Rocky Mountain Tai Chi Chuan
RMTCC began in 1976 when Jane and Bataan Faigao began teaching in Boulder Colorado. Jane and Bataan studied tai chi chuan (taijiquan) in 1967 and 1968 under Grand Master Cheng Manching (Zheng Manqing) and his senior students: the late Tam Gibbs, the late Stanley Israel, the late Lou Kleinsmith, Benjamin Lo, Maggie Newman, and Ed Young.
Professor Cheng's greatest teaching was about love, friendship, and family. Many people came to his school in New York to learn how to fight; what he taught them, whether they learned it or not, was how to love. He was never petty. There are those who think that martial arts is a path without heart. But Professor Cheng had heart.
Jane died in 2001. Bataan passed away in 2012; before he died, he asked two of his senior students, Beth Rosenfeld and Lee Fife, to take over the school. We, along with other senior students, are committed to continuing the practice, consistent with the direction provided by our teachers.
Since Fall 2012 we have also been teaching at Naropa University, carrying on the tai chi program that Jane and Bataan ran for 35 years.
We studied under Jane and Bataan from 1983 until their deaths. We have also studied with other senior practitioners including Maggie Newman, Ben Lo, and Wolfe Lowenthal.
We provide a structured curriculum that provides students with the tools for daily practice, helps students build tai chi skills, opens the doors to the transformations of body, mind, and energy required to embody tai chi principles, and develops interactive and martial abilities.
People come to the practice of tai chi chuan with diverse goals, different levels of health and fitness, and varying commitment and availability for practice. We work to provide valuable experiences to all, from those interested in a casual introduction to a unique bodymind discipline to those who want to devote themselves to in-depth and serious study of the practice.
Students begin by learning the 37 posture form developed by Cheng Man-ching based on the traditional large frame Yang family form. Students typically take between 6 and 12 months to learn the form and then spend a similar period on form refinement, deepening, and corrections.
After that, students can begin study of push hands (tui shou) and sword (taiji jian); further form refinement is encouraged at all levels of study.
Push hands is centered on partner work, including a range of cooperative drills as well as free pushing practice. Drills provide structured exercises to explore and develop skills such as responsiveness, listening, lightness, rooting, sticking and following. These drills also help students develop a repertoire of movement and response that can then be applied in unstructured free pushing.
Sword practice includes study of the 55 posture yang sword form, practice of cutting drills, and fencing. Sword practice helps students develop lightness and agility in stepping, improved sensitivity, and skill in working with external forces and objects.
As students mature in practice, we introduce additional exercises and standing meditation practices. These exercises help students develop a more internal understanding of themselves and enable the fundamental physical, mental, and energetic transformations needed to truly be a tai chi player.