: Chinese Kung Fu Shoes Cotton Sole.
Do I address the teacher in some special form?
Simply address your teacher by his or her first name.
We do not use the terms Sifu or Sensei.
Do students bow in your school?
At the Sunday classes, when we finish, we bow to all the many teachers who have helped us during our
life: the teachers of T'ai Chi Ch'uan, our parents, our school teachers, mentors, . . .
Some people bow when they enter or leave the training space. This is
a personal decision to honor
what will be learned and what has been learned. It is entirely optional.
Are there extra costs besides class fees, such as for color belts or exams?
There are no exam fees or color belts.
Several times a year we bring in national or world-renowned teachers
to run weekend workshops. The workshops are optional, and the costs,
which are partially subsidized by the Association for our members/students,
are in addition to class fees. While these workshops are a wonderful
opportunity for our students, attendance is not required.
What is the progression through the curriculum?
Note: the following describes the progression for the Association classes on Sunday. If you learn this art at another location,
the progression will follow the same general pattern, but the specifics will be different.
Students start by learning the First Circle, which is the first third
of the Solo Form. It takes about 5 months to learn the movements
of First Circle. Most people repeat this Beginning Class before learning
the rest of the form.
Students learn the rest of the Solo Form in the Intermediate Class. Many students also repeat this class.
When students have learned the choreography of the Solo Form,
they move into the Ongoing Class, which focuses on form correction,
and refinement, while introducing new insights.
Students attending the Ongoing Class, are encouraged to participate in
Sensing Hands (2 person form) sessions. Ask your teacher for details.
Also, after beginning the Ongoing class, students may request permission
to learn the Sword Form.
What are the names of the postures?
The book titled Cheng Tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan,
by Professor Cheng Man Ch'ing, lists 37 postures without repetition.
We have added the repetitions, in italics, for clarity.
- Wardoff Left Side
- Wardoff Right Side
- Roll Back
- Single Whip
- Lift Hands
- White Crane Spreads Wings
- Brush Knee, Left
- Play P'i P'a (also known as Play Guitar)
- Step Forward, Deflect Downward, And Punch
- Withdraw and Push
- Cross Hands
- Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain
- Rollback, Press, Push, Diagonal Single Whip
- Look at Fist Under Elbow
- Step Back to Repulse the Monkey, Right Side
- Step Back to Repulse the Monkey, Left Side
- Diagonal Flying
- Cloudy Hands, Right
- Cloudy Hands, Left
- Descending Single Whip
- Golden Pheasant Stands on One Leg: Right Side
- Golden Pheasant Stands on One Leg: Left Side
- Separate Right Foot
- Separate Left Foot
- Turn and Kick with Heel
- Brush Knee, Right
- Step Forward and Strike with Fist (also know as Low Punch)
- Wardoff Right, Rollback, Press, Push, Single Whip
- Fair Lady Weaves at the Shuttle #1
- Fair Lady Weaves at the Shuttle #2
- Fair Lady Weaves at the Shuttle #3,
Fair Lady Weaves at the Shuttle #4, Wardoff Left,Wardoff Right,
Rollback, Press, Push, Descending Single Whip
- Step Forward to Seven Stars
- Step Back and Ride the Tiger
- Turn the Body and Sweep the Lotus with Leg
- Bend the Bow, Shoot the Tiger
- Step Forward, Deflect Downward and Punch,
Withdraw and Push, Cross Hands, Close
What are the five principles?
- Separate Yin and Yang
- Waist is the Commander
- Body Upright
- Beautiful Lady's Hand
Have students noticed health benefits?
I've been practicing T'ai Chi Ch'uan for almost eight years.
The instructors are friendly, human, wise, and patient. I
now walk, sit, eat, drink, breathe, run, and stand
differently. Relaxation is now the core of my body. I have
a sense of balance that I never knew before. My view of
nature itself is richer, more connected, and more joyous.
I feel in touch with pure existence and being.
And I shall never lose beginner's mind.
T'ai Chi has improved my health and balanced my emotions.
I feel very relaxed when I experience Chi flowing through my body.
Overall, I'm more relaxed and have less pain in my knees.
Four years after a stroke, I found that T'ai Chi improved
my balance significantly. I also had a ruptured Achilles tendon that
had resulted in constant pain. This ankle pain has been significantly
reduced. It also helps restore my mood during occasional 'blue'
periods. I feel that the teaching is quite effective and the
atmosphere of the class is very pleasant.
Practicing T'ai Chi has been an invaluable tool for managing stress in my
life. I find that I am more emotionally centered and do not overreact to
the stress of daily life as I once did. Additionally, my ability to
focus has improved immensely. I feel that I can focus more intensely and
for a longer period of time since practicing T'ai Chi Ch'uan. Physically,
my flexibility and leg strength have increased. In addition, I no longer
suffer from insomnia and the former pain in my left shoulder is gone.