Mastering Tai Chi Overview
Tai chi is one of the most remarkable and practical philosophies ever devised. It combines the pursuit of health and longevity, the martial practice of self-defense, and the lofty—but attainable—ideals of harmony and balance. It promotes relaxation, joy, compassion, positive growth, and flow. Tai chi gives you a set of mental tools you can apply in all areas of your life, and it helps you learn to achieve your goals with the minimum effort for the maximum result.
Best of all, tai chi is accessible to everyone, regardless of your current level of physical fitness. The movements are designed to emphasize and improve your body’s natural, healthy posture, so that instead of struggling to perform strenuous motions, you playfully relax into a gentle flow. The philosophy of tai chi can be applied comfortably within any spiritual framework, or none at all. The concepts of merit and virtue, of authenticity and mindfulness, of kindness and service to community and the world—all of these are values to be cherished by any thoughtful person who seeks a happy and meaningful life.
Mastering Tai Chi is your invitation to step onto the path of greater health, strength, wisdom, and compassion. These 24 half-hour lessons taught by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross, take you deeply into what is traditionally called tai chi chuan (taijiquan), while focusing on a routine known as the Yang-style 40-movement form. As you learn this form, you also:
- study the principles of tai chi—physical and philosophical guidelines that frame the essential concepts of the practice.
- delve into tai chi’s long history, contemplating the contributions of the sages who composed the tai chi classics, the Dao De Jing, the I Ching, and other priceless philosophical texts.
- envision an imaginary opponent to engage the martial aspects of the practice, then connect with a real partner in “Push Hands”—a tai chi game for two
- learn advanced techniques, including silk reeling and silk pulling, that are rarely taught.
- discover the transformational power of your focused intention and willpower to achieve your goals.
Mastering Tai Chi is excellent for beginners, as Professor Ross breaks down arm motions, body positions, and footwork for each movement. David-Dorian Ross shows you how to sink into and feel the posture, then smoothly transition and maintain your flow. Compared with the 24-movement form and instructional approach in Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, this Mastering Tai Chi course offers a more extended and deeper familiarity with Yang-style tai chi via the 40-movement form, which incorporates and builds upon movements from the shorter sequence.
Following traditional methods for a private, “indoor student,” you’ll consider ideas from the tai chi classics, and you’ll also encounter many new concepts and applications. Even those who have previously taken tai chi classes in person or studied with an instructor will gain knowledge from the depth and breadth of the presentation, the attention to each detail of the form, and the consideration of foundational philosophical principles and their application, both for better movement and in everyday life.
Mental Tools for Every Realm of Life
Tai chi is based on principles that not only improve your physical health, but also reveal the secrets to emotional health, satisfying relationships, and success in all of your endeavors. You will learn techniques to strengthen and develop traits such as:
- focused intention
- tranquility inside movement and chaos
These tools, and the others you gain, will serve you well in everything you do. When you are mindful of your body and emotions, you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The clarity and authenticity of this knowledge help you focus your intention and employ your willpower to heal and grow more effectively. When you move toward health, your balance improves and your flow increases, and you are able to find tranquility anywhere.
The course makes available a wealth of resources to help you think through your journey, including:
- vital philosophical texts like the Tai Chi Classics, the I Ching, and the Tao Te Ching
- traditional teaching stories and wisdom, as well as stories from David-Dorian Ross’s own path to mastery
- the history and significance of important symbols like silk, tea, and incense
- cultural information such as the traditional conduct and greetings of teachers and students, as well as the Chinese names and English translations and insights regarding each form movement
Armed with this information, you will find yourself well equipped to enjoy and benefit from tai chi, and engage with the challenges of the wider world.
Advance along the Path to Mastery
While the course is entirely accessible to beginners and starts with the basics of tai chi, it also progresses into more advanced topics and techniques. You’ll watch Professor Ross slice the air with a tai chi straight sword in the circling, spiraling patterns shared by bare-hand and weapons forms alike. David-Dorian Ross demonstrates the principle of smooth, continuous flow with the tai chi staff, making beautiful—and dangerous—”flowers” as he moves.
Another tai chi master joins him in the studio for a whole lesson on pushing hands, tai chi’s partner game that lets you accentuate and assess progress along your path. Another lesson is spent on the techniques of silk reeling and silk pulling—styles of movement that are intrinsic to tai chi, but that are often hidden in the form and rarely taught.
Each lesson is visually rich, with supportive graphics designed to focus your attention and make the instruction even clearer and easier to follow. To show you how each part of your body aligns and moves in sequence, you always see this master instructor perform and lead you through each movement – and each combination of movements — from several angles. Graphics such as arrows that appear during a movement help you grasp the orientation and motion of your own hands, arms, legs, and feet as you progress through the form. On-screen text displays the names of movements in English, and in pinyin, which is the standardized version of Chinese rendered more-or-less phonetically using the Roman alphabet, and in traditional Chinese characters.
Tai chi is an unparalleled system for improving your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Mastering Tai Chi is an extraordinary course that can help you achieve the heights of mental and physical fitness. Bring the body you have, and step into a journey of personal mastery.
What You’ll Learn In Mastering Tai Chi
- The Path toward Mastery
- Harmony Is the Ultimate Goal
- Walking like a Cat
- Mind over Muscles
- Taming the Monkey Mind
- The Bow and Arrow
- Practicing in a Small Space
- Hips and Waist: The Center Is the Commander
- Feet: Separate Empty from Full
- Shoulders: Finding Reasons to Let Go
- Inside Reflects the Outside
- Chest, Posture, and the Natural Curve
- Bring Out Your Flow
- Transitions as Smooth as Silk
- Legs to Arms: Connecting Upper and Lower
- A Movable Meditation
- Bouncing Away Conflict
- The Peaceful Warrior
- Qigong Breathing
- Partners: The Whole Body Is the Hand
- Five Stages of Mastery
- Lotus Kick and Laughing Buddha
- Conserve Your Energy
- Another River to Cross