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Tai Chi course - The Feng Shui Institute
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Jon the FSI NOw!

To acheive the best results in Feng Shui you need to cultivate your own energy or Chi, in my opininion, the best way to do this is with Tai Chi. It is therefore my distinct pleasure to introduce you to my Tai Chi Master and offer our visitors........

Tai Chi Training by Distance Learning on DVD or Video with Tai Chi Master Stephen Hwa.

Tai Chi MasterTai Chi Grand MasterBiography of Master Stephen Hwa

Stephen Hwa was born in Jiangsu, China in 1933 and emigrated to the U.S. in 1957 for graduate study. After receiving a doctorate degree in engineering, he worked for several companies, including Xerox in Rochester, NY.

In 1974, Hwa took his first Tai Chi class with Grand Master Young Wabu, a student of legendary master Wu Chien Chuan. Impressed by Young’s teaching and what Tai Chi could offer, Hwa made Tai Chi a part of his life and began his avid study of the discipline. In addition to learning from Young Wabu, he also participated in classes taught by Young’s daughter, Master Sonia Young.

Hwa became fascinated with the underlying principles that unified Tai Chi’s seemingly complex movements. He has distilled the knowledge he gained into the fundamental principles of classical Tai Chi with its unifying principle of Internal Discipline

Internal Discipline

The concept and practice of the core element of classical Tai Chi, Internal Discipline, are discussed extensively through out the Tai Chi video tapes/DVDs by Stephen Hwa. A brief discussion is presented here:

Internal Discipline enables you to initiate movements from the internal core of the body- the abdomen and back—rather than from the external parts of the body—the limbs.

Example: Pushing the right hand forward with the arm and shoulder is an external movement. Internal movement uses the abdomen and the back moving the entire upper-quarter of the body, including the arm and hand, forward.

NOTE: Pass cursor over images to see movements

The arm and shoulder are relaxed with no movement relative to each other. The motion is entirely driven internally. In addition, other parts of the body are essentially not moving serving as the supporting structure for this movement.

Another example of this upper-quarter body movement is the blocking motion.

Tai Chi turnExample: Turning of the upper body with the feet stationary is usually carried out by crossing the legs. This is a weak external move with little power, balance and stability. An internal move centers on the waist using the power of the abdomen and back while the pelvis and the legs essentially are not moving.

Example: For lower body movement, the power from the abdomen and back is transmitted through the pelvis to the legs. Visualize that the pelvis is an extension of the leg. To take a step, use the abdomen and back to lift the pelvis, which in turn lifts the leg. Move the foot forward and stretch the pelvis downward until the foot is fully planted. All of these movements are internally driven with the upper body remaining still. Then, the foot will pull the body forward to complete the step.

Tai Chi push

Tai Chi block

"I must say that I thank Master Hwa every day for the
wonderful tapes and lessons and the opportunity to
practice this form. I feel like we really get a straight presentation on the depths of Tai Chi practice here".
W. C , California

"The longer I'm with Tai Chi the more I'm impressed by a teacher's ability/desire to explain things to students rather than the variety of forms they teach. I think what Stephen Hwa teaches is THE best explanation I've come across in 30 years of doing/teaching Tai Chi and I've told him that.
"J. R., New York

"This is an excellent tape with lots of information.
Have practiced Yang style for over 10yrs- private lessons with a famous UK based teacher, and group with others for longer. Was very impressed- most tapes have no depth to their content, or teach very little that adds to ones own practice (same is true of a lot of Tai Chi instruction in general!)."
A. J., UK

"Sensei, it is really a remarkable art & taught so beautifully by you. Though I have studied many styles of karate & ninjitsu never found anything so difficult or beautiful."
A S., India

"We just wanted to thank you. Thank you for a GREAT teaching tape! Very easy to follow. We have about ten years of practice but have never seen a tape as good as this."
G&K M, California

Classical Tai Chi, or Tai Ji utilizes the philosophy of yin and yang in every aspect of its practice. This philosophy asserts that every entity needs to coexist and interact with a counterpart of opposite nature in order to achieve balance and vitality. For every internal movement, a moving part of the body (yang) works against stationary part (yin) that provides support and power for the move. The junction between yin and yang is always located in the torso. For the arm push forward movement described above, the junction is around the upper- quarter body area. In the case of the turning movement, the junction is in the waist region. For the step forward movement, the junction is at the lower-quarter body region above the pelvis. If one pushes the hand forward with the arm, then the junction is at the shoulder. If the turning movement is accomplished by crossing the legs, then the junction is at the legs. If the step forward move is done with the leg, then the junction is at the hip. These later cases are not internal movement.

