The Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Cotswolds Training Centre in Gloucestershire is one of a number of Wu's Tai Chi Chuan centres and academies in various locations around the world, dedicated to the promotion, practice and teaching of Wu's Style Tai Chi Chuan. Instructors Tim Price and Eileen Ford-Price have over 30 years Tai Chi experience between them. Tim is a disciple of Grand Master Eddie Wu Kwong Yu; and Eileen is a disciple of Sifu Gary Wragg.
What is Tai Chi Chuan?
It is a Chinese exercise discipline with a long history. The movements are based mostly on circular motion and flow at a smooth even tempo, making for perfect balance as the weight of the body is shifted from one side to the other. If practiced carefully it will bring about a high level of body control. This in turn results in greatly increased powers of mental concentration.
To practice the art you need nothing more than the floor space of an average room. Tai Chi Chuan teaches how to conserve and increase your energy flow. For this reason it is suitable for people of all ages. When practiced properly, one is less tired at the end of a session than at the beginning. It is a tonic for the mind and body.
What is the Tai Chi ‘Form’?
The hand form and, from senior level, the weapons forms provide the foundation for Tai Chi practice. A form is a sequence of techniques performed in a continuous, flowing set. In addition to the martial knowledge contained within the set, regular practice of the forms can bring a number of health benefits including: reduced blood pressure; increased suppleness; better balance and fluidity in everyday movement; and increased energy levels - as well as a more acute mental focus.
The weapons forms develop extending focus out to include the weapon, demanding more advanced coordination and awareness.
What happens at Beginner Level?
Beginner Level emphasizes perhaps the best known aspect of Tai Chi Chuan - the ‘hand form’ which is a sequence of 108 named forms, each made up of sets of individual movements. The forms are learned individually week by week and played sequentially in a set sequence - the standard form of Wu's style Tai Chi Chuan.
Beginners initially learn the form based on the concept of ‘mechanical movement’, with each individual form broken down into detailed postures by the class instructor. The instructor makes sure that the students progress at the right speed and with the highest level of accuracy. The Beginners Level is complete once the student can practice the standard 108 form solo to an acceptable standard.
The Cotswold Training Centre teaches a full syllabus of Wu’s Style Tai Chi Chuan at three different levels: beginner, intermediate and senior.
Tai Chi Chuan for Health
This is not a system for building up muscles, but rather perfecting the movements it teaches both coordination and relaxation of the entire body. The resulting strengthened mind-body connection leads to a very high degree of physical proficiency. The general level of performance of everything you do is improved: with better breathing and better circulation, comes better health.
Tai Chi Chuan for Serenity
Control of both mind and body is essential to enable them to act in harmony. Tai Chi Chuan has been called ‘meditation in movement’. When the movements have been well learned, and regularly practiced there is a noticeable increase in concentration.
This training teaches you to have an open mind. Since a relaxed state is absolutely necessary before you can learn the movements properly, all stress and tension must be left behind.
Tai Chi Chuan as a Martial Art
The martial applications of Tai Chi Chuan depend upon speed, sensitivity, flexibility and mechanics rather than brute force. Learning to sense an opponent’s centre of gravity, and direction of movement, so as to use their energy against them are key skills. As the Tai Chi saying goes, "four ounces can move a thousand pounds". At senior level the important 8 techniques of power generation are introduced.