About the Class

We are easily accessible from Chorlton, Didsbury, Withington, Fallowfield, Burnage.

Class Times

classBasics and Form Class:
Wednesday 7:00 to 8:30 pm

Advanced Class:
Wednesday 9:00 to 10:00 pm


£7 per lesson

Please enquire about beginners intake. Experienced students always welcome if there is room.

What to Wear

You will need to wear loose comfortable clothing such as would be worn for an exercise class like yoga. The clothing needs to give you freedom of movement. Most people wear loose t-shirts and jogging pants. Choice of footwear is important for when we do two person exercises - it needs to be grippy and fairly flat, so trainers are ideal.

What you will experience and learn in the class

The class is informal and friendly, with a maximum of around 14 participants due to the size of the room and the required quality of individual attention. The class splits into two rooms after the warm-ups so beginners or students wishing to focus on integrating basic taiji principles can attend one class while people who are learning forms attend the other. Forms are only taught after some principles have been absorbed. Generally two teachers are available, one per room.

We are teaching and researching movement at the most subtle of levels, moving it on and integrating into the Tai Chi Form; Pushing Hands and much other two person work.


We focus on:

  • Rooting - having the body aligned to absorb like a spring and return or apply forces.
  • Posture - this requires relaxation for it to be aligned correctly, and only this gives rise to good rooting. There is a straightening of the entire spine and  a sinking down and relaxing around every joint,  after which more pressure from the body weight is felt in the leg muscles and feet.
  • Balance - a continual physical balance is part of tai chi, loss of balance implies loss of a good root and an opening for an opponent.
  • Body mechanics - again this is connected to the optimal application and absorption of forces. For example there is a principle of keeping the arms in a position where the pectoral muscles are soft, or turning the arm in a certain way to avoid it being locked by the opponent.
  • Pliability - of the upper body particularly so that forces can be yielded to to the extent necessary to avoid being damaged
  • Redirecting and Returning forces to the opponent to disrupt their balance. Once you understand rooting and body mechanics you also understand how and when to disrupt the root of the opponent. Chengfu-form-09
  • Listening - to when the opponent strays outside the tight set of principles of tai chi where their posture or balance is slightly compromised and can be exploited.
  • Forward focus or pung which is a continual slight pressure into an opponent's centre at one point of contact. Pung is a force always connected both to our root and the opponents root.  Without pung there are many opportunities for the opponent to disrupt our balance. In this sense it is a centrifugal force. If the opponent is pulling, the pung effectively becomes a centripetal, or inward drawing, force, again always connected to the root.
  • Movement of the spine from the Dan Tien in any  direction of rotation aids in absorbing and redirecting and returning forces in a circular manner. When the Dan Tien moves correctly tai chi is no longer composed of just linear movements. This rotational movement of the Dan Tien also enables us to have limb movements fully connected to the centre and connected to the force from the centre. There is a new focus in the exercise world in general in developing "the core." The core muscles enable stability and much more power generation. In tai chi we are continually working the core which is synonymous with the set of deeper muscles of the  Dan Tien area. The Dan Tien rotates in three directions, and these directional movements  are all integrated into each movement when we get to more advanced levels of practice. In Chen Tai Chi the masters seem to state that as someone makes serious progress these movements can get to the point of not being visibly observable - they are felt powerfully though when hands-on.

All these principles are explored slowly, methodically and safely within individual and partner exercises and in an open, non-competitive environment. In partner exercises your own research into how the principles work is encouraged. Over many years we have researched into  how various standard exercises work in a martial sense, without leaving openings or placing us in any sort of danger. The upshot is that  if we cannot make an exercise work, we don't practice it.  Both standard exercises like Da Lu and short excercises made up in the class to practice a certain principle are used to teach the student.

Tai Chi is less about techniques than any other martial art and more about principles of movement out of which spring the techniques damanded in the moment. In other words it teaches us to respond to forces with the principles engrained into the body; the thinking mind has less input as little is pre-conceived.

Once the student understands the intricacies of the movements required, they understand why tai chi is performed slowly until a certain level of proficiency is attained.

Are you Suited to this Class?

So many classes teach people to follow the moves of a form but they can apply next to nothing of it since many of the basic principles are not taught. This may still help someone's health since it would bring  them into the body and to some extent out of the stress of everday living.  Such a class would be suited to people who are perhaps more infirm or aging.

You may be suited to the class if you want to learn tai chi as a set of martial art principles as well as principles for posture, balance, relaxation and strength. You will also need to be averagely fairly fit and able - you won't need to be a weight-lifter or marathon runner!