Tai Chi Academy

Tai Chi: The Path To Freedom

Ten minutes of Tai Chi each day can improve the quality of your life.
Many people come to Tai Chi looking for better health and relaxation. These are some of the benefits you can gain from this amazing practice. Unfortunately, many people do not continue with it or learn to make it a part of their everyday life. In terms of gaining maximum benefit, it is a good idea to learn the whole form which takes about four terms. This may sound like a long time but the benefits will last a lifetime. Coming to class regularly helps you understand the way to practise. It also helps you to develop self-discipline which will lead to Tai Chi becoming a part of your life. Doing something each day will bring about change on a deeper level than if you just practise once a week. The training in Tai Chi and other internal arts is cumulative. The more regularly you practise, the more you will feel and the more your internal energy will develop.

The idea of regular practice and self-discipline (one of the most important life skills to acquire) seems to be an imposed chore. However, from my own and our students’ experience, the more you train, the more you enjoy it, so the benefits are constantly ongoing. It does not feel like work. Too often we think that we should be doing something more useful than just practising Tai Chi. But what can be better than feeling stronger, more relaxed and happy? Many people suffer from headache, back problems, joint pain, poor sleep, mood swings and many other ailments. To find something that can relieve or even eliminate them is truly a worthwhile pursuit.

When I first started learning Tai Chi, the level of instruction was not very high but it was still beneficial. Now, after travelling the world over the past 40 years, I realise that my knowledge and expertise has grown substantially. During my travels, I met many well-known masters and found a truly great teacher in Fei Wang. I know that what we now offer to students is indeed something of great depth and value, a precious treasure.

My wife, Fontane, has an aptitude for qigong (energy work) and has studied under great masters in qigong and healing, adding another dimension to the Academy. The Tuesday night Qigong students (three travel from the South Coast to attend) often comment that they are so fortunate to have access to this extraordinary secret knowledge and training in Canberra.

The commitment shown by this group of Qigong students is both commendable and inspirational. They began their Qigong journey in 2013. They are now in the last term of the Mother of All Meditation 2-year course which maps the various levels of meditative states. What an achievement!

Senior Instructor Chris Radnedge is a soft tissue therapist and has a passion for weapon training and martial arts, bringing richness to the arts we teach.

When students join the Academy, they receive high-quality instruction from a group of dedicated practitioners. I say practitioners because this is what we practise and believe. Instructors Darrell and Janie have developed so much during the last few years. Darrell is also one of the Tuesday night Qigong students mentioned above. Janie attends the Wu Dao Gong martial arts classes as well. Trainee Instructor Stephen is learning that there is a great deal involved in the development of an instructor. We continually strive to improve ourselves so that we can inspire our students to go further and reach new heights themselves. I believe that the quality of the art is important and the people who have passed it on to us are to be respected and acknowledged. It is easy to forget the roots. Grandmaster Fu Zhong Wen of Yang family Tai Chi often said, “Don’t forget where you first drank water.”

When you are learning a form, you are learning much more than a bunch of movements. You are learning a set of principles and skills that teach you how to move in a powerful, flowing manner. This leads to greater freedom of movement and a joyful spirit. To complete the whole form takes about 8 to 10 minutes. If you can do three rounds, you will feel a lot more and will notice a greater improvement in your health. That is only twenty-something to thirty minutes, not a lot of time to invest in for such great returns. Learning the full form also helps you with your memory and perseverance.

Continuous refinement is the motto of this art. Once you have learnt the whole form, you can do as many students and I do, that is, continue to refine your skills and knowledge of this wonderful art. With years of practice, you will discover the depth of this art. Its profound nature is not meant to overwhelm you. It is rather an acknowledgement of what thousands of years of development have produced. It can also help us realise that learning is never-ending and there is no room to assume you know it all or that you are better than others. We are all learning. Some of us are just a little further down the path. The determination and perseverance you develop from learning and refining the form help you to understand yourself. You become more aware of your body and its weaknesses. You realise the power of continuous effort. You can change your state from being grumpy to light-hearted. You find yourself applying this knowledge to all areas of your life. Instead of struggling, you learn to flow like water.

Tai Chi and other internal arts have been pressure tested for thousands of years. They have been refined from one generation to another. The principles and underlying philosophy have enabled people to improve the quality of their lives by liberating them from fear, weakness, pain, poor health and emotional issues. These arts are available to all those who are willing to practise them. I hope you will learn the whole form and find ten minutes a day for a better quality of life.

— Chief Instructor Brett Wagland


Tai Chi Classes at Aranda, Weston and Curtin begin the week 30 Apr.

Suggested Reading:

“The Art of the Straight Line : My Tai Chi”, by Lou Reed

“No Fight, No Blame: a Journalist’s life in Martial Arts”, by Michael Dorgan
Grandmaster Feng Zhi Zhang, founder of our Hun Yuan Tai Chi system, is featured in the book.

“Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”, by Michael Moss

“The Web that has No Weaver : understanding Chinese medicine”, by Ted J. Kaptchuk