T'ai Chi and Qigong in Oxford

Oxford Classes in Classical T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Qigong
(Taijiquan and Qigong)

Beginners and experienced newcomers always welcome

Venue: The Cowley Road Methodist Church

Time: Tuesday Evenings from 7.00 - 9.00pm

Private Tuition: Private lessons can be arranged according to individual needs and capacity

Tel: Oxford (01865) 778448 - for information and enrolment details

Some background

Taijiquan or T'ai Chi as it is more commonly written, is the most famous of the three internal schools of martial arts or Neijia. The other two are Xingyiquan and Baquazhang. The internal schools differ from the more widely practiced external schools or Waijia and so called Gongfu in a number of ways. Firstly, traditional exponents of the internal schools tended to concern themselves first and foremost with the promotion of health, longevity and wellbeing, and in addition, the pursuit of greater insight and understanding. Whilst important, the application of the Nei Jia as a fighting art was considered to be an additional bonus. In so doing, they aspired to live in harmony with nature and their surroundings, which in turn reflected the influence of their Taoist origins. Indeed, each of the internal schools exemplify within their practice, specific components and fundamental principles that had been proposed within the Taoist tradition.

The practice of Taijiquan was an attempt to mimic and reflect in its movements, the fundamental principle of Yin and Yang within nature. Exemplified by a continual and harmonious interplay between two seemingly complementary opposites of expansion and contraction, up and down, left and right, full and empty and forward and back; never over-extending or over-exerting, and each movement carefully balanced by an awareness of it's potential opposite. Thus, underpinned by the recognition that the circulation of Qi, could be hindered by extremes of any of the above, and the movements therefore, undertaken in a seemingly soft and gentle manner. Taiji attempted to generate internal harmony by cultivating mental and emotional composure; learning to still the 'chattering mind' through developing Yi or intention and, focussing the awareness on the Dantien or centre. In self-defence the underlying principles sought to borrow from an invading force or attack and utilise this energy in subsequent application or counter attack. This is exemplified in the Taiji Classics by the saying, "To use only a few ounces to move a thousand pounds".

It therefore becomes apparent that the other significant unifying factor of the internal schools was that attention was focussed in the first instance on inner development rather than outer (neigong rather than weigong). Primarily, this took the form of developing an awareness of Qi, it's promotion and it's unhindered circulation throughout the body, but some of its' exponents subsequently sought to transform this abundance of energy into mind or Shen. In so doing they sought longevity, insight and enlightenment.

Classes in Oxford

Jonathan Bruce runs regular classes in Tai Chi and Qigong at the Cowley Road Methodist Church in Oxford. Classes are currently held on Tuesday evenings and are of mixed ability. Periodically Jonathan will open classes to new students, which means that classes for beginners will be held, usually at the same venue but on different evenings.