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WWTC Curriculum and Video Tutorials

Tai ChiQigongBaguaXingyiTuina Bodywork

WaterWheel Tai Chi offers group and private instruction in Tai Chi, Qigong, and two other Chinese “internal” martial arts, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan. Brief descriptions of each art follow, as well as video links to our youtube channel. These informal videos are offered as a student resource and employ a "mechanical" demonstration style to emphasize pertinent details.

The Internal Family of Chinese Martial Arts 內家拳
Since the early twentieth century Tai Chi, Xingyiquan and Baguazhang have often been referred to as the “three brothers” of the Chinese martial arts. While there are other so-called “internal” martial arts in China, these big three are the most famous. In this context, “internal” refers to Neigong (Qigong/Daoyin) training and its emphasis on core strength, full-body coordination, and highly efficient movement as opposed to the “external” strength and speed of the limbs. It is the "internal" quality of this training that also underpins the reputation of all these arts for improving health. The same principles are utilized by the practitioner when performing Chinese Tuina bodywork.

Tai Chi 太極拳
(also written "Taijiquan" or "T'ai-chi Ch'üan")

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that has gained a worldwide reputation for its therapeutic benefits and graceful appearance. Equally a mental and a physical practice, Tai Chi combines methods of regulating posture, breathing, intention and awareness for the development of strength, coordination, circulation, and acute sensitivity. The dance-like routine of flowing movements seen in parks all over the world con tinues to be the centerpiece of the system but does not exclusively represent the art of Tai Chi. The complete method includes a variety of stationary and moving, solo and partnered exercises as well as weapon training.

While acknowledging that most of our students are not seeking to be martial artists, we treat the self-defense principles in Tai Chi as offering a widely applicable skill set for moving through life with grace and efficacy. We don’t offer any classes solely in “form.” Non-competitive partnered exercises are essential to learning the proper body mechanics that are the foundation of practicing for health and fitness. However, no student is pressured to perform any exercise that makes them uncomfortable.

For more information and free video tutorials, go to our dedicated Tai Chi page.

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Qigong 氣功 / Neigong 內功 / Daoyin 導引
(also written "Ch’i Kung," "Nei Kung" and "Tao-yin")

A therapeutic exercise system historically documented at over 2000 years old, Qigong has been called “the mother of the Chinese martial arts.” Ancient texts demonstrate that its practice was instrumental to the development of Chinese acupuncture. Although "Qigong," is a modern catchall term for a wide variety of exercises, the fundamental movements are seen time and time again in most training systems.

Qigong exercises develop relaxed and efficient body alignment, well-integrated strength and movement, and mental awareness to promote the body’s innate self-maintenance and performance. In many ways, Qigong is at the root of many of the health benefits ascribed to Tai Chi practice. However, the wide variety of exercises allows more specific tailoring of practice to the individuals needs and many of the exercises are easier to learn than Tai Chi. For many people, Qigong may offer the most immediate opportunity to improve the way you feel on a daily basis.

For more information and free video tutorials, go to our dedicated Qigong page.


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Baguazhang 八卦掌 (Eight-diagram Boxing)
(also written "Pa-kua Chang")

At an unknown date (possibly the mid-nineteenth century), the founders of Bagua adopted a Daoist walking meditation method as part of a new system of Chinese boxing. The youngest of the “three brothers,” Bagua is just beginning to enjoy popularity in the U.S. though not yet rivaling the popularity of Tai Chi.

The name “Bagua,” or “eight trigrams,” can be most simply deciphered as a reference to the eight point of the compass traversed during circle walking practice. But though Bagua can most easily recognized by this circling method, as with the long Tai Chi series, this hardly represents its entire training system. However, circling and spiraling movements do form the core of its training strategy to unify a flexible power of the spine with uniquely fluid footwork. More broadly, the term “Bagua” connotes constant but systematic change and adaptability. In self-defense, Bagua emphasizes supple and unpredictable change that evades and subverts any incoming force.

For more information and free video tutorials, go to our dedicated Bagua page.

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Xingyiquan 形意拳 (Shaped Intent Boxing)
(also written "Hsing-i Ch'uan")

Xingyi (pronounced "shing-ee") is a development of traditional Chinese martial arts that emphasizes the development of clear intention, “yi,” directly translated into active form or shape, “xing.” Like the famous Shaolin boxing style, Xingyi is characterized by clarity and directness. Its movements are inspired by the spontaneous action of natural forces (water, wood, fire, etc.) and animals. It strongly emphasizes the practice of tranquil “standing stake” Qigong practice, and in the 20th century, a derivative named “Yiquan,” or "Da Cheng Quan," was developed as a back to basics approach that promoted this practice almost exclusively.

For health promotion, Xingyi practice deeply massages the body tissues. In self-defense, Xingyi is forthright, direct, and elegant in its simplicity, developing a tightly coiled and efficient movement style that attempts to overwhelm any incoming attack virtually head-on.

For more information and free video tutorials, go to our dedicated Xingyi page.

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Tuina 推拿 (Chinese manual therapy)
(also written "Tui-na")

Tuina (manipulation of the acupuncture points, channels and tissues) and Dieda (treatment for "falls and hits") are branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine closely intertwined with the Chinese martial arts. Hand techniques, liniments and herbal poultices offer a simple way to treat common injuries that can impede training.

For more information and free video tutorials, go to our dedicated Tuina page.

Tai ChiQigongBaguaXingyiTuina Bodywork

 

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