When you perform an internal movement correctly, you will feel the sensations of stretching and intense energy flowing across the junction in an otherwise relaxed body. Classical Tai Chi, or Tai Ji form teaches students how to use Internal Discipline in every move so internal energy circulates continuously throughout the body during form playing, tuning and cultivating internal energy in the body. From martial art point of view, the playing of the classical Tai Chi form is, among other things, practicing the mobilization and delivery of the internal power until it becomes instinctive, spontaneous, and instantaneous.

The appearance of internal movement is very deceptive. Most uninitiated observers will think it is a small, unremarkable, and simple movement and may opt for a more showy style. In fact, internal movement is demanding to learn, both mentally and physically. But, the results of the effort will be unparalleled in improving health and well-being and in the martial art application.

What are the health benefits of learning Tai Chi?

An early Tai Chi master once wrote that the ultimate purpose of learning Tai Chi was to live forever in the spring season of your life. Tai Chi is not just for longevity, but also for robustness, even at an old age. The health benefits of Classical Tai Chi may be viewed from several different angles and at different levels, all of which tie in strongly with the practice of Internal Discipline.

When examining the movements of very young children, we see that their movements of arms and legs often originate from their torso, their movements are relaxed and without tension. As we grow older our movements tend to concentrate on our arms, legs and shoulders and less on our torso: also, tension and stiffness start to creep into our movements. Gradually, we loose touch with the torso. We can only do simple movements such as the popular ab exercises but cannot perform the subtle, intricate, and powerful movements that the torso inherently is capable of. We talk about the dexterity of hands or feet, not knowing that the torso can be developed to have just as much dexterity, but think of the torso as a dull part of the body.

Eventually, stagnation in the torso sets in. We often see the elderly walking with a shuffle—the walking movement no longer extends into the torso. With all the major organs and complex circulatory system residing in the torso, it's easy to understand the adverse effect of inaction and stagnation of the torso on the health of the body. One may assert that the onset of internal rigor mortis actually precedes death!

Classical Tai Chi may be considered as a means to return to childhood. The Internal Discipline of the Form movements first tunes the nervous system in the body so that the complex and powerful internal movements will become natural and spontaneous. In China, a healthy and well-tuned nervous system is considered to be paramount to a healthy body. That is the importance of Qi, see more discussion of Qi in the next question. Physically, the internal movements penetrate to the deep recesses of the torso, stimulating and invigorating the organs and the circulation systems in the torso. Enhancement of the function of the intestine and kidney are immediate when tai chi is played with Internal Discipline. Other benefits are more long term.

Modern exercise routines, including martial arts, are long on external movements and short on internal movements, in other words, exercising the parts of the body which are already over-used for an active person while neglecting the portion of the body which needs exercise. Worse yet, these routines often subject the shoulder, knee, the back and other joints with ill-conceived repetitive, unnatural movements. No wonder many active people eventually develop joint problems. Classical Tai Chi, through the experience of multi-generations of practitioners who practice from a young age until the end of life, fully grasp the importance of proper postures and movements to protect and strengthening the practitioner’s joints for long term, repetitive practice. Such considerations are pointed out throughout the video set, particularly in the segments titled “Insight into Body Mechanics” Vol. I Tai Chi Overview, “Tai Chi Walk” Vol. II, “Stance of the Feet” and “Step Size” Vol. II. These considerations are only understood recently with current understanding of body mechanics and often used by modern physical therapists. Yet, it was put into rigorous practice in Classical Tai Chi centuries ago. As a result, beginning practitioners often cite reduced or eliminated back pain and weakness as the first benefits of practicing Classical Tai Chi.

In the movement of pushing the arm forward, as shown at the beginning of this site, the elbow points downward and stays in front of the body. In this way, the arm is solidly braced so it can deliver the powerful internal energy to opponent without buckling during martial art application. The position of the elbow also protects the mid portion of the body. From a health viewpoint, this movement fully stretches and relaxes the upper back, tuning and strengthening it. Those who have pain in their upper back often find that playing the Tai Chi form alleviates their problem. Throughout the Tai Chi form movements, the synergy between martial art and health is spontaneous and natural without coercion.

