Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoy the course, but lessons are hard to find I have enjoyed watching the lectures and following the lessons, but my practice of the 24-movement form would be easier if the lessons could be accessed from the menu. To access the lessons quickly, you have to create your own list of lectures and the times when each lesson starts.
Date published: 2021-04-22
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Learning to Play Guitar: disappointing Disappointing. If you want to learn some history of guitar playing, see pictures and hear names of influential guitar players (but not hear them playing), and hear an excellent musician playing his guitar, then this is a good course. But if you want to learn to play guitar, I recommend looking elsewhere. The actual instruction part is small and takes leaps from some basics to improvising with too little in between.
Date published: 2021-04-19
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too much talking This class is awful if you want to spend your time learning tai chi. It is dominated by talk and stories.
Date published: 2021-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even for the clumsy! I am learning a lot from David-Dorian Ross, even though I've never attempted tai chi before. I'm improving, and really enjoying the course.
Date published: 2021-03-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from too much talk i was looking for a practice and not lecture...
Date published: 2021-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Life Changing Journey In my opinion, Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong instructed by David-Dorian Ross was an excellent introduction to the world of tai chi chuan and qigong. Although I had never experienced the philosophy or practice of either set of exercises, I felt that instructor Ross inspired me to continue trying until I eventually was able to perform the complete twenty-four movement routine, and many of the Qigong exercises. I have to say, however, that it required significant time, and there were lapses when I allowed several months to go by before starting over. Any student who does manage to successfully complete this course (and that means one who is able to perform the complete routine without prompting), will have a significant sense of accomplishment. Unlike many of the other great courses, Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong is not one that can be completed successfully sitting at your desk or on your couch. In other words, it is not completely academic learning. Rather, a significant amount of time is required in practicing not only the 24 movement “Yang short form,” but, in addition, practicing many of the various Qigong exercises such as the Dances of the Five Animals, and the Eight Pieces of Brocade. In addition, Mr. Ross teaches various aspects of eastern thought to help anyone who wants to seriously immerse him/herself in this course. For example, the course covers such subjects as balance and harmony, health and fitness benefits of tai chi, the history of tai chi, martial arts, Chinese medicine, meditation, to name a few. For me, the benefits have been a healthier lifestyle which have benefited my physical health. In addition, it has given me a better understanding of such things as balance and harmony, breath control, and the ability to calm myself in stressful circumstances. I noticed several people complained about the course because the instructor is facing the student on the screen when performing the exercises. In fact, Mr. Ross has, in many cases, superimposed a smaller video in the bottom corner of the screen to show what he is doing from behind. Regardless, whether he is teaching you on screen, or whether you are in a gym, the instructor usually faces you when teaching. It just requires practice, patience, and time. If the student refuses to give up, he/she can eventually accomplish this course and be greatly rewarded. If I can do it, most anyone can. In any case, this is one of the most life changing courses I have ever taken on the great courses. When I first started out, I simply thought it would be fun. But in seriously listening to the lessons, and practicing the movements over and over, it has truly changed my life and made me feel better, and I believe it will do the same for anyone who refuses to give up. I appreciate the time and effort Instructor Ross rendered in developing and supporting this course.
Date published: 2020-12-13
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Definite health benefits! I am now working on the 4th dvd, and one thing that I do not understand is why not use the words "right" and "left"?? Such as turn to your "right", raise your "left" foot, "right" hand on top versus this hand on top, turn this way, raise this foot....ect. These simple words would make following along less confusing and at times frustrating! Overall, this is my first introduction to tai chi, and I am certainlu experiencing benefits in only a couple of weeks. As far as this being a good introduction to tai chi, I can not comment as I have not tried other methods of learning. This was just a Great Courses that I picked up on eBay for $8 along with about 10 other titles as a bulk purchase from a seller. I find the Great Courses an excellent way to help me through hibernation here in Minnesota. Again, I do enjoy and find health benefits from tia chi and for the most part think David is a good teacher, just needs to improve his communication better with those two simple words right and left. I think he takes for granted a little bit that you are watching, however many times that is what confuses the mind. Overall a good course, just have to be patient, and remember that even learning to walk took time.
Date published: 2020-11-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Never could download the video of Tai Chi I bought Thai about two weeks ago and never could down to my iPad or iPhone. I called customer service three times. The first time, she said a technician would get back to me in 24 hours. Almost one week later, I never heard from anyone. Called two more times, and they were of no help. Please give me my money back. I am very disappointed in your company
Date published: 2020-08-21
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Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong
Course Trailer
The Snake and the Crane
1: The Snake and the Crane

David-Dorian Ross recounts the history of tai chi and qigong, which are closely related practices. Then he introduces the Yang family short form of 24 individual movements, which is the most widely performed tai chi routine. He closes with his top ten tips for your personal practice.

