Beginners classes are held in the city center with a beautiful private area outside on the River Corrib for training on sunny days. We have bigger venues for when the Masters visit and students come from all over Ireland to attend.
Our goal is to provide a friendly atmosphere with a serious attitude to learning and helping students achieve their health and fitness goals. Over the past 15 years we have taught thousands of people Tai Chi and had a very positive influence on students becoming more healthy and aware of themselves.
The following 18 stages described below are a pedagogical indicator for teachers who have real professional Taiji schools and are teaching long term in one place so students can train there weekly with their Laoshi ( teacher) or Shifu ( Master)
It is not mandatory but offered as guidance to other teachers and to help students see the path ahead and hopefully stimulate some conversation about where one is in ones training.
Please note this curriculum outlined by Shifu Niall O Floinn is flexible and is based on more than 21 years of his experience studying with the coach of the most national Taijiquan champions of China, Grandmaster Wang Hai Jun, as well as conversations with him, clarifying appropriate stages to learn different material. Each level needs to be fully clarified with ones teacher and verified with ones shifu to ensure proper understanding.
It is erroneous to think if you learn the choreography of a form in a pro level that this makes your skill of professional quality. Equally a duan grading or competitive achievement does not necessarily indicate ones skills as measured below. Normally authors avoid outlining progressive skills too much as they are often misinterpreted so please consult a professional teacher. The below curriculum is to be considered 'A rough guide to Taijiquan progression'
It's author hopes it subtlety points students in the direction of questioning their own abilities and seeking the path to improvement
Foundation/Stationary Silk Reeling
Silk reeling revision & moving step silk reeling
Qigong /13 step form
18 step & revision
Lao jia yi lu
Lao jia revision / sword technique
Lao jia yi lu hands on corrections by the Shifu (nei jia zi) / Sword form
(Option to begin teacher training at this stage)
Sabre / Cannon fist
Revision of all previous forms / 5 types of push hands
(optional exam for Level 1 teacher qualification)
Competition form & revision / San gan or Taiji bang
(optional exam for Level 2 teacher qualification)
Guan dao or Taiji Spirit Fan form / Basic applications of push hands
Xin jia yi lu / push hands drills
Shun jia zi level of lao jia needed to move to pro level.
3hrs daily for 10 years or 10, 000 hrs over longer period to reach sufficient gong fu in lao jia yi lu.
Double sabre / competitive push hands training
(Optional exam for level 3 teacher qualification)
Pan jia zi level of lao jia /revision of all previous material
Xin jia er lu / taiji theory / additional training
(Optional graduation exam of Shifu)
Forms applications / Final theory studies
International and competitive coaching
Senior master. Differentiating higher levels of gong fu
Leadership, teaching pedagogy, writing, promotion of Taijiquan.
No more hands on corrections by ones Shifu
How long does it take?
Depending on one’s amount and intensity of practice along with one’s natural abilities each stage will vary in length. The point at which one becomes a disciple or is recognised as a Shifu varies widely. Usually to become a disciple to a Master, one needs at least 10 years practice and have sufficient skill and good character to be accepted.
with Shifu O'Floinn
These are excellent for people who have already reached a certain level of skill but wish to learn more intensely in a shorter period of time than weekly classes would allow.
Also they are great for beginners or indeed any level where the student has work hours that don’t suit public class times or perhaps they have to travel long distances from other parts of Ireland and therefore prefer to do a private class less often.
As students progress they gain confidence to exhibit their Tai Chi skills. We also host high level demos by senior coaches and Master Wang Hai Jun, 3 time national champion of China.
These events allow the public to see the full spectrum of Tai Chi which includes slow and soft movement to increase “qi” flow and more dynamic forms with explosive releases of power as well as 11 traditional weapon forms that most people have no idea exists within Tai Chi’s curriculum.
These events are free and enjoyed very much by the public.
It usually takes 9 months – 1 year, depending on the group, to complete the short 18 step form. During this year students also learn finer details and receive precious knowledge about the body from Master Wang at Master Seminars.
There is a special graduation class and certificate of achievement when students finish the form. For those who wish to learn more about internal qi and increase their fitness they can learn the Gong Fu foundation form Lao Jia Yi Lu.
This takes a further 2 years to graduate from [having learned the choreography of the form and some essential principles of how to move the body ]. This form has 6 levels so students at the Galway Tai Chi Academy, unlike many schools who reach only a basic level, can progress with senior coaches to the highest levels in Ireland.
The Academy offers probably the most comprehensive Tai Chi teacher training available with certification for different levels of experience. There also are terms and conditions for undergoing teacher training which a trainee teacher needs to understand and agree to before deciding to commit themselves to the course of study.The Academy usually will discuss these in person with potential trainee teachers.