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Mastering Tai Chi

Course No. 1918
David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
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4.8 out of 5
28 Reviews
92% of reviewers would recommend this series
Course No. 1918
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What Will You Learn?

  • Practice several stances that you will use throughout the Yang-style 40-movement form.
  • Discover the sources of the chi in your body, and consider the importance of circulating and cultivating the chi.
  • Focus on footwork and learn which foot is weighted, or full, and which is empty.
  • Learn how to tame the monkey mind, cultivate the chi, release points of tension, and clear energetic bottlenecks.

Course Overview

Tai chi is one of the most remarkable and practical philosophies ever devised. It combines the pursuit of health and longevity, the martial practice of self-defense, and the lofty—but attainable—ideals of harmony and balance. It promotes relaxation, joy, compassion, positive growth, and flow. Tai chi gives you a set of mental tools you can apply in all areas of your life, and it helps you learn to achieve your goals with the minimum effort for the maximum result.

Best of all, tai chi is accessible to everyone, regardless of your current level of physical fitness. The movements are designed to emphasize and improve your body’s natural, healthy posture, so that instead of struggling to perform strenuous motions, you playfully relax into a gentle flow. The philosophy of tai chi can be applied comfortably within any spiritual framework, or none at all. The concepts of merit and virtue, of authenticity and mindfulness, of kindness and service to community and the world—all of these are values to be cherished by any thoughtful person who seeks a happy and meaningful life.

Mastering Tai Chi is your invitation to step onto the path of greater health, strength, wisdom, and compassion. These 24 half-hour lessons taught by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross, take you deeply into what is traditionally called tai chi chuan (taijiquan), while focusing on a routine known as the Yang-style 40-movement form. As you learn this form, you also:

  • study the principles of tai chi—physical and philosophical guidelines that frame the essential concepts of the practice.
  • delve into tai chi’s long history, contemplating the contributions of the sages who composed the tai chi classics, the Dao De Jing, the I Ching, and other priceless philosophical texts.
  • envision an imaginary opponent to engage the martial aspects of the practice, then connect with a real partner in “Push Hands”—a tai chi game for two
  • learn advanced techniques, including silk reeling and silk pulling, that are rarely taught.
  • discover the transformational power of your focused intention and willpower to achieve your goals.

 

The course is excellent for beginners, as Professor Ross breaks down arm motions, body positions, and footwork for each movement. He shows you how to sink into and feel the posture, then smoothly transition and maintain your flow. Compared with the 24-movement form and instructional approach in Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, this course offers a more extended and deeper familiarity with Yang-style tai chi via the 40-movement form, which incorporates and builds upon movements from the shorter sequence.

Following traditional methods for a private, “indoor student,” you’ll consider ideas from the tai chi classics, and you’ll also encounter many new concepts and applications. Even those who have previously taken tai chi classes in person or studied with an instructor will gain knowledge from the depth and breadth of the presentation, the attention to each detail of the form, and the consideration of foundational philosophical principles and their application, both for better movement and in everyday life.

Mental Tools for Every Realm of Life

Tai chi is based on principles that not only improve your physical health, but also reveal the secrets to emotional health, satisfying relationships, and success in all of your endeavors. You will learn techniques to strengthen and develop traits such as:

  • focused intention
  • willpower
  • mindfulness
  • clarity
  • authenticity
  • balance
  • flow
  • tranquility inside movement and chaos

 

These tools, and the others you gain, will serve you well in everything you do. When you are mindful of your body and emotions, you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The clarity and authenticity of this knowledge help you focus your intention and employ your willpower to heal and grow more effectively. When you move toward health, your balance improves and your flow increases, and you are able to find tranquility anywhere.

The course makes available a wealth of resources to help you think through your journey, including:

  • vital philosophical texts like the Tai Chi Classics, the I Ching, and the Tao Te Ching
  • traditional teaching stories and wisdom, as well as stories from David-Dorian Ross’s own path to mastery
  • the history and significance of important symbols like silk, tea, and incense
  • cultural information such as the traditional conduct and greetings of teachers and students, as well as the Chinese names and English translations and insights regarding each form movement

 

Armed with this information, you will find yourself well equipped to enjoy and benefit from tai chi, and engage with the challenges of the wider world.

Advance along the Path to Mastery

While the course is entirely accessible to beginners and starts with the basics of tai chi, it also progresses into more advanced topics and techniques. You’ll watch Professor Ross slice the air with a tai chi straight sword in the circling, spiraling patterns shared by bare-hand and weapons forms alike. He demonstrates the principle of smooth, continuous flow with the tai chi staff, making beautiful—and dangerous—”flowers” as he moves. Another tai chi master joins him in the studio for a whole lesson on pushing hands, tai chi’s partner game that lets you accentuate and assess progress along your path. Another lesson is spent on the techniques of silk reeling and silk pulling—styles of movement that are intrinsic to tai chi, but that are often hidden in the form and rarely taught.