34 min
First Steps in a Journey
2: First Steps in a Journey

Start the first of the qigong exercises, called the Frolic of the Five Animals. You also begin a regular routine of simple tai chi drills. Then learn the first two movements in the 24-movement short form: Opening the Door and Parting the Wild Horse's Mane.

30 min
Harmony and Balance
3: Harmony and Balance

Continue with the Frolic of the Five Animals. Then delve into the concept of harmony and balance embodied in the idea of yin and yang, which inspires the philosophy and practice of tai chi. Close with Crane Spreads Wings in the short form routine.

28 min
The Ultimate Martial Art
4: The Ultimate Martial Art

Tai chi as a martial art is called tai chi chuan (taijiquan), which can be translated as "the ultimate martial art." Investigate the defense and fighting aspects of tai chi, which deepen your appreciation for the power behind this seemingly gentle art. Then learn Brush Knee and Push in the short form.

29 min
The Five Families of Tai Chi Practice
5: The Five Families of Tai Chi Practice

Branch out from the Yang style to see how other families of tai chi perform the movement called Single Whip. Mr. Ross also explains the fascinating history of the five families: Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu/Hao, and Sun. Close with Playing the Pipa in the short form.

35 min
Qigong and the Five Animal Frolics
6: Qigong and the Five Animal Frolics

Learn the final posture in the qigong series called the Frolic of the Five Animals. Then explore the ancient concept of qi, the life force that underlies the practice of qigong and tai chi. Finally, add Repulse the Monkey to your repertoire of the 24-movement short form.

31 min
Energy Exercise-A Branch of Chinese Medicine
7: Energy Exercise-A Branch of Chinese Medicine

Deepen your understanding of qi and its role in traditional Chinese medicine, which is radically different from Western medicine. Discover how qigong and tai chi are designed to manipulate qi energy. Close by performing the next movement in the short form: Grasp the Bird's Tail on the left side.

29 min
The First Pillar of Practice-Forms
8: The First Pillar of Practice-Forms

Learn how to walk with mindfulness. Then study the first pillar of tai chi practice: forms, which are the choreographed dance-like movements that most people associate with tai chi. For the short form routine, practice Grasp the Bird's Tail on the right side.

33 min
The Second Pillar-Push Hands for Two
9: The Second Pillar-Push Hands for Two

Begin a new qigong series called the Eight Pieces of Brocade. Next, explore the second pillar of tai chi practice: push hands, which involves gentle but challenging sparring with a partner. End with a movement called Single Whip.

31 min
The Third Pillar-Standing Meditation
10: The Third Pillar-Standing Meditation

Experience the feeling of standing with proper alignment as you explore the third pillar of tai chi: standing meditation. Experiment with a qigong exercise called Standing Like a Tree. Then lose yourself in the next dream-like sequence of the 24 movements: Waving Hands Like Clouds.

29 min
Benefits to the Heart and Immune System
11: Benefits to the Heart and Immune System

Delve into clinical studies showing that tai chi excels as a non-pharmaceutical treatment for heart and lung disease, as well as being a valuable adjunct to cancer therapy. In the short form, repeat Single Whip.

27 min
A Healthy Weight and a Healthy Mind
12: A Healthy Weight and a Healthy Mind

Continue your study of tai chi and health by looking at its documented benefits for treating obesity and Alzheimer's disease. Then reach the halfway point in your study of the 24-movement short form with a pose called High Pat on Horse.

32 min
Tai Chi Legends-Stories of the Masters
13: Tai Chi Legends-Stories of the Masters

Marvel at the amazing exploits of classic tai chi masters, including two legendary champions, Zhang San-Feng and Wang Tsung-Yueh, and a historical figure, Yang Lu-Chan, who invented the Yang style. Conclude with another segment of the short form: Stand Up and Kick with Heel.

31 min
Reading the Tai Chi Classics
14: Reading the Tai Chi Classics

Study the oldest and newest chapters in the Tai Chi Classics, watching Mr. Ross demonstrate the principles of proper tai chi technique as he recites the texts. Then learn one of the more martial movements in the 24-part lesson: Boxing Both Ears.

