Our Self-Defense and Energy Flow Program is aimed at people who want to improve their physical and mental health, learn practical self-defense, experience flow of chi, and perform beautiful movements of ancient empty-hand and weapon forms.
Qigong and Traditional Tai Chi forms are the foundation of our program. The standing meditation (also known as Three-Circle Qigong) is the main stationary qigong practiced in class, though we also practice other qigongs such as Swimming Dragon, Triple Heater, and a variation of Eight Pieces of Brocade set. Standing meditation teaches correct body structure, breathing, relaxation, grounding, and elements of self-acupuncture. When practiced regularly, and with correct mind focus, students may experience a variety of psychosomatic effects which sometimes even interweave with real life flow. The foundations from standing meditation are further applied to solo moving forms, which are sometimes called “meditation in motion”. In further training students learn partner moving forms and forms with weapons (broadsword, straight sword, spear, short staff, knife, etc.).
Unlike competitive fighting styles, self-defense methods (e.g. Krav Maga, Systema) only should be used in life threatening situations (and even then in a proportional way) and therefore they are not constrained by competition rules. In such situations fighters usually do not wear gloves. These differences mean that self-defense fighting skill sets are different from competitive systems. In our style of Tai Chi we train explosive concentrated strikes (developing significant power and velocity over short standoff distances, sometimes known as Fa-Jing ) at vulnerable locations (often associated with acupuncture points) using full body movement mechanics (sometimes known as Dim Mak). Our system enhances fighting skills through practicing and understanding principles of centering, grounding, recycling of your own and opponent’s energy as well as using distracting maneuvers. Our self-defense style is an evolving art, and for maximum efficiency we sometimes bring techniques from other systems and adapt them according to internal martial arts principles. We learn escapes from holds and grabs, defense against and with weapons, and the basics of ground fighting. And we include situational awareness training, as the best way to win in self defense situations is to avoid the fight altogether.
Tai Chi practice centers on training body movement including structure, fluidity, grounding, balance, centering, spiraling, and energy reuse. It shares features of musical training that includes playing the scales and arpeggios or yoga that stretches the tendons, flexes the spine, and spirals the body. Besides remarkable health benefits, Tai Chi body mechanics training also teaches martial arts applications allowing explosive movement (such as martial arts famous 1 inch punch) using full body dynamics. Many people noticed similarities between Tai Chi practices and dance training, for example in emphasizing balance, posture alignments, body isolations, partner sensitivity. It is less known that the same fundamentals are applicable to other areas, for example optimizing movement for heavy physical work. We have a number of long-time martial artists in our class who find that our movement principles help them to refine the techniques they learned from other fighting styles.
While our program does not specifically target cardio and core fitness, a medium intensity cardio workout is naturally built into the class flow. As a part of the warm-up routine we drill the foundation skills for any martial artist, and those repetitive drills are normally performed at medium-to-high speed with focus on the correct body mechanics and partner interaction. A number of other high speed drills are included in self-defense training as necessary for successful technique execution. Since Tai Chi power is generated from the center (sometimes called Dan Tien) and involves a variety of so called opening and closing moves, such training also provides workout for core and leg muscles. Students also have an option to work on slower forms to focus on internal energy as an alternative to higher intensity drills.
We take our training very seriously. We also believe that play and a friendly atmosphere makes for better and faster learning.
The instructor is certified with the World Taiji Boxing Association which has a network of instructors and workshops all over the world. Since the foundations of our program are based on external and internal Tai Chi principles, sometimes people call our class “Tai Chi Class” however we prefer the more descriptive name “Self-Defense and Energy Flow Program” as it better exhibits our focus on both yin and yang sides of the art.
We are located in Maryland, Catonsville/Ellicott City/Baltimore County area. We practice at outdoor or indoor locations to provide the best protection against COVID. Our classes are more physically challenging than most of the internal martial arts (e.g. Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Xing Yi) classes. If, in addition to learning how to relax, meditate, increase energy flow, and you want to learn real life self defense and get a good physical workout, this class is the way to go.