Each lesson is visually rich, with supportive graphics designed to focus your attention and make the instruction even clearer and easier to follow. To show you how each part of your body aligns and moves in sequence, you always see this master instructor perform and lead you through each movement – and each combination of movements -- from several angles. Graphics such as arrows that appear during a movement help you grasp the orientation and motion of your own hands, arms, legs, and feet as you progress through the form. On-screen text displays the names of movements in English, and in pinyin, which is the standardized version of Chinese rendered more-or-less phonetically using the Roman alphabet, and in traditional Chinese characters.

Tai chi is an unparalleled system for improving your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Mastering Tai Chi is an extraordinary course that can help you achieve the heights of mental and physical fitness. Bring the body you have, and step into a journey of personal mastery.

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24 lectures
 |  31 minutes each
  • 1
    The Path toward Mastery
    Welcome to the guan, or tai chi studio. Start your journey on the path of mastery by discovering how taijiquan is a complex system that weaves together martial artistry, the pursuit of health and longevity, and the philosophy of harmony and balance. Then, practice several stances that you will use throughout the Yang-style 40-movement form, and learn your first tai chi principle. x
  • 2
    Harmony Is the Ultimate Goal
    Continue your study of the principles of tai chi with the art's most fundamental concept: when you're in harmony and balance, everything works better. Consider how this applies to your body, your mind, and your relationships with others. Learn the first two movements of the Yang-style 40 form: commencing and grasp the bird's tail. x
  • 3
    Walking like a Cat
    Movements in tai chi are graceful, balanced, and unhurried, and this is accomplished through mindful awareness of your body, thoughts, and emotions. Mindfulness is an essential element of tai chi and a vital tool for a harmonious life. Use this awareness as you learn the next two movements of the form: single whip and step up and raise hands. x
  • 4
    Mind over Muscles
    The power in tai chi comes from your intention-your mind and will-not the physical exertion of your body. Muscular tension and emotional stress inhibit the flow of chi and waste your energy, making you weaker. Feel the strength and power within softness as you move with a weighted tai chi ball. Learn the next two form movements: white crane spreads its wings and brush knee and twist step. x
  • 5
    Taming the Monkey Mind
    The monkey represents our impulses, uncontrolled thoughts, desires, and flight/fight/freeze responses. Practice taming the monkey mind, cultivating the chi and the character by releasing points of tension, clearing energetic bottlenecks, and accumulating merit and virtue. Continue your study of the form with the hands strum the pipa and parry and punch. x
  • 6
    The Bow and Arrow
    A tai chi master is like an archer who never misses a target. Gaining clarity and calm through practice, you will learn to craft noble desires like straight arrows and release them from your bow with the force of your intent to manifest in the world. Ponder the power of your focused will, and learn the next form movements: sealing and closing and diagonal flying. x
  • 7
    Practicing in a Small Space
    Learn the qigong form 8 pieces of brocade, which is an excellent warm-up or adjunct to tai chi chuan. Review all of the moves you have learned so far, and get strategies for how to do the form in a small space. With these techniques, you can practice anywhere-which means you'll practice more often. x
  • 8
    Hips and Waist: The Center Is the Commander
    In tai chi, the whole body is connected in smooth motion, and the hips and waist lead the movement. Relax your midsection and low back, and practice with the weighted tai chi ball to help you get the feeling of circling and spiraling. Continue with the next movements in the form: punch under elbow and repulse the monkey. x
  • 9
    Feet: Separate Empty from Full
    Begin with a new stepping practice to get you focused on footwork. To have the proper balance and leverage, it's important to know which foot is weighted, or full, and which is empty-and to shift your weight smoothly and completely. Apply this new insight to the next form movements: fair lady works at the shuttles and part the horse's mane. x
  • 10
    Shoulders: Finding Reasons to Let Go
    Tai chi becomes easy when you let go of mental and physical resistance and tension. By sinking the shoulders and relaxing the elbows, you improve your flow. Incorporate pivots to adjust your steps and alignment, and discover when the hands move in different rhythms. Learn the move cloud hands. x
  • 11
    Inside Reflects the Outside