31 min
A Superior Workout-Use More of Your Muscles
15: A Superior Workout-Use More of Your Muscles

How can the slow dance of tai chi compete with running or weightlifting as a workout? The secret is that tai chi activates many muscles at the same time, burning calories at a high rate. For the short form routine, practice Stand Up and Kick on the other side.

29 min
Eight Pieces of Brocade and a Better Back
16: Eight Pieces of Brocade and a Better Back

Learn the last movement in the qigong series called the Eight Pieces of Brocade. Then go through the entire routine from the beginning, concentrating on how qigong and tai chi promote correct posture and a better back. Close with Snake Creeps through the Grass from the short form routine.

23 min
Tai Chi Weapons-When Hands Are Not Empty
17: Tai Chi Weapons-When Hands Are Not Empty

As students advance in tai chi, they move from empty hands forms to weapons play, which has the same elegant choreography but with sticks, swords, or spears. Try out this ancient martial art, seeing how even everyday objects can be used for practice. Then master a new movement in the short form: Rooster Stands on One Leg.

32 min
Using the Mind-Inner Organizing Principles
18: Using the Mind-Inner Organizing Principles

Focus on tai chi's organizing principles, which underlie everything you have learned in the course. These include the balance of yin and yang; softness overcomes hardness; and use mind, not strength. Close with Snake Creeps through the Grass on the other side.

32 min
Mental and Physical Flow
19: Mental and Physical Flow

Experiencing life with balance and harmony requires that you master flow, which is a traditional principle of tai chi. Look at both mental and physical aspects of flow. Then for the short form, study Rooster Stands on One Leg on the other side.

33 min
Creating Space for Choices
20: Creating Space for Choices

Imagine what it would be like if you were never entrapped by stress again. Thanks to your study of tai chi and qigong, this blissful state is already in your grasp. For your next segment of the 24-movement routine, perform Fair Lady Works at Shuttles.

28 min
Flow at Work-When Business Is in Balance
21: Flow at Work-When Business Is in Balance

Discover how to integrate the outlook and practice of tai chi into your work life. Study a routine that you can do in your office or cubicle, as it requires only one step in each direction. Then, learn Looking for the Needle at the Bottom of the Sea.

31 min
Energy Flow in Your Surroundings
22: Energy Flow in Your Surroundings

Qigong manipulates the flow of qi in your body. Learn how the art of feng shui allows you to harmonize qi energy in your surrounding environment. Also investigate the ancient Chinese five element theory. Close with Opening the Arms Like a Fan in the short form.

33 min
Taking Practice Deeper
23: Taking Practice Deeper

Mr. Ross devotes this entire lesson to the 24-movement short form, showing you how to take your practice to a deeper level by mastering subtleties in the poses and transitions. Go through all the moves you have learned so far.

39 min
The Evolution of Tai Chi
24: The Evolution of Tai Chi

After warming up with a final qigong exercise, analyze how tai chi is helping millions in the Western world adapt to the challenges of 21st-century life. Then learn the concluding exercises of the short form: Deflect Downward, Parry, and Punch; and Closing the Door. See how everything you've learned comes together while performing the entire 24-movement series.

34 min
David-Dorian Ross

Tai chi and qigong are often referred as "treasures of Chinese culture"; studying them is like holding a beautiful jewel, where each time you turn, you see a new facet.


San Francisco State University

About David-Dorian Ross

David-Dorian Ross is the founder and CEO of TaijiFit and the creator of the TaijiFit mind-body exercise program. He has a B.A. in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University, has completed graduate course work in Physical Education and Chinese, and is currently developing a project with the head of the Harvard Medical School research department to study the stress-reduction benefits of tai chi (taiji) in the workplace. Trained in China with championship martial arts coaches, Mr. Ross has had an illustrious career in competitive tai chi, winning seven U.S. gold medals, two world bronze medals, and a world silver medal—the highest awards ever given to an American for international tai chi performance. He was the founder and chief instructor of the Honolulu T’ai Chi Academy and a certified continuing educator for the American Council on Exercise. Mr. Ross is the host of the PBS series T’ai Chi: Health and Happiness and the author of five books on health and wellness, including Exercising the Soul: How Tai Ch’i Connects You to Your Authentic Self. Since 2012, he has collaborated with international action film star Jet Li on a mission to introduce tai chi to 100 million new people worldwide by the year 2020. Professor Ross participated in our Professor Chat series. Read the chat to learn more about how to bring your whole life into better balance and harmony through the practice of Tai Chi and Qigong.

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