Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi
"I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed my first class this week. I felt so at peace with myself afterwards and this lasted all day".
- Sue, Wilton
Our most popular classes are based on the very popular health qigong set called "Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi". The movements are performed with music and are relaxing and easy to follow. In our evening classes Shibashi is taught with a focus on being a useful foundation for learning a tai chi form with us. This makes it an ideal class for beginners who just want a regular exercise class or are not sure about committing to a traditional class where form is taught progressively.
At Longwater Tai Chi we are able to offer and demonstrate the authentic ‘Shibashi Tai Chi Qigong for Health’ which we studied directly with its famous creator, Professor Lin Hou Sheng, the tai chi Master who created the set as an accessible way for many millions of people to gain the massive benefits of tai chi without having to learn challenging traditional tai chi movements and sequences. We have a dream that ‘Shibashi Tai Chi Qigong’ could become a national health exercise in the UK and are working towards this with national organisations. At the time of writing this, in early 2019, we discovered from Master Hou Sheng that he had only certificated three people in the UK to teach authentic Set 1 Shibashi. We even have certificates numbered 2 and 3!
‘Shibashi Tai Chi Qigong’ is practised around the world by over 10 million people. It is based on movements from Yang style Tai Chi and this gentle, flowing qigong exercise set is deeply relaxing and pleasant to perform. It was developed in 1979 by Tai Chi Master, Professor Lin Hou-Sheng and is designed to improve the health and wellbeing of the practitioner. The gentle rocking and stretching movements can help to improve circulation, digestion, flexibility and balance. The controlled breathing and chest exercises are good for lung conditions and the general holistic effect of the set is to reduce stress and tension and improve wellbeing. In a popular TV programme in 2018 in the UK, ‘Trust Me I’m a Doctor’, this movement set was scientifically tested for its health benefits alongside Zumba, and was found to be every bit as beneficial, despite being a low impact exercise which doesn’t build up a sweat. More and more doctors are now recommending tai chi.
Our daytime classes are slightly adapted to be relaxing and easy to follow, with calming background music. In our evening classes, ‘Shibashi’ Tai Chi Qigong is taught in a more traditional way, building a useful foundation for learning a tai chi form with us, or simply as a stand-alone exercise class. The movements can also be adapted and followed as a seated version.
We first learned the ‘Shibashi’ set from a Chinese teacher while studying in Malaysia in the early 1990s, where it had become the ‘national health exercise’. We saw practitioners of many different levels of ability, from serious athletes, tai chi students and young people through to groups of elderly people. We got chatting to a group of older ladies practising amongst the thousands of people exercising in the local park in the early mornings. They were very enthusiastic to tell us about how ‘Shibashi’ had helped them and their friends, enabling them to walk without their sticks and we met one very mobile lady who had initially been in a wheelchair.
When we discovered in 2018 that the creator of the ‘Shibashi’ set, Professor Lin Hou Sheng, was still alive and living in America, we were delighted that we could go back to the original source and contacted him to find out about improving the set by learning directly from him. We were astonished that other teachers in the UK had not done this, as there are a large number of variations on the popular, ‘Shibashi’ Set 1, set being taught.
Many of our long-term tai chi students still enjoy Shibashi sessions alongside complete beginners, they just drip in advanced tai chi and qigong components to their movements, it really is a versatile set.
What do I wear?
We do not use uniforms - most students prefer to wear comfortable clothes with a bit of stretch and practice with socks, flat shoes that don't tip you forward or bare feet. You mignt also want to bring a bottle of water.