Yin-Yang symbol Oxford University Taijiquan Association

Martial Classes

Tuesdays 7:30pm to 9:30pm.

Click here for a map.

Tuesday classes are held in the upper hall of the East Oxford Community Centre on Cowley Road/Princes Street. To get there, head across Magdalen bridge and round the roundabout to Cowley road. Head straight up there until you reach Princes street, and turn left into it. The door of the community centre is on your left under a porch. The classes are upstairs in the room on the right.

Martial classes will consist of pushing hands exercises, freestyle pushing hands (grappling), martial techniques, moving-step pushing hands, wrestling, full-contact sparring, and hand form. Classes £5 for students, £7 otherwise.

Taiji is a traditional and complete Chinese martial art, incorporating strikes with all parts of the body and throwing, grappling and joint-locking techniques. It is an excellent way to get fit since regular practice increases stamina, strength, power and flexibility. It is a suitable form of self-defence for all, male and female, young and old. You can do as much or as little in class as you feel comfortable with.

Taiji uses skilful movements to combat brute force, teaching you to evade attacks and deflect blows using the minimum amount of effort, since they are not met head on but are absorbed, the principle of yin. It also trains you to use your whole body in every movement, allowing everyone to use their maximum power in an attack, the principle of yang. When you can fluidly interchange between attack and defence, yin and yang, then you will have developed skill in taijiquan, or supreme ultimate i.e., yin and yang boxing.

The pushing hands techniques Seven Stars, Nine Castles and Four Directions are performed as warm-up exercises with a partner. Repeated practise makes the correct defending and attacking postures almost instinctive and gives you the sensitivity required to anticipate attacks and instantly respond with a counter-attack.

Freestyle pushing hands teaches you to control an attacker and use their force against them. It is also an excellent test of your ability to relax and apply the principles of tai chi.

Applications apply taiji movements to realistic self-defence situations.

Those who want to can test their skills under the even more realistic conditions of moving-step pushing hands, wrestling and full-contact sparring.

The hand form acts as a cool down and full body stretch, increasing the strength and range of motion of all the body's joints and laying the foundation for the realisation of its maximum physical potential, as well as protecting against injuries and improving posture.

Advanced students can learn weapon forms and nei gong, internal strength exercises, which improve co-ordination, develop power and strengthen the body.

By learning to move in a relaxed way while under fear of assault your ability both to attack and to defend increases. Increases physical confidence leads to mental confidence. The legendary health benefits of taiji come when your ability to relax under pressure becomes part of your daily life.