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We currently offer nine-week introductory class sessions on Tuesday evenings, continuing classes on Thursday evenings, and private advanced instruction on Sunday mornings. If you are interested in an introductory class session, please submit a registration form to indicate interest and to place your name on a waiting list. We follow the U of I calendar and usually offer beginning sessions at the start of the school year, in January after winter break, and over the summer, but we are happy to start a new class whenever interest is sufficient.

The summer 2024 class is full and registration is closed. The next introductory session will be in the fall beginning the week after Labor Day. More information about the class is available below. Please submit a registration form to indicate your interest in an introductory session.

Please note: we do not allow visitors to observe class as it can be disruptive to beginning students. We also do not offer trial classes—a commitment to the entire nine week introductory session is required as space is limited and we must know registration in advance of the session.

Beginning Class Sessions

jan 2019 group photo
Winter 2019 introductory session group photo
Location & Time

Introductory classes are held on Tuesday evenings at the Channing Murray Foundation, 1209 W Oregon St, Urbana, IL 61801. Please submit the registration form if you are interested in a future introductory session.


The fee for a nine-week session is $144, and is due via check before the first class. Google Pay, PayPal and Venmo payments are also accepted. Student discounts are available, and up to 50% tuition assistance is available on a limited basis to those in need and willing to exchange in-kind services. For those over 65, a significant portion of the tuition is reimbursable through Health Alliance’s wellness program. Check with your insurance company for possible reimbursement if you do not have Health Alliance.

The beginning class is a session fee and there are no refunds or make-up classes for the session. Class videos are available on-line for home practice and to use if you miss a class.

Introductory Class Curriculum – The “9 Pearls”

Curriculum includes instruction in 1) standing, sitting, and lying-down meditation, 2) moving qigong, and 3) a short seven movement introductory taiji form.

You will learn the “Nine Pearls” – the Five Steps for developing nei gong (internal power) that define not only taijiquan movement but all of the “internal” martial arts of China, and the Four Things that are Always True as contemplations for achieving deeper and more lasting inner peace in mediation practice and daily life. All universal spiritual principals evolve from The Four Things that are Always True and they define our attitude and approach to taiji practice.

Learning taiji has nothing to do with brand or style of choreographed form – it is about the mechanics of the movement, why the movement is what it is. When you have learned the mechanics of the movement (i.e. the Five Steps to Internal Power), any movement can be taiji movement. Though the exercises can easily be adjusted to suit persons of any age and physical ability, the introductory course material is deep and many of our students retake the course multiple times, as there is much to be learned regarding the mechanics of all taiji movement.


Meditation is the foundation of all qigong, and we teach meditation in sitting, standing, and lying-down positions – all are similar but also have different purposes and yield different benefits. Learning the fundamental instruction in meditations is essential to continuing with our school’s curriculum. If you are new to meditation you will learn how – if you are a long-time practitioner yourself you may gain new insight into your own practice.

As noted above our introductory sitting meditation program is centered around the Four Things that are Always True (and therefore underlie all human experience), and how awareness of those things is essential for deep and lasting tranquility. Standing meditation is the foundation for all taiji and internal martial art postural principles; standing meditation is called “standing pole” and taiji movement is called “moving standing pole.” Another very famous saying is that “100 movements are not as good as one standing meditation.” Though not commonly known, lying down meditation is also a traditional foundational practice. In 1985, my teacher met Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang in Shanghai, where he was the principle representative of the Chen style at the very first all-family taiji gathering arranged by the Chinese government (Fu Zhongwen represented the Yang style, Ma Yueliang the Wu style, and Feng Zhiqiang the Chen style). The very first thing Grandmaster Feng told my teacher then in a private class was that “you have to do the lying down.”

Dynamic Qigong

Literally translated as nurturing one’s energy or vitality, qigong is a “big picture” concept – any mind/body/spirit integrative exercise that nurtures vitality is qigong. Taiji is one kind of qigong exercise, but traditional taiji practice was much more than simply choreographed slow movement – indeed it is not even possible to learn the mechanics of taiji if one only focuses on form choreography.

Qigong exercises include repetitive movements that variously emphasize dynamic stretching/flexibility/range of motion, coordination of movement and breath, agility, footwork, and core strength. As repetitive motions the qigong exercises allow practitioners to “go deeper” in their movement and understanding of the Five Steps to Internal Power. Importantly, the exercises are safe and the intensity is easily modified to suit persons of all ages and physical abilities. We have students in their 80s, and also elite athletes who have found the exercise to be challenging.

Introductory Taiji Form

Lastly, you will learn a seven movement introductory taiji form. Our goal is to provide you with complete, traditional curriculum that encompasses the entire mind/body/spirit continuum, and that you can take home and practice yourself. If you would like to continue with the group, we would love to have you join the intermediate class after completing the introductory class session.

Continuing Classes

Continuing classes are held on Thursday evenings from 6:00-7:30 at the Channing Murray Foundation. We start the class as a group with gigong and meditation, then split into different groups of various skill levels to work on forms and other exercises. We end each class again as a group with sitting or lying-down meditation.

Various forms learned in the continuing class include the 48 form, pao cui (cannon fist), Grandmaster Feng’s 24 pao cui, broadsword (Dao), and straight sword (Jin).

Advanced Classes

Advanced classes are being taught on Saturday mornings as semi-private lessons and focus on the martial aspects of taiji. Here we play with our gong and test ourselves to see if we can use it to do real work (in the physics sense – moving mass with power and efficiency). A millennium before the Confucian scholar Wu Yuxiang became Yang Luchan’s student and produced the “classical” poems that were so effective in marketing martial art brands to the educated public, the internal marital arts of China were created by the soldier/warrior and farmer class – efficiency of force expression for the purpose of doing real work in the world was their primary goal.

Personal Instruction

Private instruction is available on a limited basis. Out of town, experienced practitioners can schedule an Zoom lesson. Please use the contact form if you are interested in private instruction.


Contact us if you are interested in non-form centric workshops on fundamental principles, qigong, meditation, and/or push-hands – foundational practices for any style of taiji.

tai chi scroll for classes page

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