6 Week Tai Chi Session begins March 1st

Beginning Tai Chi for health.

This class is for beginners in any physical condition. Students learn the basics of Tai Chi for health and wellness in 6 weeks.

This class meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:15pm.

Call now to reserve your spot in our next 6 week session. (865) 379-9997

The price is $99.

There is also a day class.
It also starts on March 1st and meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Time: 11 – Noon

What is Tai Chi? Part II

We’re continuing our discussion of Tai Chi with this second part of our general info on Tai Chi sequence. As always, if you’re a Maryville local, we teach several different Tai Chi classes at our school, Clear Silat’s Tai Chi in downtown Maryville, TN.

If you’re not a local, you’ll find this information even more valuable because you may not be able to take a class with a qualified instructor where you are (if you’re wondering about criteria for qualified Tai Chi instructors and instructor training, we’ve already done a sequence of blogs on that previously, so have a look through our posts.)

There are many styles of Tai Chi with different forms in terms of physical exertion, appearance and training methods. Each style has its own emphasis on various tai chi principles and methods. Some styles are suitable for more athletic people with a martial arts focus. Other styles provide special healing and relaxation. Tai chi can be performed standing or seated. Almost anyone can learn Tai Chi (Taichiuan, Taiji, Taichi, it’s called lots of things) regardless of their age or physical abilities.

You practice Tai Chi at your own pace.

A short form with smaller and slower movements is appropriate for beginners, especially older people.

It is important to find a Tai Chi form that is suitable for you and can meet your needs and interest. If you have any medical conditions or medications that can cause dizziness, talk with your doctor before starting Tai Chi. Tai chi is an inexpensive and safe exercise. Tai chi is non-competitive. It requires no special equipment and can be practiced indoors or outdoors and anytime (you can even do it while you’re waiting in line at the store).

Tai Chi for health: Practice of the form massages all the muscles and internal organs. Proper elimination of bodily wastes, contribution of hormones and other chemicals to regulate systems of the body are the result of proper practice of the form. In turn, the central processor (brain) is being supported with optimum function by internal systems. Even your eyes are getting a work out if you are “following the hand that leads.”

Internal discipline to consciously direct “balance” throughout the dance retrains and establishes muscle memory and redesigns the brain. Establishing boundaries that preserve balance maintains good health in every aspect of our lives. Most especially is this crucial as we age into our 80’s and 90’s. A body trained in how to move when balance is upset can mean the difference between OOOPS! and a broken bone, sprain or bruise. Applying reverse breathing, even if it is only the first breath at the beginning of practice for new students, brings about a conscious awareness of what you are feeling, the release of all unnecessary tension.

Being limp, devoid of all tension, is not the objective.

Rather, the image of “crisp lettuce” echoed throughout the practice serves a more useful purpose.

Tai Chi Chuan, through practice, is the discovery and the development of the optimum point of efficiency of the use of the human body. The mind is extremely slow to react compared to the trained body in response to physical threat. This needs to be considered when practicing Tai Chi. We’ll talk more about it when we do the next sequence in the blog.


Richard Clear (Posted by Sarah Vose)

What is Tai Chi? Part I

Tai Chi is a slow motion exercise that promotes mind and body health.  It is gentle and relaxing.  In fact, Tai Chi strengthens your mind and body through the power of Relaxation. Sounds simple, right?

There’s a lot more to it and practitioners of the art have spent lifetimes developing their technique and meditation practices.

Tai chi is a slow motion and low impact exercise that promotes health, mind, body and mental relaxation. It is practiced as an effective exercise for health through a series of flowing, graceful and gentle postures and movements.

