Pic: Training in Chen Family Village, China. Taken during my second of three trips to Chen Village and the third of six training trips to China.
We offer two different types of classes, utilising different approaches to learning Tai Chi
1. Tai Chi Chuan
Chuan means 'fist', implying a martial art
These classes require commitment to attending a regular weekly class. Training at home required to memorise the movements and condition the body is the speccific way of Tai Chi Chuan. If you have joint issues you would be best starting with Tai Chi Qigong (see below). This page is about Tai Chi as a martial art but first, let me mention that we also offer a second option:
2. Tai Chi Qigong / Health Qigong
Qigong means 'energy work'
These extremely popular classes focus on the soft, meditative, relatively simple path of Tai Chi with the emphasis on stretching and loosening the body and calming the mind, to relieve the stress placed upon us by on modern living and so, promoting good health. No martial arts content. We have seen many people seize the ideas an methods taught and begin to reverse their symptoms in our classes. These classes are offered on a more casual basis - just come when you can. If you like it enough you'll prioritise anyway :) If you want to see these 'softer' classes click here
So, as you haven't clicked away yet, let's assume that you are interested in Tai Chi as a Martial Art:
First let me introduce myself:
My name is Cherry Collins and i've been training in Chen StyleTai Chi Chuan with Master Wang Hai Jun (Three times China national champion) for 9 years. I was introduced to Master Wang after I started learning Tai Chi with one of his students in a local class - much like you, perhaps, looking for a class to join.
But even though I now hold an instructor's certificate, I still attend Master Wang's monthly seminars in UK and travel abroad to attend his classes.
I host Master Wang workshops in Mytchett Aldershot for my students. These will become accessible to you too, once you have trained with my school for a while.
Having direct access to authentic Chinese Tai Chi straight from it's roots in Chen Village (Chenjiagou) China, places us in an exceptionally rare and privileged position: You may not appreciate this yet, as a beginner looking for a class to join, but several years into your training you will: Much Tai Chi taught in the West these days has been passed down through tenuous lineages who may or may not at some time have originated from a Chinese master, but then the info got passed on to Bob then to John then Janet and then Jane etc...and the treasures of Taiji got lost along the way.
Is Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan training right for you?
Learning authentic Tai Chi Chuan isn't for everyone. It may look 'soft' externally, but to reach that level takes time, dedication, patience, perseverance and effort. It's possible you may have learnt something of another martial art and perhaps had to stop because of injuries? This won't happen with Tai Chi:
We never meet force with force, but succeed by going with the flow rather than against it. (You'll learn all about that in class). This means that Tai Chi Chuan is an Art you can continue to train in your whole life long. An Art you will get better at the older you get, because Tai Chi Chuan develops, builds and uses internal energy rather than hard, external brute force. (muscles). An old Tai chi saying goes: Three ounces of skill can deflect 1000 pounds of force.
What you will learn in Tai Chi is not a set response to a set action, there are no 'punch me and i'll block you' type drills, no pad work, but instead a WAY of training the body to respond to WHATEVER happens.
Pic below: One of our recent seminars with Master Wang Haijun in Hampshire - Tai Chi students come in various shapes, sizes, ages and genders :)
What are the benefits of choosing our school?
We are in a rare position amongst Tai Chi schools in that we ONLY teach Tai Chi in single level weekly classes, so you will ONLY be with other new learners. This means you won't be confronted with advanced techniques which your body and mind aren't ready to deal with yet.
Why have I chosen to structure my school in this way? Because beginners need to hear, see and understand beginners skills. Beginners skills are the foundation of Tai Chi and everything that's learnt afterwards is built upon these vital skills. I am saddened at the number of people who come to my classes from other Tai Chi schools / styles of Tai Chi who have practiced for maybe 5 years or more and yet display NO physical or intellectual understanding of the PRINCIPLES of Tai Chi. These should be the ABSOLUTE FOUNDATION of ANY style of real Tai Chi. It is the principles that we train into our body week in week out. You'll be introduced to them and reminded of them throughout your training. In English and in Chinese, in words and examples ;-P Without embodying the core principles of Tai Chi there IS no Tai Chi - just an ILLUSION.