    When your clear intention guides the chi and the chi directs the body, then your external actions are a reflection of your internal motivations. This unifies you into a coherent being, physicality led by spirit. Continue your study of the form with high pat on horse and kick with right heel. x
  • 12
    Chest, Posture, and the Natural Curve
    Watch Mr. Ross with the tai chi straight sword, moving in tai chi's circles and spirals that are natural to the body. Your body has five natural curves, or bows, that increase the power of your movements. Learn relaxed postures that emphasize these gentle curves, and maintain your awareness of the body bows as you learn box both ears and separate the left foot. x
  • 13
    Bring Out Your Flow
    Tai chi relies on continuous, harmonious motion, or flow. Maintaining your physical flow supports your ability to connect with universal flow-the exchange of ideas, information, and energy that creates new things in the world. Watch Mr. Ross demonstrate flow with the tai chi staff, and review all of the form movements that you have learned so far. x
  • 14
    Transitions as Smooth as Silk
    Explore the history of silk and its connection to the principles of tai chi. Learn exercises to develop the motions of silk reeling and silk pulling, which are advanced techniques hidden within many form movements. Feel this smoothness and connection as you continue with the form with turn body and kick with heel and needle at the bottom of the sea. x
  • 15
    Legs to Arms: Connecting Upper and Lower
    Discover the history, philosophy, and importance of tea in tai chi. As you savor this knowledge, contemplate the next tai chi principle: connecting upper with lower. The upper body moves in coordination with the lower body, and the energy at the top of the head is connected to the energy at the bottoms of the feet. Maintain this connection in the form movements open arms like a fan and snake sticks out its tongue. x
  • 16
    A Movable Meditation
    Tai chi is both moving meditation and movable meditation-you can perform the form anywhere, and you carry the mental aspects with you in every situation. This exemplifies the principle of tranquility within movement, and movement within tranquility. Continue your study of the form with turn and pat the foot and ride the tiger. x
  • 17
    Bouncing Away Conflict
    Explore the eight original intentions of tai chi, and see how they are exemplified in the form movements. These eight concepts also have practical applications in your daily life as conflict management strategies. Consider how to deal with conflict, and learn some stretches that will help you with the next form movement: snake creeps down. x
  • 18
    The Peaceful Warrior
    Continue your consideration of the eight original intentions and their application to conflict. Ponder the wisdom of the Dao De Jing, and discover the five recommendations for cultivating the spirit of a peaceful warrior, as codified by the legendary founder of tai chi. Learn the next movements in the form: rooster stands on one leg and punch groin. x
  • 19
    Qigong Breathing
    Deepen your understanding by reviewing all the movements you've learned so far, focusing on your internal sensations as you gently and continuously flow from movement to movement. Explore qigong meditative breathing, and uncover how the breath creates the continuous link from intentions to chi to body. x
  • 20
    Partners: The Whole Body Is the Hand
    Learn the game of pushing hands with a partner, an essential pillar of tai chi chuan. This exercise will increase your sensitivity and understanding as well as your martial prowess. The secret: instead of focusing on how to defeat the opponent, a tai chi master focuses on recreating harmony. x
  • 21
    Five Stages of Mastery
    Tai chi is a living art that grows and changes, as it has always been. Hear the story of Chen Won Tang, one of the most influential tai chi masters in history, and draw inspiration from his innovation and leadership. Learn a new hand position that is used in the form movement seven stars posture. x
  • 22
    Lotus Kick and Laughing Buddha
    Listen to the tale of the wandering monk and the two temple brothers, contemplate the Laughing Buddha, and gain an appreciation of the importance of not taking life too seriously. The Wu way of non-striving allows you to let go of control, tension, and expectation. Keep this playful attitude as you step back to ride the tiger and turn body and lotus kick. x
  • 23
    Conserve Your Energy
    Discover the sources of the chi in your body, and consider the importance of circulating and cultivating the chi. Deeper states of relaxation permit smoother and more complete circulation, and the cultivation of chi refines and purifies your energy. This gives you more power-and allows you to conserve it. x
  • 24
    Another River to Cross
    Add the last movements of the form: shoot the tiger, sealing and closing, cross hands, and closing form. Go through the entire 40-movement form, feeling the flow. Ponder the significance of your journey to tai chi mastery, and consider the next steps on your path-because studying the art of tai chi chuan yields rewards for a lifetime. x

