Introduction to Tai Chi
with Howard Parks & January White
8 sessions, alternating Mondays & Tuesdays beginning April 3
Members $80, Non-members $120 for all 8 sessions. Drop-in: $15 (Members: $10)
This eight-session class will focus on the short Tai Chi form popularized by Cheng Man-ch’ing, a renowned master of Tai Chi and one of the earliest to introduce the practice to America. The class will meet alternating Tuesdays and Mondays beginning Tuesday, April 3 (check the monthly calendar for scheduled classes).
Tai Chi is variously known as a mind/body moving meditation, a gentle form of exercise, an effective martial art, a way to develop “chi”( internal energy), or some combination of all these. But how can this simple practice function in so many ways?
Howard Parks – Howard’s interest in martial arts started at age of ten, learning judo under the tutelage of the late Robert Smith. In addition to judo, Smith had a broad knowledge of other asian martial arts and was the primary collaborator with Cheng Man Ch’ing of one of the first books about Tai Chi (taiji quan) in the west. Smith also had an extensive collection of knock-knock jokes, which Howard to his chagrin has mostly forgotten.
Later in college Howard became himself interested in Tai Chi after the onset of an inherited form of lymphedema forced him to quit judo at age 15. Eventually he began studies of Tai Chi and nei gong (Taoist meditation) with the Great River Taoist Center, then located in Washington DC. Through Great River, he began teaching Tai Chi, and he also had the good fortune to learn from several Tai Chi masters, including William C.C. Chen and T.T. Liang (both students of Cheng Man Ch’ing), and from Wang Yen-nien, a Taoist lineage holder and master of the Yang style of Tai Chi.
In the intervening years, Tai Chi, a “soft” martial art conceived in China some 800 years ago, has become increasingly popular as a gentle form of exercise and moving meditation that teaches relaxation in the midst of activity. Regardless of your aim in learning Tai Chi, an understanding of the functional application of the Tai Chi form will help you find your alignment in the form. Howard teaches from the 37-posture form developed and popularized by Cheng Man-Ch’ing, one of the earliest teachers to introduce the practice in America.