The main curriculum is the Chen Family style Taijiquan set as taught by Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang.
Qi Gong classes include a variety of systems and exercises, including the Tao Tan Pai system, Dr. Xie Peiqi's Yin Fu Bagua system, Hua To's Frolics of the Five Animals, and Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang's standing post and silk reeling exercises.
Bill and Allison Helm are 20th generation indoor disciplies of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, the 19th generation Standard Bearer of the Chen family Taijiquan. Bill and Allison are also holders of 5th Duan certifications in the Chinese Wushu Association. The Chen family created Taijiquan, and the family has carried on the art as it was originally meant, teaching the full system with weapons and fighting applications. Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang visits San Diego yearly to work with Bill and Allison and to teach seminars to the general public. BIll and Allison also travel frequently to China to study with the Chen family. Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing, Master Chen Bing and Master Chen Ziqiang travel to San Diego periodically to teach seminars. Read more about the history of Chen Style Taijiquan here.
Classes initially focus on relaxation, correct alignment of the joints, and understanding the basics of movement. The laojia yi lu is taught over a 6-7 month period, providing the student with an introduction to the fundamentals of taijiquan while learning the choreography. Once the form is learned, more focused work on the structure and internal aspects of taijiquan can begin. The student can also start working with a partner to develop sensitivity and listening skills. The student may progress to a weapon form at this point. Classes will begin to focus more on developing power, and the difficulty level of the class will increase. There is always something to learn, and students who have learned all of the forms taught still return to regular class to continue working on the higher levels of skill. Read more about the classes here.
Traditional Taijiquan does not use the belt system. There are no formal levels other than the ones the students set for themselves. Practice is considered to be lifelong, and improvement is always possible. The Chinese Wushu Association offers level certification, but these tests are administered outside of the US for the most part.
The Taoist Sanctuary does not require a contract. Class fees are pre-paid on a monthly basis. At the end of the month, you may choose to stay or go, no strings attached. If you plan to miss more than 2 weeks of classes, your due date can be adjusted if you call and speak with someone prior to missing the classes.
You can attend all regular Taijiquan classes that you qualify for, and any regular Qi Gong classes. Seminars taught by visiting masters and seminars offered outside the regular class hours are not included in the monthy fee.
Comfortable loose clothing is best. Shoes are optional - one of the classrooms has a wood floor and one is carpeted. We have AC and heat, but we rarely use them. Layers are suggested in the colder months.
Shoes should have smooth soles. Turning is difficult with the thicker soles found on cross trainers and/or hikers.
We have a semester based schedule, and we take new Taijiquan students for the first several weeks. At a certain point, it becomes too difficult to catch up, even with catch-up lessons provided by our teaching assistants. Check the main web page for the cutoff notices for the Taijiquan classes. Qi Gong classes are ongoing and can be started at any point in the semester.
Come to a class about 10 minutes before the starting time and check with the person at the front desk. You can try one Taijiquan class and one Qi Gong class for free, then if you wish to enroll, pay your monthly fee at the next class. We will ask you to sign a paper agreeing to your pay date (not a contract, simply a way to track the due dates), and this paper will also ask for your address, phone number, and information about any injuries or medical conditions. There is an injury waiver included.