Tai Chi’s popularity in the west has grown exponentially in recent years, being recognised increasingly as a fantastic way to help practitioners remain healthy whatever their age.

It is known as an internal or a soft style martial art but thankfully in this day and age the immediate need for martial skills are somewhat diminished and the reasons for learning tai chi become more diverse and personal to each individual, with many students training solely for the amazing health benefits.

One of the wonderful things about tai chi is that is suitable whatever your age or current level of health and fitness. Perhaps you haven’t been active for a while and you want a gentle reintroduction to exercise. Or you could be on the go with sports and activities regularly and want to do tai chi to give you more mobility, energy and longevity in your other interests.

The movements are performed slowly and gracefully using a minimum of force and muscular tension. The idea is to perfect the technique, originally so that you could have defeated a much larger and stronger attacker, using their energy, aggression and momentum against them.

Nowadays, when mostly people train with a focus on health and well-being, the slow movements gently strengthen and stretch out the tendons, ligaments, muscles and fascia. Energy (chi) can then flow freely allowing us to remain healthy and vital, helping to heal existing health issues or acting as a preventative measure against illness and injury.

The synchronisation of the breath and mindful movements is an extremely effective way to relax and relieve stress. It can help with issues such as insomnia and anxiety, as well as bringing a calmness to an otherwise often quite hectic daily schedule.

What’s more, tai chi is great fun! Can be practised almost anywhere and at any time. The first form taught at WCA is a 66 move White Crane tai chi form called “Frost and Sun White Crane Gentle Art”. We also teach qigong in the classes – you can learn more about its fascinating history and all the amazing benefits in this blog post.

As you progress there are opportunities to develop your skills and learn other empty hand tai chi forms, qigong forms and the amazing and elegant White Crane weapons, such as straight sword, cane, fan and double fan.

Whatever the benefits you are trying to gain from your tai chi practice, you’ll find the classes here are suitable. You may want a weekly session of relaxing tai chi or the possibility to train several times a week to speed up your progress. It is even possible to dedicate more time to your study of tai chi and eventually train up to be an instructor.

Click here to view the full timetable of classes.

You can also learn tai chi online with us at White Crane Online.

You can download the move names for the White Crane tai chi form here and qigong Shibashi One here (please contact Mark for password to gain access).

Testimonial from tai chi student Carol

On the advice of my doctor because of balance problems I joined Mark’s Tai Chi classes. I was quite nervous at first not knowing what to expect but I can honestly say I have not looked back. Mark is an excellent teacher. My balance has improved and I look forward to each lesson. I would recommend his classes.

Carol, Haywards Heath

Testimonial from tai chi student Dilys

I have been learning the White Crane Tai Chi form with Mark for just over a year. During that time my health has improved in a number of ways, which has been a very pleasant surprise. I try to attend three classes a week and really enjoy the Qigong as well as the Tai Chi.

Before starting the classes I had problems with my left knee, it just did not move properly and there was constant pain – all better now! My sense of balance has improved so much and I’ve also lost two inches off my waist!

The most wonderful thing is that the tinnitus which I have had for about twenty years has calmed down so much that I am hardly aware of it.

All the benefits have made me so much stronger mentally and physically. I look forward to improving my under standing of this art of Tai Chi.

Dilys, Haywards Heath