Yangjia Michuan Taijiquan

Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail
Tai Chi club

Lǎn 揽
Qùe 雀
Wěi 尾

Hello and Welcome!

We’re a small, friendly Tai Chi club located in the heart of Kensington, London. Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that strengthens and promotes mind/body health.

Why learn Tai Chi?

The students at our club practise Tai Chi for many reasons; some of us do it for the exercise and stretching, others for the mindful relaxation and breathing, and yet others for the fun of learning the choreography of the form. Some of us focus on the practical and martial applications of the moves, while others just enjoy the slow, moving meditation and sense of calm that Tai Chi can bring.

What style of Tai Chi do you teach?

Our style is called Yangjia Michuan Taijiquan. It is a back-weighted, empty-hand Yang style composed of 127 movements and is split into three parts of 18, 44, and 65 movements. Learning the form can be a fun challenge, both physically and mentally! And for those who are interested in learning a weapon form, we also practise a fan form and two different sword forms.

We learned our style of Tai Chi from Peter Clifford, who lived in Taiwan in the 1970’s and 80’s and was a student of Wang Yen-nien, a well-known Tai Chi teacher and the modern-day founder of this style of Tai Chi.

Peter Clifford (Xu Bin)
Wang Yen-nien (王延年)

What should I expect?

We usually begin our classes with a variety of warm-up exercises, after which we take a short break, and then practise one of the shorter forms together, such as Thirteen Postures (Shi San Shi) or part one of the form. We then split up into different groups to focus on teaching based on skill level and/or interest. We may also practise Push Hands (Tuishou) on occasion.

For many of us, Tai Chi is a life-long learning experience. When you first begin, you will likely focus on memorising the sequence of moves in the form. Over time, you may add more layers to that, such as learning how to: synchronize your breathing with your movements, maintain the appropriate posture, relax your arms and shoulders, increase awareness of body positioning to avoid double-weightedness, let go of tension, yield to incoming force as a tactic, use your legs and waist to generate force, develop rooting, understand the practical and martial applications of the moves, and so on. Your balance and flexibility should improve, and you will hopefully learn to relax, take deep breaths, and calm the mind.

Can anyone practise the fan and swords forms?

In general, it helps to first develop an understanding of the basics by practising Thirteen Postures and part one of the form. That said, we often practise the Taiji Fan form and anyone is welcome to join in.

The Wudang and Kunlun sword forms are more advanced and challenging. Because of this, we usually practise these separately in short sessions for more experienced students.

Taiji Fan performed by Lianxin Chen

When and where do you meet?

We currently meet on Wednesday evenings, from 7.30pm to 8.45pm, at St. Philip’s Church, Upper Hall, Earls Court Road, London W8 6QH. Our closest tube stations are High Street Kensington and Earls Court.

If you’d like to try a class, please first email us at classes@sparrowstailtaichi.co.uk to confirm that classes are taking place and that spaces are available for new students. No previous experience is necessary.

For those who cannot make it on Wednesday evenings, we also occasionally practise Tai Chi in Holland Park on Saturday and Sunday mornings, however these classes are dependent on the weather, so please email us to confirm.

Upper Hall, St Philip’s Church

The cost for a single class is £10.00, or £30.00 for the month.

You should wear comfortable clothing and shoes, and bring a bottle of water.

The first class in 2022 will be January 12th. There is no class on June 1st. There are no classes during August.

Insurance is arranged through The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain.

What about Covid?

We are currently limiting class sizes and expect five to ten students on any given night.

  • Ideally, we will have had our shots and boosters.
  • Remember to wash your hands.
  • Wear a mask if you wish, although it is not mandatory.
  • Try to maintain social distancing in class.

Please do not attend class if you feel unwell, have symptoms, or a positive test result.

“Be serious in the practice of Peng, Lü, Ji, An.
In Cai, Lie, Zhou, Kao pay attention to bending and extending.
In Jin Bu, Tui Bu, Zou Gu, You Pan, Zhong Ding,
You must stick, connect, adhere and follow, distinguishing full and empty.”

– Song of Thirteen Postures