Mastering Tai Chi

Mastering Tai Chi
Course Trailer
The Path toward Mastery
1: The Path toward Mastery

Welcome to the guan, or tai chi studio. Start your journey on the path of mastery by discovering how taijiquan is a complex system that weaves together martial artistry, the pursuit of health and longevity, and the philosophy of harmony and balance. Then, practice several stances that you will use throughout the Yang-style 40-movement form, and learn your first tai chi principle....

37 min
Harmony Is the Ultimate Goal
2: Harmony Is the Ultimate Goal

Continue your study of the principles of tai chi with the art's most fundamental concept: when you're in harmony and balance, everything works better. Consider how this applies to your body, your mind, and your relationships with others. Learn the first two movements of the Yang-style 40 form: commencing and grasp the bird's tail....

32 min
Walking like a Cat
3: Walking like a Cat

Movements in tai chi are graceful, balanced, and unhurried, and this is accomplished through mindful awareness of your body, thoughts, and emotions. Mindfulness is an essential element of tai chi and a vital tool for a harmonious life. Use this awareness as you learn the next two movements of the form: single whip and step up and raise hands....

32 min
Mind over Muscles
4: Mind over Muscles

The power in tai chi comes from your intention-your mind and will-not the physical exertion of your body. Muscular tension and emotional stress inhibit the flow of chi and waste your energy, making you weaker. Feel the strength and power within softness as you move with a weighted tai chi ball. Learn the next two form movements: white crane spreads its wings and brush knee and twist step....

28 min
Taming the Monkey Mind
5: Taming the Monkey Mind

The monkey represents our impulses, uncontrolled thoughts, desires, and flight/fight/freeze responses. Practice taming the monkey mind, cultivating the chi and the character by releasing points of tension, clearing energetic bottlenecks, and accumulating merit and virtue. Continue your study of the form with the hands strum the pipa and parry and punch....

31 min
The Bow and Arrow
6: The Bow and Arrow

A tai chi master is like an archer who never misses a target. Gaining clarity and calm through practice, you will learn to craft noble desires like straight arrows and release them from your bow with the force of your intent to manifest in the world. Ponder the power of your focused will, and learn the next form movements: sealing and closing and diagonal flying....

28 min
Practicing in a Small Space
7: Practicing in a Small Space

Learn the qigong form 8 pieces of brocade, which is an excellent warm-up or adjunct to tai chi chuan. Review all of the moves you have learned so far, and get strategies for how to do the form in a small space. With these techniques, you can practice anywhere-which means you'll practice more often....

31 min
Hips and Waist: The Center Is the Commander
8: Hips and Waist: The Center Is the Commander

In tai chi, the whole body is connected in smooth motion, and the hips and waist lead the movement. Relax your midsection and low back, and practice with the weighted tai chi ball to help you get the feeling of circling and spiraling. Continue with the next movements in the form: punch under elbow and repulse the monkey....

30 min
Feet: Separate Empty from Full
9: Feet: Separate Empty from Full

Begin with a new stepping practice to get you focused on footwork. To have the proper balance and leverage, it's important to know which foot is weighted, or full, and which is empty-and to shift your weight smoothly and completely. Apply this new insight to the next form movements: fair lady works at the shuttles and part the horse's mane....

31 min
Shoulders: Finding Reasons to Let Go
10: Shoulders: Finding Reasons to Let Go

Tai chi becomes easy when you let go of mental and physical resistance and tension. By sinking the shoulders and relaxing the elbows, you improve your flow. Incorporate pivots to adjust your steps and alignment, and discover when the hands move in different rhythms. Learn the move cloud hands....

31 min
Inside Reflects the Outside
11: Inside Reflects the Outside

When your clear intention guides the chi and the chi directs the body, then your external actions are a reflection of your internal motivations. This unifies you into a coherent being, physicality led by spirit. Continue your study of the form with high pat on horse and kick with right heel....

32 min
Chest, Posture, and the Natural Curve
12: Chest, Posture, and the Natural Curve

Watch Mr. Ross with the tai chi straight sword, moving in tai chi's circles and spirals that are natural to the body. Your body has five natural curves, or bows, that increase the power of your movements. Learn relaxed postures that emphasize these gentle curves, and maintain your awareness of the body bows as you learn box both ears and separate the left foot....

