Classes are held in the Teaching Rooms, Wellington Road, Cork.
Tuesday evenings 6pm.
Please bring loose fitting layers of clothes, and a rain jacket in case of rain.
Text Tai Chi to 087 2744 735 to be kept informed.
DAVID HANKEY has been practicing Chi Kung and Aikido for more than 30 years. He has been practicing Tai Chi for more than 25 years. He has been teaching for more than 20 years. He has taught in Ireland as well as China. He also received private instruction in Qi Gong from his teacher Prof. Wu Tian Cheng. David is a student of Taoist Master Tian Liyang from Wudang Shan in China. In addition to studying Tai Chi, David is a practitioner of Acupuncture, Shiatsu/massage, Aikido, Yoga and Zen meditation for over 30 years.
Tel : 087 2744 735 for details of classes
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Chi Kung is a traditional system of health exercises where the practitioner focuses on three things – posture, breathing and calming the mind. So, we could say that Chi Kung explores the mind-body relationship. Qi means “life-force energy” and gong means “skill”, so Chi Kung is the skilled practice of gathering, circulating, and applying life-force energy.
“Wild Goose” Chi Kung is a set of 64 movements which looks similar to Tai Chi. The result of practicing this is improved wellbeing, better health and alleviation of diseases. In fact, Chi Kung, is very beneficial for those with chronic illness.
The practise consists of both vigorous and gentle movements in which actions are alternated with stillness with perfect ease. So long as you do this type of Qi-Gong regularly and without fail, you will find your health improved, disease alleviated. This form of exercise is suitable for old and young alike.
Wudang Tai Chi is part of the Taoist system of training the mind and body. This system was developed over the centuries by the monks on Mount Wudang in China. Wudang is one of the 5 sacred mountains in China. Practicing Tai Chi can help us to more deeply understand our bodies and minds and learn the methods to make them cleaner, clearer, quieter, and healthier. Tai Chi training teaches us not only to train our muscles, tendons, and bones, but also to train our intention, internal feeling, awareness, and power in order to bring about greater balance and health in our lives.
Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient system of physical exercise that promotes total health: emotional, mental and spiritual. Unlike exercises that use exertion and force to build muscular strength, a strength that inevitably deteriorates with age, the gentle and flowing, yet rigorous movements of Tai Chi focus on relaxing and straightening the body. This enhances coordination and circulation and balances all bodily functions.
Originating in ancient China, Tai Chi is a graceful form of exercise/movement that is practiced primarily for its health benefits, which include relief from stress and anxiety. Emphasizing total relaxation, Tai Chi can be perceived as a type of meditation, and in fact it has been referred to as “meditation in motion”. Its movements, which are gentle, flowing and slow, draw on internal energy rather than brute strength. Through repeating these specific motions, the individual aims to harmonize mind and body.
After some practice, students will find their Qi or internal energy flowing and will begin to feel more relaxed. On the other hand, if pain or stiffness is experienced in certain areas the Qi is blocked, and further practice will remove this blockage.
Patience is needed to start with, and perseverance to carry your practice through many stages of development. The practice takes time, so you need to give it time. It takes about a year to learn the full Tai Chi form, on the basis of one class a week and practicing every day for about 15 minutes. Tai Chi can be seen as an exercise system or a self-defense system. As Tai Chi embraces many aspects of movement and stillness, it can be practiced by any age group. Consistent daily practice promotes relaxation, concentration and increased vitality due to improved circulatory and respiratory functions. Classes, which typically last 60-90 minutes, begin with a series of breathing exercises and move on to slow and precise body movements or “forms” that may take from twenty to thirty minutes to perform. Breath is the link between mind and body, so these breathing exercises explore the Mind-Body link. Students typically wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothes and flat shoes. Some may even prefer to go barefoot.
Each form (body movement) can include as many as 100 positions that are carried out in one continuous fluid movement from start to finish. Because the basic movements are deceptively simple in appearance, some beginners initially may find them boring. Nonetheless, experienced Tai Chi practitioners will agree that even the basic movements can be challenging and mastering them may take a lifetime.
To get the most out of the instruction, students are encouraged to practice the forms for a set amount of time each day. As a general rule, early is better than late. In China, for example, large groups often carry out Tai Chi exercises as part of an early morning routine.
Because it can be performed almost anywhere and because timing and awareness are more important than athletic ability, Tai Chi appeals to both young and old, male and female. Almost anyone can undertake it. People do not have to be in top health to start practising Tai Chi, and in fact, it can be adapted to suit individuals using wheelchairs or walkers. Low-intensity by nature and not physically demanding for beginners, Tai Chi is well suited for the elderly and those experiencing post-operative or post-traumatic stress.
Another appealing facet of Tai Chi is that it does not require special clothing or equipment. The bare minimum is a few square feet of space, whether in a sunny park or a small living room. Individuals are allowed to proceed at their own pace of learning and no ranks or belts are awarded. This highly convenient aspect of Tai Chi has contributed to it becoming one of the world’s most widely practised forms of exercise.
With its gentle emphasis on relaxation, breath awareness and graceful movement, Tai Chi is a safe and effective form of health-promoting exercise. The self-pacing aspects of Tai Chi enable individuals to set their own limits; consequently, a young athletic person may be inclined to flex his or her knees deeply whereas an elderly individual may only decide to complete only a fraction of the same movement.
Tai Chi can help alleviate a wide range of conditions including stress, arthritis, rheumatism, poor posture and lower back pain. It also enhances strength and muscle tone, improves co-ordination and balance, and increases both flexibility and range of motion. Research has shown that the daily practice of Tai Chi can reduce blood pressure as much as ordinary aerobic exercise without increasing the heart rate.
Tai Chi consists of a series of flowing movements that are good for the health, while Tai Chi Chi Kung, which is easier to learn, consists of 18 breathing exercises taken from the Tai Chi form. The exercises are done as individual exercises and are therefore easier to learn. These breathing exercises are practiced as part of the class.
The first principle of Tai Chi is relaxation, without which there is no Tai Chi; the whole body must be relaxed, loose and open, so that the Chi/Energy can pass through without blockage. Later on in our study, as we begin to relax we realise that relaxation is not simply becoming limp, there should be a quality of vitality about it. Building on that foundation, the practitioner will feel the difference between going limp, which is lifeless, and the relaxation of a cat, which is completely vital and alert. Tai Chi master Cheng Man-Ch’ing described it as like a bale of cotton: soft, but the more it is compressed , the firmer and more substantial it becomes.
Contact David Hankey 087 2744 735
Tai Chi and the Tao, or how putting the philosophy of Tai Chi in to action can bring us greater health and happiness. Tai Chi is a practice of “The Way.” Way means of The Tao and signifies a path or river. Taoism is not a religion. It is a “Way” of life. The Tao is the natural order of things. It is a force that flows through every living and sentient object, as well as through the entire universe. When the Tao is in balance it is possible to find perfect happiness. Taoism is a philosophy and the practice of Tai Chi means putting this philosophy in to action. Although the word path can signify a destination, actually we have already arrived, and the daily practice of Tai Chi can help us realise this. As Lao Tzu said; A good traveller has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.