Thursday 1.30pm - 3pm
Held at Methodist Church Hall, Lansdowne Road.
Tai Chi is part of the Chinese Kung Fu system, a martial art that dates back to the 1660's. It has been well documented that practitioners of this system develop:
· Stronger legs
· Improved balance
· Better circulation
· Improved posture and breathing
· Stronger immune system
· Less knee pain
· Flexibility and suppleness
The exercises we practise from this system are slow, controlled, relaxed movements. They are all performed in a standing position. Some movements are co-ordinated with the breath to give a calming sense of relaxation. It is a slow-motion dance like routine which we try to master with a sense of humour!
Warning: It is not as easy as it looks but it is fun trying to do it!
Please note - we have a nice long tea/coffee break in the middle of the session!
Our thoughts after a year's attendance:
Tai Chi is a martial art which is defensive rather than aggressive, meditative rather than speedy. So we are not doing energetic martial arts like Kung Fu or Karate. Much of the ninety minutes is taken up with slow, controlled movement designed to improve balance and flexibility as well as providing a range of health benefits. Of course there is enough time for tea, and biscuits are included.
We start with ten minutes of warm-up exercises which stretch and work all parts of the body. Then we do Qigong, the health part of the class. Tai Chi, the martial art part is after the tea break. Leader Sue explains and demonstrates and repeats moves to help us memorise them. Not everyone is good at following instructions like 'raise right hand so it's in front of your right shoulder'. Our hands can be too low, out to the side or trying to touch the ceiling! Sue encourages us repeating instructions with patience and humour. She also talks about the history of the sequences or movements and the health benefits of particular ones. She urges us to do only what we can, especially when it comes to bending. No-one is as flexible as she is, as she has been doing this for over thirty years.
The class comprises people of many ages. Members are equally varied in the number of months and years they have spent attempting the Wild Goose sequence, for example. It has been whispered that there are some in the class who have spent ten years attempting to perfect the movements. The class mus be good for your brain, having to concentrate not only on what each limb should be doing but also to breathe in the right place.
We would highly recommend coming along on Thursday afternoon and having a go as it's not easy to describe how enjoyable it is. Despite the slowness of the movements you do feel afterwards that you've taken a lot of exercise. The tea-break is very sociable and the washing up is done on a rota. Barry and Jenny Harkison - November 2018