PROGRAMS & CLASSES

Our Programs
UCSF 50+ Class


Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

The "tiger and dragon" motif is common to both Chinese and Japanese art, and represents polar opposites in dynamic union, embodying the creative forces of the universe: yin and yang, east and west, earth and wind, enlightened mind and soaring spirit. The goal of Hunyuan Tai Chi is sometimes expressed in similar terms: to become "a tiger with wings."


Speaking of this same goal in his own tradition, Zen Master Dogen said "Zazen is not 'step-by-step meditation'. Rather it is simply the easy and pleasant practice of a Buddha, the realization of the Buddha's Wisdom. The Truth appears, there being no delusion. If you understand this, you are completely free, like a dragon that has obtained water or a tiger that reclines on a mountain."


The Academy offers four public programs:

  ★ The Foundation Qigong Program — an ongoing program
★★ The Beginning Tai Chi Program — an ongoing program
★★★ The Advanced Tai Chi Program — a five-year program
      ★★★★ The Teaching Certificate Program — a seven year program

Foundation Qigong Program
An ongoing program for anyone working on health and harmony in body and  mind, and for those working to build a strong foundation for Tai Chi practice.  Qigong ("chi-gung") means "internal energy cultivation." It's one of the great traditional arts of China, where many kinds are practiced daily for health and vitality, relief from stress, recovery from illness or injury, and promotion of vigorous longevity. Qigong is also the once-highly-secret foundation of Tai Chi, and is essential in developing higher levels of Tai Chi gongfu. We offer two kinds of Qigong in the Foundation Qigong program:
  • Dynamic Qigong is more rigorous, and helps build the basic strength and skill of body and mind needed for Tai Chi. This is a great place to start your Tai Chi career, either as a stand-alone class, or in conjunction with Beginning Tai Chi. Also known as chansigong, or "silk-reeling", it's one of the major traditional practices of Chen-style Tai Chi. 
  • Primordial Qigong is gentler and more meditative. Its focus is on cleansing and invigorating the energy body, leaving the body and mind calm, clear, and energized. Like a spa treatment, but from the inside out. (For those interested in Tai Chi push-hands, Primordial Qigong, along with Zhan Zhuang "Standing Post" meditation, is essential.)

(Note: If you're recovering from illness or injury, Qigong may be a much more direct path to healing and wholeness for you than Tai Chi. This is because Tai Chi requires the memorization of complex choreography before its health benefits kick in, while Qigong, which is much simpler, acts immediately and directly. If you're interested in Tai Chi for its own sake, Qigong is also the best possible preparation for Tai Chi later on).

This is an ongoing program: join at any time. 

Degree of difficulty: 1-star (easy)
Prerequisite: None
Read more about Dynamic Qigong 
Read more about Primordial Qigong
Check the weekly schedule for class days and times
Register for a free trail class here

★★
Beginning Tai Chi Program
An ongoing program for anyone interested in exploring true Tai Chi in depth. Every great art requires many, many years to master. Tai Chi is no exception. Our Beginning Tai Chi Program is designed to build a solid foundation for a life-long Tai Chi practice as quickly and efficiently as possible, while respecting both your individual talents and potentials, and the standards and requirements of the art itself. The Beginning Tai Chi Program is a two-year sequence focusing on the first introductory form of Hunyuan Tai Chi, the 24-movement Yilu ("First Road") form. During the first two terms (six months), program members will focus on learning the basic choreography of the form, including the self-defense applications for each move. During the following six terms (eighteen months), program members go through the form three more times in-depth, gradually developing the ease, relaxation, and internal power for which Chen-style Hunyuan Tai Chi is famous. During the first reiteration of the form, the class focuses on body mechanics and major form corrections; during the second reiteration on energy dynamics and minor form corrections; and during the third reiteration on mind-body integration, centering, grounding, and internal energy flow:
  • Terms 1-2: Beginning Tai Chi IBasic choreography, martial applications
  • Terms 3-4: Beginning Tai Chi II: Body mechanics, major form corrections
  • Terms 5-6: Beginning Tai Chi III: Energy dynamics, minor form corrections
  • Terms 7-8: Beginning Tai Chi IV: Mind-body integration, centering, flow
After successfully completing the two-year program, you can elect to stay with the program as long as you like, or move on to the Advanced Tai Chi Program.
Beginning Tai Chi Program members can also attend all Foundation Qigong Program classes at no additional charge.
This is an ongoing program; join at any time.
Degree of difficulty: 2-star (moderate)
Prerequisite: Foundation Qigong Program recommended, but not required 
Private lessons required: One per term
Read more about Beginning Tai Chi
Check the weekly schedule for class days and times
Register for a free trail class here

★★★ 
Advanced Tai Chi Program
A five-year program for the serious student, the Advanced Tai Chi program offers the complete core curriculum of Hunyuan Tai Chi, including the 24, 48, and 83 Yilu ("First Road") forms, the 24, 38, and 77 Erlu ("Second Road" or "Cannonfist") forms, the straight sword (jian), the saber (tao), push-hands (tuishou), advanced elective forms, Taoist philosophy, and Chinese history and literature. Advanced Tai Chi Program members can also attend all Foundation Qigong and Beginning Tai Chi classes at no additional charge. You must complete the Beginning Tai Chi Program before being admitted to the Advanced Program. 
Degree of difficulty: 3-star (difficult)
Prerequisite: Beginning Tai Chi Program
Private lessons required: One per month
Read more about Advanced Tai Chi
Check the weekly schedule for class days and times

★★★★ 
Teaching Certificate Program
A seven-year program for the true fanatic who intends to make teaching Tai Chi his or her profession. In addition to working through the full Advanced Tai Chi curriculum (see above), you will also attend a special Master Teaching Class, act as a TA in various Academy classes, intern at on off-site class (for instance, at our UC Mission Bay classes), and research and write an in-depth thesis paper. We only accept students into the Certificate Program who have completed the full two-year Beginning Tai Chi Program sequence.  
Degree of difficulty: 4-star (don't even ask)
Prerequisite: By arrangement with the head instructor only
Private lessons required: One per week
 Read more about the Certificate Program

The Bakar Fitness & Recreation Center Beginning Tai Chi Class

In addition to our regular Academy programs, we also offer a weekly Beginning Tai Chi class through the Bakar Fitness & Recreation Center at the UCSF Mission Bay campus. This class is open to all San Francisco community members (not just UCSF students and faculty), and is perfect for 50+ practitioners. For more information, visit our UCSF class page.