‘Whoever practices Tai Chi regularly will in time gain the suppleness of a child, the strength of a lion, and the peace of mind of a sage.’
– Old Chinese Saying
We spoke to Master Han Jin Song, Tai Chi instructor and founder of Tai Chi Australia about who can practice Tai Chi and why.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is a slow gentle exercise good for health and relaxation. Tai Chi is a form of low impact physical exercise which requires deep breathing and meditative relaxation techniques.
What does it aim to achieve?
Tai Chi is principally a tranquil, gentle and extremely pleasurable means of helping attain and maintain health, harmony in both mind and body, improved mobility, suppleness and mental alertness.
Where did it originate?
Tai Chi is a branch of the Chinese martial arts (Wushu) and originated in China over 400 years ago. It is suitable for all ages and fitness levels and can be modified for those who may have some level of impairment.
What can someone expect from a typical class?
A typical class will vary depending on the level of the student. Beginners and Community classes are specially designed to guide the students through the basic movements with an emphasis on balance, coordination and safety.
At Federation Square, we mainly teach the fundamental movements in a gentle exercise style, as we cater to a wide variety of people, including interstate and overseas visitors. We start off with warm-up exercises and then move on to different Tai Chi fundamental forms. These can be easily followed by everyone. The class is closed off with everyone doing the Lotus Relaxation Exercise so they go away feeling rejuvenated and ready to face the day.
As students progress in more formal classes they will learn different styles and more comprehensive forms.
What are the health benefits of Tai Chi?
The benefits of Tai Chi are well recognized by practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who are frequently Tai Chi instructors themselves and recommend the art as the physiotherapy of TCM. A great advantage of Tai Chi is that almost anyone, regardless of age or level of fitness, can do it. Early morning is the time you’re likely to see most real devotees in action.
Tai Chi can help provide many benefits when practiced over a lifetime, including helping:
- Produce a refreshed, greater mental focus
- Create better sleep patterns
- Create good body posture
- Promote muscle fitness
How long have you been practicing Tai Chi? What is your favourite aspect of it?
I commenced practicing Wushu (Chinese Martial Arts) in 1971 at my local province sports school in China. After training there for nearly ten years I entered the Beijing Institute of Physical Education, now the Beijing Sport University, where I majored in Wushu and Tai Chi, graduating with a Bachelor degree. I was offered a teaching position at the Wushu Department of Beijing Sport University, and was mainly responsible for teaching foreign students from all over the world and at the same time coaching Wushu students at the China Olympic School. Many of my students won gold medals in the China National or International Championships.
I came to Australia in 1988 and founded Tai Chi Australia in 1992 after I finished my Master’s degree in Sports Psychology at Victoria University. I am proud of the growth of the school. It runs classes in many Melbourne suburbs and regional areas, as well as servicing the community and corporate sectors.
As an Instructor I love to pass on my knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to others. I endeavor to make my classes enjoyable, and hope that it helps my students with their fitness and general wellbeing. It is very rewarding to see students with a happy face after a class.
Tuesdays | 7.30am – 8.30am | The Square (or inside The Atrium in the case of inclement weather)