Lecture Titles

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What Does Each Format Include?

Video DVD
Video Download Includes:
  • Ability to download 24 video lectures from your digital library
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
Video DVD
DVD Includes:
  • 24 lectures on 4 DVDs
  • 103-page printed course guidebook
  • Downloadable PDF of the course guidebook
  • FREE video streaming of the course from our website and mobile apps
  • Closed captioning available

What Does The Course Guidebook Include?

Video DVD
Course Guidebook Details:
  • 103-page printed course guidebook
  • Photos & illustrations
  • Suggested readings
  • Questions to consider

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Your professor

David-Dorian Ross

About Your Professor

David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
David-Dorian Ross is the founder and CEO of TaijiFit and the creator of the TaijiFit mind-body exercise program. He has a B.A. in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University, has completed graduate course work in Physical Education and Chinese, and is currently developing a project with the head of the Harvard Medical School research department to study the stress-reduction benefits of tai chi (taiji) in...
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Reviews

Mastering Tai Chi is rated 4.7 out of 5 by 27.
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Better than a studio class I got this to complete my Tai Chi experience. The first set with David Dorian Ross spoiled me for every studio I've tried. He's thorough, informative, and gives plenty of opportunities to correct your balance, posture or thought progression. The 40 position set takes you further down the Tai Chi experience. The. Best. Ever.
Date published: 2017-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Go with the flow, finally explained! The moves in Yang 40 (Tai Chi 2) are 80 % or more the same as Yang 24 (Tai Chi 1), but more symmetric as both body sides are more involved. There is more footwork (kicking, balance moves). This second Yang 40 course is a very good follow- up to the Yang 24 first course, and extends it. Ross's first offering is a better starting point than this second one; the first course adds more history, "great masters" persona, and literary reference. This second exposition has greater detail on the movements, and is more specific to the philosophy of the movements in both Yang 40 and Yang 24. I spent much longer learning Yang 40, than I expected. Not a reflection on Ross or the very good instruction, but instead a warning that this is one of those things that may take time and work. One of my problems may have been a prior grounding in Shotokan Karate, another Shaolin Kung Fu offshoot to be sure, but very different in aggressive mindset. To those with prior martial arts experience, I must recommend Tai Chi Chuan as a potential growth avenue from the same roots. Welcome details abound, including qigong breathing. I've personally found a great use for qigong (especially "5 Animals Dance") and Tai Chi after running/ cardio work, as a "cool down". (This was recommended by Dean Hodgin, in his Great Courses offerings.) Deep breathing meditation, as part of qigong moving, or just standing, is very helpful to know about. Also, the idea of meditative flow, and practicing simple and combined moves "to develop the flow" is constantly reinforced. Deep technique for all qigong is explained, rather than any new forms other than Yang 40. Where the Yang forms are not symmetric (for example the "single whip" is always left handed), Ross encourages "flow" practice, usually symmetric repetition of major parts. The one unexpected idea presented is that each person is not only permitted, but expected long term, to add individual flair and creativity, and changes to suit body type. Ah yes, "everyone is doing the same thing, but everyone is doing it differently". This concept is well after the mid point. I also have to recommend the ideas and temperment as an entryway into Chinese thinking and culture. Ross discusses everything from the history of silk, how to make and drink tea, and even reflections on a bowl of rice. All this is grounding for meditation on movement details, and I think is quite effective. Both pinyin and Chinese translations of major concepts and movements are given.The presentation could easily be seen as reduced intermediate Mandarin, masqueraded. I have happily aquired Chinese in- laws, and am studying Mandarin with my grandson. I recently showed my grandson "Bruce Lee Best Moments" on Youtube. Now, I have to play "Mastering Tai Chi" to calm us both down; back to the silky smooth, slow deep breathing, continuous flow.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from enriching nice mix of instruction and movement. different camera views are helpful.
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thorough explanations I am using this course as a supplement to in-person training I am taking. This instructor provides valuable information about why the movements are what they are, how to do the movements, and some of the philosophy behind Tai Chi. He provides exercises that help master specific movements, and he goes over everything multiple times.
Date published: 2017-03-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent lessons and carefully, slowly scripted! I have been using it daily learning the steps in Tai Chi gradually. It one of the pleasures of my day.
Date published: 2017-03-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Mastering Tai Chi I just purchased this and watched it on line. I am Taking Tai Chi with a Sifu (trainer) I found it difficult to follow, Since some of the postures and names are slightly different. And I believe its hard to learn this by yourself....I went to the website and could practice with the instructors on line classes. But its is not convenient for me. If you are motivated and think you will have the discipline to practice this may be ok for you.....I did return it and I appreciate the ability to do so....I love great courses and have all the cooking dvd's and a few others. Thank you Great courses.....
Date published: 2017-03-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Terrific combination of movements and philosophy I learned all 40 movements of this Yang style Tai Chi in less than 2 months. The choreography was expertly taught, but more importantly the philosophy of Tai Chi was covered. Without the philosophy of Tai Chi the movements are meaningless. The instructor did both with excellence.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Buy this course If you have an interest in learning Tai Chi, buy this course. I have wanted to learn Tai Chi for many years, but without a "school" nearby, other attempts failed. I first purchased The Essentials of Tai Chi and Gigong, from which I learned the 24 movement form. (I recommend that course first, and I still do the 24 movement form daily.) After that, I decided to find a way to learn the 40 movement form, and at that time, TGC released this course. The 40 movement form is different from, and in some ways more challenging than the 24 movement form. This course is taught in such a way that the movements can be learned easily. AND, nuances of the movements are taught so that both the 40 movement and the 24 movement forms can be done more precisely. The course instructor is amazing. His method, demeanor, expertise, and style are perfect. This is an incredibly great course (along with The Essentials of Tai Chi and Gigong). I MOST HIGHLY RECOMMEND BOTH if you have any interest in learning this fascinating art.
Date published: 2017-02-02
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