Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What should I wear to a class?

A. Anything loose and comfortable is fine. You can wear flat shoes or trainers if you wish. Official MDA uniforms are available. Recommended are tai chi slippers or plimsolls, although not necessary.


Q. Who can attend the classes?

A. Anyone of good character and attitude can come to the classes. Health problems can normally be worked around and must always be declared to the instructor before you start training. Children must train with a parent or guardian.


Q. Who is Tai Chi Chuan suitable for?

A. The Tai Chi Chuan form is a soft flowing low impact exercise uniquely applicable to everybody regardless of age, sex or health. People have achieved great results by using Tai Chi Chuan to rebuild mental and physical strength, relieve the effects of muscle/joint disorders, lower blood pressure, manage stress and many other conditions. At more advanced levels you can use fast, slow, powerful or relaxed movement. Therefore the opportunity is there to increase the scope of what you do as your strength and health improves. At each stage the choice is yours.


Q. What is Chi Kung?

A. The literal translation is 'Energy Work'. Within our Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, the Chi Kung consists of a series of standing postures that you hold for a period of time whilst meditating on clearing and centering the mind and body. We use this training to increase our Yi (the mind's intention) and our Chi (internal energy). The mental attitude whilst holding the postures creates a relaxed strength in mind and body that begins to change the energy patterns in the body, releasing blockages and strengthening the whole system.


Q. What is Tai Chi Chuan?

A. Tai Chi Chuan is a holistic martial art based on the concepts and principles of internal energy (Chi). It has become popular the world over as a superlative health exercise for mind, body and spirit. Its low impact, smooth, flowing movements are uniquely applicable to all: whether you are young, old or in good or poor health. Although its health benefits are well documented, what is less well known is that each of the movements can be used as a basis for an effective system of self-defence based on using the soft power of internal energy instead of the more normal hard external force.


Q. What can I expect from a Tai Chi Chuan lesson?

A. A typical lesson consists of:


* Breathing exercises to calm and relax the body and mind (Chi kung)

* Warm up exercises

* The foundation form and long form

* Exploration of the 'principles and concepts'

* Breathing exercises to cool the body down.


The format of a class is fun, supportive and informative. It is a mixture of group practice and personal training time, which gives the opportunity for individual attention. You will be given the opportunity to ask questions and most importantly the time to absorb what is being taught. The instructor is there to help you, but you will also be supported by the friendly community of students that are drawn to training Tai Chi Chuan.


Q. How do I get the most from my Introduction course?

  1. A.The introduction to tai chi course is about exploring yourself and trying out tai chi for a reasonable period of time to see whether tai chi is for you. Try to attend all the lessons in the course as the first couple of lessons there is a lot of movements to grasp, while the later lessons will go through some of the principles of tai chi. There will be moments where the instructor will leave you to work on the movements by yourself. This is to allow you time to absorb what you have been shown. Think of the instructor as a guide to your own journey. 


Q. What is the difference between Traditional and other forms of tai chi ?

  1. A.Learning in the traditional way means following the learning methods that have been passed down by the Yang family masters. These methods are often a bit harder for the beginner but the benefit is far greater and quicker for those who continue on the journey. Both health and martial skill are explored in your practice through posture testing and continuously testing whether the tai chi principles have been learned, and it is this facet which allows a much faster development.

Q. What is unique about the Master Ding Academy ?

  1. A.Often a tai chi teacher will say that they have studied with many tai chi masters. However perhaps it is more true to say that a master has had thousands of students. Of those students, only a few will actually develop enough skill to teach, and fewer still have the ability the truly demonstrate the tai chi principles expressing tai chi’s legendary softness. Master Ding is fully  committed to transmitting this art to those who continue to work and improve the quality of their tai chi. All of the academy’s instructors are regularly assessed to ensure that they meet a quality standard. Each instructor is also developing and furthering his understanding of the art, and Master Ding is regularly accessible to both students and instructors through workshops, seminars, and retreats. The Master Ding Academy is dedicated to promoting the highest standard of tai chi.


Q. I have previously studied tai chi elsewhere, can I still join ?

  1. A.Students who have studied elsewhere and would like to continue their study with the Master Ding Academy are most welcome to join. Most students will find that their previous experience will be useful and help them progress quickly. Depending on where they have studied before, the form may need corrections but most students find this a positive experience as it gives them a chance to re-examine the key principles in tai chi.


Q. Do I need to practice every day?

A.Tai Chi is about self development and through regular practice it will reveal more of its treasures. However everyone learns at their own pace and you should adopt a routine that best suits you. This might be attending classes once a week, or practicing for a couple of minutes a day running through the form. With all things, the more effort you can invest, the more you will get out .

Q. Is Tai Chi Chuan for the elderly only?

A. No, within the world of Tai Chi Chuan some practitioners start from early childhood and train for their entire lives. Tai Chi Chuan is not exclusive to any race, gender or age. It is practised by millions across the globe for a variety of different reasons.


Q. Can Tai Chi Chuan be an aid to other disciplines such as Yoga?

A. Yes, many of our students come from a range of backgrounds including Shiatsu, reflexology, yoga, Reiki etc. Tai Chi Chuan can help you gain greater insight into many different disciplines.


Q. Is there a spiritual side to Tai Chi Chuan?

A. People start Tai Chi Chuan for a variety of reasons ranging from social to keeping fit. We support all students in whatever their endeavours may be which may include a spiritual development of oneself. However, the practices of the School have no religious connotations.


Q. Do you teach the self defence applications of Tai Chi Chuan?

A. If the student shows an interest this knowledge is passed on. All applications of the art use the concepts and principles of internal martial arts, so most people need a period of time to pick these up before they can begin a serious study of the applications.


Q. Do you teach weapons?

A.Yes. The traditional Weapons (straight sword, broadsword, staff and spear) are taught as part of the syllabus.

Q. Do I need to become a member of the Master Ding Academy ?

A.When you start classes as a beginner it is not necessary as you will be learning the basics of tai chi and developing your interest to find out if tai chi is for you. After approximately one year, you will move on to learning the Traditional Yang Style Long Form. It is only after this time that membership is necessary. Master Ding has dedicated his life to the exploring the deeper principles and concepts of tai chi and has an open and inclusive policy to maintaining the high standards of tai chi throughout the academy. Membership ensures you have the opportunity to further your knowledge with a high level Master.