Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art. Each student begins for a different reason, but all that is required to begin is a desire to learn. Continuing takes perseverance and the full understanding of Tai Chi reveals itself after a long time of study. But the benefits become apparent early.
Students start by learning a long, slow sequence of movements that establish the base of what is called the "slow set." These movements start simply and can be learned through repetition and practice by most anyone. The slow set is the basis for bringing together the mind, the body and also the spirit to cultivate chi, or energy, or our life force. Learning the movements is just the beginning. It is the structure upon which true learning and study can begin.
While Tai Chi reveals its full nature over time, its benefits can be felt after one or two classes. Tai Chi helps balance, focus, stillness of the mind, strength, flexibility, breathing and a general sense of well-being. One also learns patience, humility, and gratitude and learns to leave behind negativity, anger and frustration. One finds that a cheerful and calm attitude enhances our learning and that Tai Chi enhances our calm and cheerful attitude.
Location, Schedule and Cost
TAI CHI CLASSES Tuesday 10:00 – 11:45 Beginners and mixed levels slow set, continuing students, and advanced forms
Thursday 9:30 – 11:15 AM Beginners and mixed levels slow set, continuing students, and advanced forms
$40 per month for one or two classes a week. Per Class $13.
New Students: New students start the first Tuesday or Thursday of each month.
Tai Chi classes are held at the Stone Ridge Community Center: 3564 Main Street, Stone Ridge, NY 12484
QIGONG CLASSES Saturdays 9:30 – 10:30 AM $40 monthly Drop-in $13 $36 monthly for students who are also taking Tai Chi Classes
Qigoing classes are held at Stone Ridge Healing Arts 3457 Main Street (Rt. 209) Stone Ridge, NY 12484
Lineage and Forms
Bobbi Esmark began "playing" Tai Chi in 1993 with Tom Walters, a student and designated teacher of Grand Master Tung Kai Yang. She continued Tai Chi with Martha Cheo in the Hudson Valley. She still studies with Grand Master Tung when possible and attends and assists in Martha's New Paltz classes. She has been teaching in Stone Ridge since 2010.
Lineage - contributed by Joe Bergin
Our style is the Yang Style Long Form as well as advanced forms. Our legacy is in the Tung Family tradition as passed down from Grand Master Tung Ying Chieh to his grandson Master Tung Kai Ying. Tom Walters and Jane Golden are important influences in our school. Both studied with Master Tung Kai Ying for many years and each teaches in California. Master Alex Da De Dong is the great-grandson of Grand Master Tung Ying Chieh. He teaches in New York City and frequently has workshops in our area. He has contributed much to our studies and we benefit from his proximity to us, although his form has differences from ours.
BE TAI CHI is part of New Paltz Taiji, which is comprised of three teachers: Martha Cheo, Joe Bergin and Bobbi Esmark. For information about our group and classes available in New Paltz and Gardiner, www.newpaltztaiji.com
In addition to the slow set long form, we practice: Qigong Fast Set Hard Set Hao form or Ca He (open/close) Sword (Jian) Knife (Dao) Tung Family Set Push Hands (tui shou) Martial Applications
Your First Class
You will need no special gear or equipment, but a few things will make you more comfortable.
What to Wear Soft, comfortable clothing. Flat soled shoes, such as moccasins, espadrilles, Keene brand or boating shoes are good. Heavy, thick running shoes or trainers are not as good, but fine if that is what makes you feel comfortable and supported.
Timing It is best to arrive five or ten minutes before class to place your things out of the practice space and to get ready for class. This is respectful of yourself, your teacher and fellow students. There is a bathroom on site.
Lining Up When class is called to start, newer students stand behind the other students. Align yourself directly behind the person in front of you and in line with the person next to you. This grid enables the teacher to see everyone in the class, and they the leader, more easily.
During Class The class starts with an acknowledgement or "salute" to the past masters and students of Tai Chi. Then, there are Qigong exercises. Follow along. When the Tai Chi starts, watch and listen, without moving until the teacher asks you and the class to practice the movement together. There will be people in the class who know some or all of the form – our classes have mixed levels in the group. This is helpful both for them and for you!