The gentle flowing movements contain inner power that can strengthen the body, improve mental relaxation and mobilize joints and muscles. It is especially suitable as a therapy for arthritis because of the slow and gentle movements.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Tai chi improves balance, strength, and flexibility and lowers the risk of falls. A study from the Oregon Research Institute found that tai chi improves balance and reduces frequency of falls and risks of falling among older people.
  • Tai chi also reduces pain, stiffness, and stress and improves sleep quality.
  • Researchers from Tufts University School of Medicine noted that patients over 65 years of age with knee osteoarthritis who practiced a 60-minute tai chi class, twice a week for 12 weeks showed a significant decrease in joint pain and stiffness compared with those in the control group.
  • They also found the patients in the tai chi group had improved physical function, self-efficacy, depression, and health status.
  • Both the Oregon and UCLA researchers reported that tai chi helped improve sleep quality in older adults.
  • Other UCLA studies also suggested that tai chi helps people reduce high blood pressure and tension headaches.
  • For people who carry extra weight and have a hard time doing exercises without pain, tai chi can be a gentle and safe way to get moving. A one-hour tai chi exercise can burn about 292 calories. By practicing tai chi and making wiser food choices, people can start burning calories and losing weight.

In this sequence, we’ll be learning more about what Tai Chi is as well as the health benefits of Tai Chi. If you’re a Maryville local thinking of taking classes, we offer Tai Chi instruction and classes several days a week, just take a look at our class schedule n the site.

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part IIIc

The last 2 posts have been all about questions & topics your Tai Chi instructor or teacher should be familiar with as you’re choosing the best place to take lessons. This is the final post in this series of questions/topics which your Tai Chi Instructor should know.

By the way, if you’re a local from Maryville, TN we do offer a wide range of Clear Silat’s Tai Chi classes here, everything from basic to advanced at our local school in downtown Maryville, TN. If you’re not a local, or you’re an advanced or combat Tai Chi student, you may be interested in checking out our sister site: Clear Silat’s Tai Chi or you can watch some of our videos on our youtube channel.

Below you’ll find the final round of Tai Chi questions/topics your instructor should be familiar with:

  • Wu Chi and How to help students actually feel the energy within the first several weeks of study.
    • Our students are usually able to feel the electrical energy within the first 2-3 classes.  This is critical to getting the famous Tai Chi results for arthritis as seen in studies.
  • Tai Chi body frame training – Large, medium and small frame.
    • This includes being able to perform the entire Tai Chi set in a very limited space of several feet as well as being able to utilize the great deal of space that is most commonly seen being utilized by Tai Chi practitioners.
  • 4 ounces moves 1,000 pounds principles and concepts applied
  • How to perform the Tai Chi moves in a weight bearing manner in order to get the bone density results as seen in studies performed at Emory University.
  • How to utilize and practice Tai Chi in a manner that will rehabilitate injuries and physical conditions such as back problems.
    • This is person and injury specific and is not just practicing the form moves the same way that everyone else in class does.  Real Tai Chi for rehabilitation purposes is specific to the individual and any real Tai Chi instructor knows how to teach it this way.  It also includes how to intelligently modify Tai Chi moves so that a person who is elderly or disabled can still get the full benefits of practice.  This includes such things as being able to perform the Tai Chi while sitting down.
  • Various and different ways to practice the Tai Chi moves in order to work with different personalities and mental states to develop different attributes and abilities including the ability to become more grounded and mentally focused and to how to mentally relax and get rid of body tensions including headaches depending on what is needed.
    • Part of this refers to the idea that everyone should not be doing the same thing the same way.  From a medical standpoint Tai Chi is very individualized.  So, if the teacher claims they only practice or/and teach Tai Chi for health then they should be quite knowledgeable in this area and if they are not then not only do they not know the self-defense aspects of Tai Chi but they don’t understand much about the health aspect of practicing Tai Chi either and you would do better to keep searching.  If you cannot find someone in your local community who really knows and teaches Tai Chi then please contact us and we will do our best to help you.
  • Self Defense Applications – A Tai Chi teacher does not have to teach self-defense to students who do not want it but any real teacher of Tai Chi who can impart the real knowledge of Tai Chi to others must have at least a basic understanding of how the movements are really applied and be able to demonstrate it.
    • This is a necessity as the moves can only be truly understood if the practitioner knows the basic fundamental applications for the move.  Without this knowledge the Tai Chi instruction really is a case of the blind leading the blind.
    • Any basic Tai Chi instructor knows a minimum of 9 – 10 different applications for each and every move and the applications range from very simple to very sophisticated.  An advanced teacher will often know a minimum of several dozen or more applications for each move that will include but are not limited to throwing, grappling, striking, seizing, controlling, pressure point strikes, take downs and slipping/warding off (soft blocking).  Tai Chi began as a martial art and is still practiced as such by the Chinese and any real teacher of the art is going to have been exposed to this part of the discipline.
  • Peng, Lu, Ji, Ahn
  • Jan Si Jing
  • Rooting
  • Fa Jing
  • Pulling Silk
  • Coiling
  • Expanding and Contracting
  • Condensing and Releasing
  • Listening – Ting Jing
  • Central Equilibrium – Dong Jing

