Tai Chi and Chi Gung are the martial arts that is best known for its health benefits. But to gain the greatest health benefit, understanding the martial aspects can be very helpful. The slow movements allows one to inspect the same stances and postures as used in Aikido, and importantly develop the muscle memory to use these stances as needed. For this reason, the combination of both practices is quite useful for some.
Yang Style Tai Chi is known for the long form, 108 movements. The movements are slow, taking between 25 – 50 minutes to practice the entire form. But for health benefits, often 15 – 20 minutes of exercise is enough.
Through in depth study of the movements and postures, one develops patience from which a deeper understanding and many benefits accrue. One finds the maximum efficiency and effectiveness is self defense, and can apply the same efficiency to other endeavors. Better health and happiness tend to be side effects as well.
Our practice includes the basic forms of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan as well as push hands. In order to understand the proper use of force, students can also learn the robust Iwama Style Aikido weapons system. Alternatively, they can pursue instruction in the Shaolin Kung Fu forms through a disciple of Master Yu in New York. Lastly, students can pursue in depth study of internal energy for health and healing with Chi Gung classes offered by Master Kiko.
Master Cheng Hsiang Yu was perhaps the strongest practitioner of Tai Chi in the New York metropolitan area. He studied Shaolin Chuan with Hou Zheng Chi, and then Tai Chi Chuan with Lee Sou Chi. But when Lee Sou Chi passed away, Master Yu studied with and became a disciple of Chang Manching.
To give a little history, Yang Lou Chan founded Yang Style Tai Chi after studying the Chen Style. His grandson, Yang Chang Fu, changed the form to popularize it throughout China. Chang Manching was a student of Yang Chang Fu. But Lee Sou Chi learned the original style before Yang Chang Fu changed it. So in this way, Master Yu benefitted from the older and newer styles.
When Master Yu began teaching in the U.S. in 1979, he reverted back to a form more closely related to his studies of the original forms with Lee Sou Chi. He then connected this form with his Shaolin Kung Fu studies to focus on proper use of force in martial arts applications. Master Yu taught until his death in 2010, working for his students to develop a deep understanding of Tai Chi, leading to a healthier and happier life.
Steve Kanney began practicing Tai Chi with Master Yu due to health concerns in 1999. He began the practice of Aikido in 1978, but was unable to train as his body was too weak. A Chinese Doctor told him to begin Tai Chi practice. He replied that he only wanted to train in Aikido. The doctor said, “You would like to practice Aikido?” Steve replied, “Yes.” To which the doctor said, “Then practice Tai Chi so that you can practice Aikido.” Steve met Master Yu in June 1999 after 9 months of poor health. Within 2 weeks he returned to work and started Aikido training shortly thereafter.