The short answer to that question is yes! Not to say that learning from a teacher is not good. But in my studies of Tai Chi over the years, a few of the Masters I have read up on have said this: If you are only learning Tai Chi exercises for health and wellness, you do not necessarily need a teacher or Sifu (See-Foo).
You can learn exercise Tai Chi from a DVD. While the major of my study is from the Yang Style 24 Short form, that was when I was younger. My my main focus today at age sixty-five, is to stay toned, agile, and flexible. I have taken many of the Tai Chi forms from the Yang Style and combined them with Qigong forms for my daily routine today.
While Tai Chi is considered Qigong, not all Qigong is Tai Chi. Why? Because Qigong is also used in “Traditional Chinese Medicine.” In Traditional Medical Qigong there are hundreds of exercises for different medical conditions. Keep in mind that all traditional Tai Chi is from one of the Five Families, and was developed for self defense. Only hundreds of years later and today, is it used for exercise, health and wellness.
At age sixty-five I don’t plan on getting in many street fights, but I do plan on trying to stay as healthy as I can as I age. If you want to learn a complete form, then yes, an instructor is probably the best course of action. If you want to learn a routine for health and wellness you can learn it from a DVD.
If you go the DVD route, here’s some things to remember. First of all, see your doctor if you have any real concerns about your health before you begin. Don’t worry if you are not doing the movements just perfect in the beginning. You will have to watch the DVD routine a few times before you start to flow with the DVD instructor, but that’s okay.
Also in the beginning you don’t need to stretch till it hurts, or bend till you are in pain. Start slowly and only stretch and bend to where it is comfortable. In time your body will adjust and your movements will flow with ease. With each movement breathing deeply without straining, and clearing your mind to the rhythm of inhaling and exhaling is important. Listening to your breathing will set your rhythm. You can also listen to slow soft music to set the tone of your workout.
I recommend David Dorian Ross’s DVD, “Tai Chi Fit over 50” if you are looking for the perfect workout. Master Ross has been teaching Tai Chi for over forty years, and is a great teacher to the American audience. You can find “Tai Chi Over 50” by clicking on the DVD cover photo on any page on the site.
P.S. Develop a daily routine and you will on your way to Balance, Harmony, Health, and Wellness.
Roger@Tai Chi Life