Many other items too numerous to include here and that can be found by reading quality books on the subject and by searching and reading online and by checking back with us as we continue to post and offer information for the general public.

Obviously this is quite a bit to take in. Some Tai Chi instructors dedicate their lives to the study and practice of the art; don’t be intimidated. This art can make you healthier, fitter, and offers many health and mental benefits.


Richard Clear (posted to site by Sarah Vose)



How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part IIIb

We continue to cover the best questions for selecting a Tai Chi instructor. Your instructor should know at least a bit about the following topics:

  • Sung – A Chinese term that refers to Relaxation Techniques and Methods.
  • Breathing methods including how to breathe to beneficially lower the heart rate and blood pressure in order to get the stress reduction and circulatory benefits that Tai Chi is famous for.
  • Body Mechanics and body positioning that is truly based in knowledge of skeletal alignment and structure.  This includes how to properly align the spine and how the midsection should be positioned and how the knees should be aligned to the feet and the foot placement for good knee health that utilizes the musculature of the leg and protects the tendons and ligaments.
  • Natural body responses, actions, and movement.
  • Push Hands – This is a practice method of Tai Chi that is usually played as a physical game(s) but can also be utilized by students to simply learn better internal sensitivity to their own body and structure and internal skill of rooting and Sung relaxing.
  • Internal Principles that begin with understanding how to drop excess tension in order to develop deep relaxation while moving and very powerful physical alignments that involve moving in ways that easily engage whole body power to whatever task you would desire to apply it to and eventually go as far as one can imagine in the direction of being able to feel inside yourself and others to manipulate the internal organs, body structure, and energy.
  • Mind Intent including a real understanding of the difference between Yi and Shen.

This can all be quite a lot to take in. You may feel shy or apprehensive when you approach a teacher to ask about these topics; stay strong, it’s worth it to get the best out of your Tai Chi studies, classes, lessons, or instruction. You are worth it!


Richard Clear (posted to site by Sarah Vose)

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part IIIa

This third post in our series on finding the best Tai Chi instructor you can covers some great questions to ask your prospective teacher to see if he or she is qualified to teach you the best quality Tai Chi classes.

Real Tai Chi has so many great health benefits including helping with blood pressure, stress relief, balance, arthritis, range of motion, and much more. So be patient as you do a little homework in picking the best teacher. Keep in mind that certified Tai Chi instructors can mean different things to different people.

At Clear Silat’s Tai Chi local school here in Maryville, TN our instructors have over 8 years experience each in the art at least.

Here are some questions for you, the Tai Chi student, to ask your potential or current instructor:

  • Basics of Chinese Medicine including Yin and Yang theory
  • Chi Kung including an understanding of what Chi is and what it is not
  • Knowledge of sources of  Chi. Chi is very explainable in Western medical and physics terms and the actual meaning and application of Chi Energy would make complete sense to any Western medical doctor, physicist, biologist, chemist, engineer etc etc… If it sounds like a bunch of metaphysical hokum, that would be a potential red flag.
  • An understanding of Chi Blockages and how to remove them using Tai Chi.  This includes understanding the difference between Excess and Stagnant Chi and knowing how to restore proper balance and flow in the body using Tai Chi.
  • The Meridians and pressure points as used in Acupuncture and how Tai Chi stimulates proper flow of Chi through them
  • The 3 Treasures Li, Chi and Jing
  • The 3 Powers Heaven, Earth and Man

We’ll continue this post with more questions you should ask your Tai Chi instructor to assess their experience and learn more about Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (Posted to site by Sarah Vose)


How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part II

If from the outside Tai Chi instructors all seem the same, what should prospective students look for to avoid buying the high-performance sports car with a cheap engine we mentioned last post?

