Brandon Smith (Redwoodtwig)

What is Tai Chi and Chi Kung? 


"Tai Chi" (Taiji) has become  associated with a wide variety of internal arts, almost all of which trace their origins back to a treatise titled "Tai Chi Chuan" (Taijiquan) published sometime between 1100 and 1400 AD, attributed to a man named Chang Sen Fang. A Tai Chi form is a sequence of moves performed smoothly and continuous for several minutes, usually slowly.  The mind/body coordination training needed to to do a Tai Chi form correctly  is the primary reason for learning the art. 

"Chi Kung" (Qigong) refers to mind/body movement exercises derived from traditional Chinese medicine whose origins are lost in the mists of time.  They are very useful to learn as warmups, cool downs, and as practice of some of the same basic principles behind Tai Chi movements.

My background in Tai Chi

The first Tai Chi form I learned in 1981 was called the Yang Family short form, also known as the Chen Man-Ching short form, which he called "Yang-style t'ai chi in 37 Postures."  It was a 32 week class in Alexandria, Virginia, but I have not been able to find an internet listing for the school.

Since then I've studied under several masters for varying periods of time.  Among the most influential in my learning have been Peter Moi in Evanston, Illiniois, Kenny Green and Arthur Du in Columbia, Missouri.

"I think, therefore I am."    -- René Descartes, 1644

"I move, therefore I am."  -- me, 2014

If you move without thinking, you are not.

If you move with thinking and with balance, and perhaps with beauty, you most definitely are.

I've learned how to move with thinking and with balance, at least some of the time. I've also learned how to teach others to move with thinking and balance, at least some of the time.  It is not impossible, but it is also not easy.

I currently offer an ongoing class through the Capital Ritz Dance Studio in Jefferson City, Missouri, USA. 573-893-7787. Thursday Mornings at 10 a.m. This class is for people who are primarily interested in the health benefits of learning a Tai Chi Chuan form and some Chi Kung sets. Contact me for private lessons, coaching sessions, or a place to practice or conduct workshops. 

My Tai Chi Chuan lineage is laid out in this article: Journeyman taiji quan teacher

I blog on Tai Chi, Tai Chi Chuan, and other topics more or less related in my RAGS daybook.

I like to surf the Internet, especially that rich video treasure trove of YouTube.  When I come across a video that demonstrates whole body movement mindfulness or things like that, I post to my Facebook page,, usually with commentary.   

Tai Chi at sunrise

It was above freezing, but not much.