Taiji Quan (“Tai Chi Chuan”) is a martial art rooted in ancient Daoist meditation and healing arts practice. Taiji is moving meditation that generates structural and energetic integrity. Its movements are gentle, yet build strength internally and externally. When Qi (energy) flows freely with nature, one returns to a harmonious state. Our Taiji lineage is from Wudang San Feng Pai, the original Taiji created by Zhang Sanfeng at Wudang Mountain.
Qigong nurtures vital energy from within. Forms tend to be shorter than in Taiji, and are more focused on deepening connection to one’s health and essence. These wisdom practices fortify health by strengthening the body, generating energy, and calming the mind to awaken the spirit. Our Qigong lineage is from the Long Men (Dragon Gate) Daoist school from Wudang Mountain.
How do I sign up for my first class?
It’s best to call or email to confirm the class schedule and address any questions that aren’t answered here. You can refer to the Schedule page for more details for weekly class, and other classes such as workshops, retreats and seminars are under Workshops.
When should I arrive for class?
Please arrive on time. If you are early, you are welcome to quietly stretch and personally warm-up in the back of the classroom until your class begins. Please avoid talking when class is in session.
Can I come to just observe a class?
We do not allow observation of classes, as this is a participatory practice. In Taiji and Qigong the attention is inward and must be experienced first-hand. It can also be distracting or disruptive to other students. We invite you to participate in class for yourself to determine if it is a good fit for you.
What should I wear?
Wear modest, loose, comfortable clothing so you have free range of motion. You may practice barefoot if we are indoors, or in shoes with a flat, flexible sole. For your safety, please minimize jewelry because at times we practice with our classmates. Also, please avoid wearing scents and perfumes as some may have sensitivity. More details, see Classroom Etiquette.
Where are classes located?
Classes are located at 1510 5th Avenue, San Rafael, CA 94901 at the First Presbyterian Church of San Rafael. Located at the crossroads of 5th and E streets. There is no parking available at the church itself, but there is street parking all around with easy access.
Is there a place for me to change into my clothing?
Yes, there is a large restroom you can use to change your clothing.
I have no experience with Taiji or Qigong, what do I need to do to prepare?
Beginning class is for beginners, so no preparation is necessary aside from your good intentions and interest.
What can I expect for my first class?
Classes are for one hour, we begin with stretching and warm-up, and then we follow with the form we are currently working on. Sometimes there will be an added Qigong exercise that relates to where the class is in it’s progress. Sometimes there will be a more detailed study of a part of the form, basic stances, posture, applications or internal energy. You may receive alignment corrections and personal instruction in class. If you have any injuries or concerns, be sure to inform your instructor. To close class, we have a brief cool down and centering Qigong. We then bow to the instructor and bow to each other as a show of mutual respect, fellowship and gratitude. For more details see Bowing and Etiquette.
I have studied some other forms of Taiji and/or Qigong, which class do I come to?
There are many styles of Qigong and Taiji so it is recommended to begin at the beginning to learn the foundations of this unique style and practice. After learning the basic foundations of the beginning class the instructor will extend an invitation to attend the intermediate class.
Is it ok to eat before class?
Best to practice when not too hungry or too full. If you eat before class, allow some time to digest beforehand. For example, one hour after an average sized meal.
Will Taiji and Qigong make me happy?
Yes and happiness is an emotion not a commodity. Taiji and Qigong are practices to investigate your internal realm while moving your body physically within a specific form. That’s why we call it moving meditation.
Guidelines are for your safety, to reduce distraction from the curriculum, and for the benefit of the individual, classmates and classroom environment.
Dress code guidelines:
Clean, plain clothes that are loose and comfortable to provide full range of motion, and are not overly revealing or visually distracting. Class T-shirt is recommended after you complete the Beginning Module.
Shirts that cover the shoulders, no tank tops.
Pants, full length or knee length.
Flat shoes with a flexible sole, or no shoes if indoors.
Keep nails trim.
Minimize jewelry. No earrings.
No strong fragrances.
Preserve respect and decency at all times.
Arrive on time.
Feel free to quietly warm up and stretch in the back of the classroom if your class has not begun yet.
Minimize chatting during class.
Give the instructor(s) and the curriculum your full attention. Carry out the directives of the instructor promptly. Class is for a limited duration of time, so please make the most of it.
Focus on your own practice experience while being aware of and respecting your classmates and the practice environment.
Avoid instructing others unless given permission to do so.
Home practice is strongly encouraged and required to advance.
As a general sign of respect, one bows to the chief instructor, senior students, and to fellow students.
In closing class, one bows in formal salute to the instructor(s) and then to your classmates.
One bows at the waist w/ arms to the sides when entering into and exiting the classroom to show respect for the school and its lineage. Bow before entering the practice room. Bow after practice and remain facing the room as you back out to exit.