Obviously any beginning Tai Chi instructor who has gone through Tai Chi training will know at least a form or two of 24 Moves or more. So instead, look for endorsements and talk to students who have gained real benefits from practicing Tai Chi from the instructor whose class you are considering.

Do your homework.

Visit several schools or facilities and try out some free classes.

Ask the instructors specific questions about their training and level of knowledge about Tai Chi, Taiji, Taichi Chuan, Taiji Quan, or Tai ji Quan (all specialized names for Tai Chi) .  If an instructor is unwilling to openly and fully answer your questions or does not know what you are talking about then I recommend that you find a different school or instructor.

If the instructor is both open with you and gives educated answers to your questions then realize that individual answers will vary and often will be situation dependent, but there is an obvious difference between an educated opinion and someone who does not have a clue about the subject matter and specific terms that are related to the subject matter.

Just listen carefully and you should be able to get an idea of an instructor’s knowledge or lack thereof particularly if you are armed with some of the terms I am referring to in this post.

Many Western medicine doctors, specialists and therapist have different opinions about causes and treatments of various medical conditions but anatomy and physiology basics and the medical terms for them are going to be pretty much the same from one human being to another.

The same is true with Tai Chi.  Even though approaches may be different, words like Chi, Jing, Peng, Sung, Tao, Yi, Shen and Li will be known by any real teacher.  Anyone offering Tai Chi classes who does not have at least a working understanding of these terms simply does not have enough knowledge to properly teach Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (posted to the site  by Sarah Vose)

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part I

This article covers the bare minimum amount of knowledge that any beginning Tai Chi teacher, style, school or method of Tai Chi should know and be able to convey in order to teach Tai Chi.  Without this basic knowledge students will not be able to gain any of the real health, healing or energetic benefits of Tai Chi.  Most of what is detailed here is normally taught within the first year or two of Tai Chi training and can easily be learned within the first 3 years of training.

Imagine going to the auto dealer and buying a high performance sports car that costs more than your house. Then, after you buy the car, you find out that you did not get what you thought you paid for.  Instead, you got the car frame/shell of a high performance sports car and all of the internal mechanical parts are missing or have been replaced with a cheap engine.

Now, imagine that you do not have any idea about engines or transmissions.  Due to your lack of knowledge you do not understand why your car will not run and do all of the impressive things that you have seen and read about. Without getting some education you would be stuck with a car that looks like a sports car, but, which in fact internally is not one.

Unfortunately, this is an all too common scenario found by many students and practitioners of Tai Chi in America.  There are plenty of skilled Tai Chi teachers to be found in the USA. They figure that if the Tai Chi moves frame/body/form looks good then the inside and knowledge base is most likely okay as well.  Without any other information to go on, students simply sign up and take Tai Chi classes from someone who looks the part.

Many people mistakenly think that if they just keep practicing the Tai Chi form then eventually they will grow into the knowledge and somehow magically gain the majority of benefits that Tai Chi offers.  Unfortunately, magically getting the benefits of Tai Chi this way is about as likely as a car frame magically growing a new engine.  As nice as that would be, it simply is not the case.

This series of blog posts are designed to help our local Maryville Tai Chi students know what to look for and what kind of questions to ask a prospective Tai Chi instructor. We at Clear Silat’s Tai Chi have an international reputation as Tai Chi instructors who regularly release advanced Tai Chi courses, classes, and video; these posts are best suited to Maryville Tai Chi students.


Richard Clear