T’ai Chi Ch’uan at the Bell Arts
Classes Wednesdays from 4:30- 5:30 with Clifton Gore
Tai Chi Chuan is an art of self-defence and self-discipline which has been in existence for centuries in China. There are different schools which teach this art but the principles and objectives are the same: to teach one to know oneself and improve one’s well-being, both psychological and physical health. The first principle of Tai Chi Chuan is to learn to calm oneself mentally and physically; this leads to perfect control.
The effect of body on mind and mind on body is in evidence at each turn of our lives every day. The realization of this fact is a step toward making an effort to find a technique that can “nourish the body and calm the spirit,” a technique that, as an exercise, can give action to thought, and as a philosophy, can make the whole greater than the sum of its integral parts. Tai Chi Chuan fulfills this goal.
Tai Chi Chuan differs entirely from other forms of exercises. It emphasizes relaxation and concentration. It improves the circulation, tones up muscles and relaxes tense nerves. It improves balance and can also help alleviate symptoms of many ailments such as hyper-tension, gastric disturbances, arthritis, heart disease, anemia, and other illnesses. Besides exercising every muscle and joint, every movement harmonizes with natural, deep diaphragmatic breathing, requiring tranquility and concentration of the mind in its practice. Since the movements of this exercise are in coordination with the function of the mind, they produce beneficial effects on the nervous center by revitalizing the entire system.
Moving slowly prevents the body from becoming tense or stiff and makes muscles resilient and pliable. Strength cannot be wasted or falsely exerted because slow movement requires attentive control. In a deeper sense, the way of the movement is related to the movement of the mind, the mind must direct the body movement: the mind wills and the body behaves. This is truly an exercise of the mind, training it to function consistently and harmoniously with the will.
Tai Chi Chuan is often referred to as the circular exercise, because all patterns and designs are composed of circles, curves, arcs, parabolas, and spirals of all sizes, which go in many directions, horizontal, vertical, or slanted. Circular motion, which allows no break in the flow of gestures nor any corners to the designs, creates evenness, which is an important factor in relaxing. All diverse circular units in the exercise are balanced by evenly paced action and by the control of the center of gravity. This combination resembles the symbol for Tai Chi, in which the outer circle equalizes the movement within it. By maintaining the circular smoothness in action, an outer passivity is attained. Simultaneously, to balance the activity of the movements, an inner stillness is created.
The entire system is gradually warmed during the exercise. Patterns and movements in the subtle succession activate different parts of the body, and never at any time repeat themselves in overconcentrated units. This enables the body to do more without making the heart beat faster to keep up with the body changes.
About Clifton Gore: In 1987 I attended my first class of Yang style long form Tung family Tai Chi (89 postures). I practiced and studied for the next 11 years with Jane Golden a long time student of Grand Master Kai Ying Tung. During that time I attended many workshops and intensives with Grand Master. In 1998 I Moved to Ojai and started teaching classes in Ventura County and attending classes in Los Angeles with Grand Master. I am currently studying with both Grand Master Kai Ying Tung and his son Master Chen Wei Tung.
Learn more about Clifton Gore and Ventura County Tai Chi at http://vctaichi.com/bio.html.