30 min
Bring Out Your Flow
13: Bring Out Your Flow

Tai chi relies on continuous, harmonious motion, or flow. Maintaining your physical flow supports your ability to connect with universal flow-the exchange of ideas, information, and energy that creates new things in the world. Watch Mr. Ross demonstrate flow with the tai chi staff, and review all of the form movements that you have learned so far....

30 min
Transitions as Smooth as Silk
14: Transitions as Smooth as Silk

Explore the history of silk and its connection to the principles of tai chi. Learn exercises to develop the motions of silk reeling and silk pulling, which are advanced techniques hidden within many form movements. Feel this smoothness and connection as you continue with the form with turn body and kick with heel and needle at the bottom of the sea....

32 min
Legs to Arms: Connecting Upper and Lower
15: Legs to Arms: Connecting Upper and Lower

Discover the history, philosophy, and importance of tea in tai chi. As you savor this knowledge, contemplate the next tai chi principle: connecting upper with lower. The upper body moves in coordination with the lower body, and the energy at the top of the head is connected to the energy at the bottoms of the feet. Maintain this connection in the form movements open arms like a fan and snake stick...

31 min
A Movable Meditation
16: A Movable Meditation

Tai chi is both moving meditation and movable meditation-you can perform the form anywhere, and you carry the mental aspects with you in every situation. This exemplifies the principle of tranquility within movement, and movement within tranquility. Continue your study of the form with turn and pat the foot and ride the tiger....

30 min
Bouncing Away Conflict
17: Bouncing Away Conflict

Explore the eight original intentions of tai chi, and see how they are exemplified in the form movements. These eight concepts also have practical applications in your daily life as conflict management strategies. Consider how to deal with conflict, and learn some stretches that will help you with the next form movement: snake creeps down....

33 min
The Peaceful Warrior
18: The Peaceful Warrior

Continue your consideration of the eight original intentions and their application to conflict. Ponder the wisdom of the Dao De Jing, and discover the five recommendations for cultivating the spirit of a peaceful warrior, as codified by the legendary founder of tai chi. Learn the next movements in the form: rooster stands on one leg and punch groin....

32 min
Qigong Breathing
19: Qigong Breathing

Deepen your understanding by reviewing all the movements you've learned so far, focusing on your internal sensations as you gently and continuously flow from movement to movement. Explore qigong meditative breathing, and uncover how the breath creates the continuous link from intentions to chi to body....

33 min
Partners: The Whole Body Is the Hand
20: Partners: The Whole Body Is the Hand

Learn the game of pushing hands with a partner, an essential pillar of tai chi chuan. This exercise will increase your sensitivity and understanding as well as your martial prowess. The secret: instead of focusing on how to defeat the opponent, a tai chi master focuses on recreating harmony....

32 min
Five Stages of Mastery
21: Five Stages of Mastery

Tai chi is a living art that grows and changes, as it has always been. Hear the story of Chen Won Tang, one of the most influential tai chi masters in history, and draw inspiration from his innovation and leadership. Learn a new hand position that is used in the form movement seven stars posture....

31 min
Lotus Kick and Laughing Buddha
22: Lotus Kick and Laughing Buddha

Listen to the tale of the wandering monk and the two temple brothers, contemplate the Laughing Buddha, and gain an appreciation of the importance of not taking life too seriously. The Wu way of non-striving allows you to let go of control, tension, and expectation. Keep this playful attitude as you step back to ride the tiger and turn body and lotus kick....

30 min
Conserve Your Energy
23: Conserve Your Energy

Discover the sources of the chi in your body, and consider the importance of circulating and cultivating the chi. Deeper states of relaxation permit smoother and more complete circulation, and the cultivation of chi refines and purifies your energy. This gives you more power-and allows you to conserve it....

33 min
Another River to Cross
24: Another River to Cross

Add the last movements of the form: shoot the tiger, sealing and closing, cross hands, and closing form. Go through the entire 40-movement form, feeling the flow. Ponder the significance of your journey to tai chi mastery, and consider the next steps on your path-because studying the art of tai chi chuan yields rewards for a lifetime....

32 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.

ALMA MATER

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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