Flowing Dragon Tai Chi

Recharge, Refresh, Rejuvenate!

FDlogo01Strengthen your core, improve balance and flexibility, and boost your mind/body connection with this popular form of moving meditation.

Monday and Wednesday mornings, 9 am, at Evolution Dance Experience in Elmhurst.
Check out their dance classes at https://evolutiondanceexperience.com/

For information email: tim at studiochapman dot com

Meet your instructor- Tim Chapman

2005 to present– Instructor of tai chi chuan & Chinese internal martial arts; Chicago, IL

2002 to 2012– Student of san shou kickboxing under Master Anthony Marquez, Extreme Kung Fu; Evanston, IL

2002 to 2008– Student of bagua zhang & tai chi chuan under Master Daniel Pesina, Chicago Wushu Guan; Chicago, IL

2003, 2005, 2008 –Choreographer and instructor of Chinese martial arts, fencing and acrobatics for the Forms in Motion circus troupe for their productions, “Wind Dancer’s Circus” and “Pirate Circus.”

2002 to 2004– Private student of hsing-i chuan & tai chi chuan under Master Jian Hua Guo; Chicago, IL

2001– Student of Shaolin gong fu under Shi Heng Jun; at Fa Wan monastery; Dengfeng, China

1992 to 2002– Student of Chinese wu shu under Master Jian Hua Guo, Championship Martial Arts Academy; Chicago, IL

1987 to 1989– Instructor and owner of S.D.S. self-defense classes at Moming; Chicago, IL

1984 to 1991– Student of hapkido under Master Kang Hoon Lee, Jung Do Hapkido Academy; Chicago, IL

1984– Student of full contact kickboxing under Mark Streeter, Degerberg Academy; Chicago, IL

1982– Student of White Lotus kung fu under Masters Douglas & Carrie Wong; Panorama City, CA

1980 to 1982– Student of shotokan karate under Sensei Robert Matheny; Los Angeles, CA

Tim has also taken classes from, or trained in seminars with Xiao Wang Chen, Willy Lin, Frank Dux, Bong Soo Han, Dan Ivan, Fumio Demura, George Dillman, Jian Hua Lin, Lisa Tomoleoni, Chuck Westcott and Patrick Gavin.

Some General Information

There are several styles of Tai Chi. The most well known are Chen, Yang, Sun, Hao, and Wu. The Yang-style 24 form is probably the most practiced Tai Chi form in the world. It was choreographed in the 1950s when the Chinese government asked the most skillful masters in the country to select their best techniques and standardize their forms.

Tai Chi forms are done slowly so the student can learn proper body alignment and Tai Chi energies. The three most commonly discussed Tai Chi energies are song, peng jin, and fa jin. Song is being relaxed or loose. Peng jin is a feeling of expanding, similar to the way air expands in a balloon. Fa jin is usually thought of as an explosive type of movement, but the key to fa jin energy is using your center, an area known as the dan tian, to lead the movement. It’s like a chain reaction—the dan tian moves first, which in turn moves your waist, which moves your torso, which moves your shoulder, which moves your arm. When first learning the form, the slowness of the practice allows students to concentrate on these energies. After getting comfortable with the form, it can become a type of moving meditation.

There’s a saying that a Tai Chi practitioner can move a thousand pounds with four ounces. What this refers to is being so sensitive to your opponent’s energy that you can use his own power against him. Most martial arts have stories about the ancient masters associated with them. My favorite is a story about Yang, Lu Chan, who lived in the 1800s. He could hold a sparrow on the palm of his hand and, by sensing the bird’s energy, prevent it from taking off. Every time the sparrow tensed it’s legs to push off and fly, Master Yang would drop his hand a little. That way the bird didn’t have a solid base to take off from.

The type of sensitivity needed to prevent a bird from taking off can also be used to detect an opponents intention. To achieve this sensitivity, Tai Chi students practice a series of exercises called Push Hands. These exercises use the forearms as a kind of bridge to the opponent and enable the practitioner to feel weight shifts, pressure, and subtle changes in his or her movement. Other martial arts like Wing Chun, Judo, and Aikido incorporate sensitivity drills into their training, too.

Push Hands is an important prerequisite to using Tai Chi applications for self-defense. Unlike Shaolin martial arts, which have their origins in Buddhism, Tai Chi comes from Taoism. Taoist monks shared Buddhism’s respect for life and the belief that humans are a part of nature and, as such, are connected to nature and to one another. Taoists, however, saw that nature could be harsh. Tai Chi Chuan reflects this philosophy. While a Shaolin martial artist might apply an elbow lock to control an opponent, a Tai Chi practitioner would just break the joint. When we practice these techniques we are very careful not to hurt one another.