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Alan Skirving

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Alan Skirving has been practising Tai Chi since 1997 and has studied with a number of teachers in the Cheng Man-ch’ing and Huang Sheng Shyan lineage of Yang Style Tai Chi.  He has attended many workshops over the past two decades with senior teachers from these and other Tai Chi styles, as well as other forms of movement practice, martial arts and chi gung.  Alan has been training with Adam Mizner since 2014 and is a certified 1st level instructor with Heaven Man Earth Internal Arts.  He is also a registered advanced instructor with the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain.

Alan has also practised Yoga since 1998, with a particular interest in ‘Scaravelli-inspired’ yoga for more than ten years.  He has worked with many inspiring teachers over that time and in 2015 began an ongoing teacher training programme with Marc Acquaviva –  He has also explored various forms of meditation and related practices.  His approach to Tai Chi is influenced by these wider experiences while staying true to the art.


Alan’s Beginners Course

Tai Chi – Tàijí, T’ai chi ch’uan or Tàijíquán – originates from Chinese martial arts and is practised for health and wellbeing, meditation, self-cultivation and self-defence.  As a mind-body practice, Tai Chi promotes relaxation and awareness, and improves mobility, posture, balance, co-ordination, strength and stamina.  Research also suggests the practice of Tai Chi may help with a variety of health conditions.

As an internal martial art, Tai Chi can be developed, refined and enjoyed over a lifetime.  There are several main styles such as Yang, Chen and Wu, which are named after the families from which they originated.  This syllabus comes from a branch of Yang style, from Cheng Man-ch’ing, Huang Sheng Shyan and subsequent teachers.

Beginners’ classes provide a supportive environment to start the process of learning an authentic Tai Chi method.  The classes are designed around a clear and progressive syllabus as outlined below taught over 6 week blocks.  Students can learn at their own pace, consolidating their learning and progress into intermediate classes when they wish to take things further.

Beginners Tai Chi Syllabus   

Mobilizing Exercises; The Tai Chi Body – Structure and Release; Principles of Tai Chi Movement; Tai Chi Form Sequence – 37 Posture Form; Tai Chi Partner Practice; Qigong

Mobilizing Exercises

Loosening and mobilizing exercises are practised at the start of each class which help to open the body, release tension, improve body awareness and articulation of movement.

The Tai Chi Body  – Structure and Release

Students are introduced to the principles of Tai Chi posture and the process of cultivating relaxation and release within the body structure, creating the foundation for Tai Chi practice.

Principles of Tai Chi Movement

Simple movement patterns are introduced – including verticality, shifting weight, rotation, stepping and co-ordination of the upper and lower body – covering the main aspects of movement in this Tai Chi style.  Students later progress to learn Huang Sheng Shyan’s 5 loosening exercises, which provide a clear framework to understand and cultivate the deeper aspects of the practice.

Tai Chi Form Sequence – 37 Posture Form

Tai Chi Form is a sequence of connected, flowing movements which originate from martial arts applications.  There are many different Tai Chi forms – the 37 Posture Form derives from Yang style and was created by Cheng Man-ch’ing and taught by him in China, Taiwan and the USA between 1946 and 1975 – further refined by his student Huang Sheng Shyan and subsequent teachers.  We will focus on learning the first section of the form.

Tai Chi Partner Practice

Partner practice is taught through a series of non-competitive exercises, to enhance the understanding of Tai Chi principles and cultivate basic skills including grounding, issuing, connected movements and co-operative ‘pushing hands’ exercises.  Partnerwork is often the most fascinating and enjoyable aspect of Tai Chi practice, and is best approached with an attitude of co-operation and mutual growth.

Ch’i Gung (Chi Kung, Qigong)

Ch’i Gung exercises involve breath, movement, imagination and awareness of body sensations, and are a useful complement to Tai Chi practice.