Heaven Man Earth Durham
What is Tai Chi?
Sometimes described as moving meditation, Tai Chi is an ancient and powerful form of Chinese exercise, which promotes mental and physical health. The graceful flowing movements bring about a sense of calm, while strengthening the joints, muscles, tendons and bones, and improving circulation, breathing, and the function of the internal organs and nervous system.
The full name Tai Chi Chuan translates as ‘Supreme Ultimate Fist’. It was originally developed as a martial art, and can be used as a highly effective self-defence system, though many people are interested in the health side only. The Heaven Man Earth school comes from a traditional lineage, meaning all aspects are covered, and the full knowledge and benefits of this ancient depthless art can be gained.
What do we teach?
In our North East Tai Chi classes we teach the syllabus of world renowned Master, Adam Mizner. Sifu (Master) Mizner is one of very few people in the world to have attained such a high level of skill. He is also very open and generous in his teaching, which is a rarity in the Tai Chi world, where there is traditionally much secrecy. A lot of “public” Tai Chi, has therefore become a watered down version of complete “closed door” Tai Chi. Many teachers are misinformed, having only covered portions of the art and pass on incomplete material, meaning the full benefits can never be attained. The Heaven Man Earth syllabus is geared toward quickly and systematically developing skill, and therefore achieving maximum benefits.
Yang “The Invincible”:
Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, is named after it’s founder, Yang Lu Chan, who lived over 200 years ago, before the name Tai Chi Chuan even existed. He was not a wealthy man, and ended up doing menial work for the Chen family, who were highly respected martial artists. He impressed his employers so much with the strength of his character, and natural ability, that he was accepted into the family as a student of their art. This was very rare in those days, and Mister Yang soon reached such a level of skill that he adapted what he’d learnt and devised his own art. He became very famous, and to be known as “Yang the Invincible”. The Chinese Emperor employed him to teach his troops what had become known as “Cotton Boxing”, due to Yang’s ability to diffuse an attackers force by appearing to softly yield to it, only then to throw them away without seeming to use any effort.
Tai Chi Chuan (sometimes written Taijiquan) then became the name of Master Yang’s art, to reflect the Taoist idea of the Way of Nature or Yin/Yang. The ancient Taoists followed and lived in harmony with the cycles of nature, and recognised that soft (Yin) often overcomes hard (Yang), like water erodes stone, for example, or like how Master Yang easily overcame much bigger and stronger adversaries.
The Legacy Continues:
Yang Lu Chan’s sons, Yang Ban Hou, and Yang Jian Hou, carried on the legacy, both also becoming very famous Masters. Yang Ban Hou was known for his bellicose nature, and devastating power, while in contrast, Yang Jian Hou had a much gentler demeanor, though was no less skilled. There are stories of birds alighting on him as he practised, attracted by his serene energy.
Yang Jian’s Hou’s sons, Yang Shou Hou, and Yang Cheng Fu, learned from both their father and uncle carried on the tradition. Yang Cheng Fu devised the Large Frame, which was a simpler version designed to teach to the general public, as Tai Chi increasingly became adopted as a way of improving health throughout China. This is still the most commonly practised Form today.
An Almost Lost Art:
The elder brother, Yang Shou Hou meanwhile had relatively few students, and further developed the Middle Frame of his ancestors, as well as his own Small Frame. This branch is still quite rare today, but an older and arguably more complete system, and one of our school’s influences. Once students become proficient at the less complex exercises, they progress to the Yang Shou Hou material.
We hold regular workshops for those wishing to explore the deeper aspects of Tai Chi, including Self-Defence Applications (see our Workshops page for details). Corporate seminars and events can also be arranged. Beginners, intermediates and advanced practitioners welcome. For more information try our FAQ page.
We aim to inspire people to take control of their health and it gives us great pleasure to see the change it has on their lives, as it has ours. We are passionate about our practices and aim to provide the highest quality service.
Our Clients are people of all ages and fitness levels, seeking to improve physical health and/or emotional well-being, or some wish to learn self-defence, or just learn something new and different.
We are happy to answer any questions on any of the services we offer, please Contact Us, or for more general information try our FAQ or Links pages.