I like quoting Tai Chi sayings, as you'll discover if you join my classes! Here's another one for you: - Lian quan, bu lian gong, dao lao yi chang kong - loosely it means even if you practice the choreography (illusion) of tai chi your whole life long until you are old, but you fail to practice / understand / train the 'gong' (the principles) then your Tai Chi will be forever empty (void of skill). Eek! what a total waste of paying customers' time, effort and money! Students can only learn what a teacher offers, so in my opinion, it's not the student's fault they didn't learn the principles, assuming they 1) listened and 2) practiced that is ;-P
Coming to us from another Martial Art?
We actively welcome students who have studied other martial arts, mainly because we recognise that you probably already have the right mindset to knuckle down and make good progress, but we ask you to leave any 'belts' or ego associated with them at the door. Can I quote one more Tai Chi saying? "You only need a belt if your trousers are too loose!"
When you start our classes you will be a 'beginner' even if you have a black belt and 15 years experience in whatever other discipline you've studied. If being a beginner is a problem for you then you probably won't enjoy our classes, and I probably won't enjoy teaching you. I say this because we train to defeat the Ego and to develop and maintain a 'Beginners Mind'. Tai Chi should be a journey of lifelong learning and insight about ourselves and our interaction with others. Once we lose Beginners Mind and think we 'know' something, then all learning ends and we cease to grow.
Like what you've read so far - Hello? Is anyone still reading ?
If you like the idea of getting your teeth (and mind) into a deeply philosophical and technical Internal Martial Art, (which begins with a long period of mastering yourself), we can guide you on your journey, give you the information you need in a matter of fact yet profound way and help you transform information into skill. After a year or so of training, we can open the door to training with a traditional high level Chinese Master, Master Wang Hai Jun, if this is something that interests you.
Pic above: master Wang Haijun teaching my students in Farnborough in 2016.
How to join, fees, 'hidden' extras etc
We don't have any joining fees
We don't operate a pay termly system
Pay only when you come, £7.00 per class (however, in order tokeep up / progress it is necessary to attend a class every week, with the exception of sickness & occasional planned holidays) so if you have a busy social life or are away for 3 months of the year, sorry, this class isn't for you.
For our Tai Chi Chuan classes we require that you wear a uniform (Club T shirt £14 and / or Hoodie £20) and any loose black trousers, although this isn't necessary until the second half of the first term, to allow you to decide if you like us.
We also request & recommend that you buy Master Wang's DVDs from us to practice at home as follows:
Foundations and silk reeling DVD £18 - in your first term,
18 Form DVD £18 - in your second term
Laojia Yi lu 74 form part 1 DVD -in your second year
Laojia Yi Lu part 2 DVD - in your 3rd year
Also Master Wang's teacher's books are an optional additional resource
Book 1 £15 (foundations and 18 form) first year
Book 2 £25 (Chen Taiji Requirements & Laojia Yi Lu) first - second / third year
So in your first year of training with us, as well as your weekly class fee of £7, your additional outlay will be £50 for 2 DVDs and a club T Shirt, which will be useful for many years to come.
When can you join a class?
We start new beginners classes in September & occasionally in January.
The September 2017 class is now open for registration, it's free to enrol. The Class starts on 7th Septeember but you can join for the next couple of weeks if we are not already full. Normally a few people will come and go in the first few weeks and then the core group settle down and we move on together. The class runs from 6.30-7.30pm at Alderwood Senior School (previously known as Connaught School) in Aldershot GU12 4AS. The class will cover foundation exercises and principles in the first half term, and starting the 18 form in the second half term, gradually building the 18 form over the first year.
Contact Us about joining this class
Our Beginners class is held on Thursdays 6.30pm in Aldershot
Pic, one of ouur recent seminars in Farnborough with Master Wang Haijun