Frequently Asked Questions
Where are classes held?
Most classes are in Boulder, at the Kelly Barn. Beginning in 2019, we will begin offering some classes at our Hygiene Studio in Hygiene CO., about 20 mins north of Boulder.
For Boulder classes, we rent the Kelly Barn, 1360 Sumac Ave. in North Boulder -- 1/2 block east of Broadway on the south side of the street. It's a big blue barn-like structure attached to the east side of a big blue house (which is not our house). Entrance is from the porch in back. View it on a map.
Can I stop by and Visit?
Yes! We're always happy to have people come visit classes. You can come observe any class listed in our schedule: there's usually more than one instructor present so one of us can chat with you and answer any questions.
Note: we do not live at the Kelly Barn in Boulder. So, we're only there when we teach classes. Please don't stop by at other times and bother the people who do live there: they're very nice people, but they're not us and they won't be able to answer your questions.
I am new to tai chi -- Where do I start?
Our Tai Chi Elements class is perfectly suited to beginners. It will give you the basis for your personal practice and will prepare you for formal learning of the entire tai chi form. And you can do this right away -- Elements is a drop-in friendly class. You can also join our next Beginning Form class: keep your eye on the website or drop us an email to be added to our mailing list so we notify you of new Beginning Form classes.
I learned tai chi in the past and would like to get back into the practice; which class is best for me?
If you've already learned Tai Chi in the Cheng Manching or Yang traditions, you can come to a Form Refinement class and see if it feels right for you, or you can decide to start with a Beginning and/or Elements class. Feel free to come by to observe classes and talk to us, if you'd like; or contact us and we'll figure out what the appropriate class for you is.
What should I wear to class?
Wear comfortable clothes that allow you to move freely, and flat shoes, socks, or bare feet; we like cotton tai chi slippers, which you can buy at El Loro on the Pearl Street Mall, as well as online.
Is there a Locker Room where I Can change into practice clothes?
Our studios are charming and a bit rustic; there are no locker rooms but there are bathrooms where you can change.
What is the Progression through the curriculum?
Students get started with Tai Chi Elements: we offer that as both a standalone class and also include that material at the start of our Beginning Form classes. Tai Chi Elements teaches a qigong set (Five Animal Frolics) and the basic Form Sequences out of which the complete Tai Chi form arises.
Following Tai Chi Elements, students take a Beginning Form class where they learn the first section of the form. These are dedicated classes running two to three months focused on teaching the first section of the form. When a Beginning Form class finishes, we usually continue at the same time with an Intermediate Form class.
Once students have learned the first section, they can continue learning the rest of the form in Intermediate Form or any of our form Refinement classes. In those classes, we work individually with each student to support learning at your pace.
After learning the whole form, students continue in Form Refinement to refine and deepen their understanding. With a round of refinement completed, students can choose to add push hands and/or sword practice. It’s best to first learn only one of push hands and sword at a time rather than trying to take both on at once.
What is the refund policy?
We only offer refunds for classes that require pre-registration, not for monthly memberships or punch cards. Refunds for pre-registered payments can be fully refunded for any reason up to two weeks before the class starts. After that, we will have made a commitment to rent the studio space and so we'll offer full or partial refunds as we're able. But, we can't guarantee a refund for cancellations made later than two weeks before the class starts since we have to cover rent and instructor fees. And if we need to delay, reschedule, or cancel the beginning session, we'll offer full refunds to anyone who can't make the new schedule or no longer wants to join.
Do you offer private lessons?
Yes, private lessons are available at $75/hour at our home studio in Hygiene. However, we believe most students learn better in a group setting, so we discourage using private lessons as a replacement for attending class. Contact us if you're interested in a private lesson.
WHAT IS WITH ALL THE DIFFERENT SPELLINGS? IS Tai Chi THE SAME AS TAIJIQUAN?
All the different spellings are from methods of transliterating the name of the art. The popularized version of transliteration is the older Wade-Giles system, which is often used with diacritical marks to indicate pronunciation (e.g., t'ai-chi ch'uan). The accepted academic transliteration uses the more modern pinyin method (e.g., taijiquan). When our school began in the 1970s, the Wade-Giles system was the standard, so we have kept the older, more familiar spelling, and have dropped the diacritical marks for simplification (unless the words are part of the original logo we inherited from Jane and Bataan). We use pinyin in new material, scholarly usage such as in Lee's translations, and in terms of art (e.g., qi). Because Cheng Manching's family uses the Wade-Giles spelling for his name, we do too.
I learned Tai Chi at another school and I just want to come push hands. Can I do that?
Our approach to push hands and the form is different from that found at many schools. In push hands, we are primarily concerned with developing tai chi skills and working to apply those in a dynamic and interactive environment. We are not focused primarily on pushing or competition. As a result, we ask that students also study the form with us since that’s the fundamental ground for tai chi skills. If you’ve learned a different form, we ask that you come with a beginner’s mind, open to what we’re working on. If you’re looking for opportunities to “just push”, or “play”, or prepare for competition, we are probably not the right place. If you’re looking to develop tai chi skills, we may be able to help with that.