Every aspect of Tai Chi has to satisfy two requirements simultaneously; 1) it has to be useful for martial art applications. 2) useful for health benefits. Classical Tai Chi accomplishes these goals superbly. For example, playing the Tai Chi with Internal Discipline fully utilizes the powerful core of the body, the abdomen and the back, in its motion. It is also a uniquely effective means of invigorating the internal organs, circulatory systems and nervous systems.

What are the mental aspects of Tai Chi?

Tai Chi, or Taiji, is known as meditation in motion and is closely related to Qi Gong. Both meditation and certain types of Qi Gong follow a "top-down" approach, with the mind initiating the meditative state or the mind initiating the Qi flow.

Tai Chi follows more of a "bottom up" approach. It is the movement with the Internal Discipline that plays an important role in influencing the mental state of the practitioner. In order to perform the internal movements, the beginner must focus intensely inward trying to communicate with the long neglected nervous system in the torso. When the student becomes a proficient practitioner, playing the form becomes subconscious without the need to think. The mind is clear, except for the enjoyable sensation of internal energy flowing and stretching at the yin and yang junction. It is important to learn the Tai Chi form rigorously, so this sensation can circulate continuously in the body without break. Any fault in the form will break the continuity of the circulating Qi.

Video Tape or DVD Contents

Volume I - TAI CHI OVERVIEW (one video tape or DVD, 111 min.)

  • Discusses key elements of classical Tai Chi, its logical structure and underlying philosophy.

  • Features 40 minutes of in-depth demonstrations and tutorials on the techniques of using Internal Discipline to achieve internal movements and internal power mobilization. Contains ample examples and practice-moves to learn the techniques.

  • Presents how Tai Chi utilizes Internal Discipline in its unique approach to martial art. Demonstrates the fundamental differences between the external martial arts, such as Karate and Tai Chi.

  • Explains Tai Chi’s attention to the health and well-being of its practitioner and how practicing Tai Chi form using Internal Discipline provides the most important long-term health benefits. Teaches valuable pointers on postures and movements that provide immediate benefits in every day life.

  • Discusses the process of learning classical Tai Chi, including the typical experience of a beginning student to that of an advanced practitioner. Briefly introduces other forms such as, the Square Form, the Compact Form, and the Left-hand form, important in the learning process. Includes an excerpt from Tai Chi Form Instruction videotapes to show the depth, scope, and methodology used in these lessons.
tai chi walk

Volume II - TAI CHI FORM INSTRUCTION (4 video tape or 4 DVD set, 440 min.)

  • Teaches the classical Tai Chi long form of 108 movements.
  • Includes lessons dedicated to the teaching of the Square Form, Compact Form, and supplemental exercises.
  • Offers lessons organized into several levels of teaching cycles, from beginner to advanced. The beginner’s level teaches the external aspects of the movement, such as position, angle, posture, and timing. The Square Form, which dissects continuous motion into discrete movement, is included in some of the lessons for clarity. The advanced level teaches how to use Internal Discipline to initiate these movements and how to get the most out of them.
  • Explains the general principle behind the movements and their implications for health and martial art application.
  • Presents a clear picture showing the consistency and rationale of the entire Tai Chi form. You will quickly grasp and appreciate the logical approach and sophistication behind the development of the movements.
  • Provides the same clarity of instruction as you will find in personal classes. For example, different views of the form are demonstrated. The back view, for instance, is the same as a student would find in a studio setting playing the form following the teacher by standing behind the teacher. Other techniques such as stop motion, slow motion, and close-up are used in key areas for easy learning. Master Hwa’s right arm and right leg are clearly marked to provide clear visual cues for and offers a quick way to show right and left.
  • Allows you to learn at your own pace: repeat moves as many times as you want, move more quickly through aspects you have already mastered.
  • Offers an instructional method based on Master Hwa’s years of studio teaching. Because of Master Hwa’s experience, the lessons anticipate many of the difficulties or confusion students encounter in learning Tai Chi. In fact, many students who have used Tai Chi Form Instruction find a sense of connection and engagement with Master Hwa, as if they were learning from him in person.
  • Students of the Classical Tai Chi series are invited to join an online forum where they can ask Master Hwa their questions and exchange comments and experiences with other Tai Chi students. Interesting discussions and a wealth of information are available on the forum that complements the video instruction.

Volume I - TAI CHI OVERVIEW just £25! (one video tape or DVD, 111 min.

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Volume II - TAI CHI FORM INSTRUCTION just £80! (4 video tape or 4 DVD set, 440 min.)

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