January 12 to April 15 May 11 to August 12 August 24 to December 2
Location: Santa Cruz Art Center 1001 Center Street Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Yang Style Short Form: Thursday 6-7:00 PM and Saturday 9-10:00 AM
This class goes through the entire form in fourteen weeks and contains beginning, intermediate, and advanced students. Saturday class always repeats the same lesson as the preceding Thursday. Learning is facilitated by attending twice weekly, but not everyone’s schedule permits that. Learning this art is a life-long process and most students repeat the form class many times. As students develop skill with the form, they shift focus to inner work, the energetics of t’ai chi, and self discovery and development through continued refinement of their physical movements and application of the t’ai chi principles.
Individuals who have practiced any form of t’ai chi ch’uan are welcome to join the class anytime during the 14-week session. Those who have never practiced are strongly encouraged to begin with the very first class session and are discouraged from joining after the first 3 weeks as the learning curve is usually frustratingly prohibitive after that much instruction has already occurred. Curious observers are welcome at any time at no charge.
In addition to the Short Form, we practice a qigong form known as Ziran Qigong before each tai chi lesson as part of our warm-up exercises. Before the end of the fourteen weeks, Zhan Zhuang, or Standing Pole, is also introduced so the student will be able to practice this on their own as well, should they choose.
Push Hands: Saturday 10-11:00 AM
Among its many other benefits, practicing the form develops balance, stability, and ease of movement within our own personal sphere or space. Push Hands extends that awareness in a two-person investigation of the interaction of that sphere with another’s. The name, “Push” Hands, is really a misnomer. “Sensing” Hands is more descriptive of our focus and interest. The purpose, as we practice it in our school, is not to overpower our partner with force but to investigate, test, apply, and strengthen the attributes learned in our form practice in order to strengthen those attributes and enhance our understanding and internal development. It demands we become more sensitive to another person’s actions and, even, their thoughts and intentions, as well as our own internal signals. Our partner (not opponent) helps us explore our ability to “listen”and yield, yet root (hold our ground), and, yes, uproot (overcome) our partner, ideally without muscular effort or force. Push Hands is appropriate and highly recommended for students who are able to demonstrate the complete short form on their own.
“The body is like a floating cloud. In push-hands the hands are not needed. The whole body is a hand and the hand is not a hand. But the mind must stay in the place it should be.” – Cheng Man-ch’ing
Studio at 1001 Center Street