Tai Chi and Qi Gong Basics
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Tai Chi is an ancient Chinese martial art that enhances agility and power. Qi Gong is a Chinese health system that's been practiced for centuries to improve mental and physical awareness. Taught by Matthew Cohen, a martial-arts master with 30 years’ experience, these two programs cultivate strength and tranquility in the mind and body.
The Tai Chi program contains three segments. First, you'll learn the essential poses of Tai Chi. Next, you'll move through the postures to create harmony and grace while increasing flexibility and endurance. Finally, you'll put it all together to build overall muscle tone and promote vigor and vitality.
The Qi Gong program conditions the body and expands the senses through slow, natural, repetitive movements. You’ll stimulate your immune system and gain a sense of balance and inner calm with this healing practice.
Includes a new 30-minute Tai Chi program and a 40-minute program from the previously released Qi Gong: Fire & Water.
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Dear Acacia: Listen up... Your customers are NOT happy when you re-package old programs with new titles. They feel ripped off, deceived and angry when you do this. Its bad karma to boot.
When I bought this new DVD I knew part of it included pre-released materials. But I thought Acacia, Mr Cohen and the producers might have reworked that material in some fashion -- perhaps blending elements of "Fire" and "Water" practices into one? I had no idea -- instead simply of lifting half of "Fire and Water" and copying it here.
It's additionally disappointing that the production quality of the newer Tai Chi segment is lower than that of the prior disc. It's shot inside, not in the glorious setting of the older DVD, which is fine. But the visual direction and sound quality is lower. Worse, the three-step process for repeating the moves of and entering into what is a very short Tai Chi routine seems frankly like filler. To be blunt, the Tai Chi segment feels glib. I would have gained much more from a disc entirely devoted to deeper exploration of more Tai Chi principles and moves. The interview with Cohen is great, but also has a could-have-been-free-on-You-Tube quality as well.
I can live this time with giving my money to support this terrific teacher. But I'll be much more careful with my next Acacia product and other productions in which Mr Cohen participates; much less willing to support the cynical decision to recycle in the worst possible way.
This DVD is not, I repeat, not for anyone that has any real Tai Chi practice under their belt. I have had very limited instruction, and I was disappointed with the Tai Chi form presented as the "third" exercise of this disk. My most rudimentary Tai Chi DVD presented a better form in the first 5 minutes.
But, having said that, there is one overriding feature of this DVD that makes it a must buy for anyone wanting to incorporate some Tai Chi and Qi Gong elements into their daily fitness routine. (Or that has any interest in learning Tai Chi or Qi Gong) Matt Cohen teaches the entire routine in mirror image poses.
OK, what does that mean?
Watch most every other workout, or Tai Chi DVD. The overwhelming majority of the time as you perform the moves, you "mirror" the instructor in screen. That means when they say lift the right arm, you end up lifting the left arm because it is on the same side as the person in the screen. Matthew Cohen takes this very common and normal human behavior into account, showing the left leg forward, but saying right leg, etc... This makes it about a million times easier to follow the routine then I have ever experienced before. Absolutely zero eye muscle confusion based on what I was seeing on screen.
Another additional benefit, the first two sections of the Tai Chi exercise have in the short time I have owned this DVD, replaced my stretching and warm up routines. In a few short minutes, I feel like I am more then ready to take on any number of strenuous exercise in only about 5 minutes. That works for me, cannot speak for anyone else.
As someone who practiced qi gong for the last 4 years, I have seen many benefits in terms of faster healing, better mental health, vitality, less depression, clearer moods, and greater sense of well being. I have used many DVDs and read several books and tried different movements and postures. They were all valuable but this workout is the most energizing in the shortest time. Most workouts get qi circulating well if you practice it daily, link the breath to the movements. Especially paying attention to opening the hand and arm meridians and then circulating the qi. What is unique about this workout is the raw energy it generates. Its not about circulating qi. Its about generating intense lower body energy (provided the stances you are doing are deep). After which the energy rises upward on its own. One round of the deep stances in the morning 3 deep breaths for each stance, right after getting out of bed, and I am awake, alert, charged for the day. No need for coffee. Just 6-8 mins of this.
I didn't realize it when I first did this workout and attributed the burst of energy I started having to supplements I was taking. After eliminating the supplements over several weeks (trying to solve the light sleep problem I was having) it became clear that it was this workout. If done too late in the day or before bed, it'll keep me up. I actually had this DVD for at least 6 months before understanding its potential. I wrote it off as too basic and didn't understand the focus on slightly different stances with the legs. I thought Matt made a mistake with this and was going too basic. The real power of tai qi, however, is actually in the legs.
Qi gong is more arm focused and into circulating and clearing qi. Its less about energizing the body.
If you have this DVD and have not tried it as a deep stance workout, you have not taken it anywhere near its real potential. Try 6-8 mins with as deep a stance as you can and you'll see what I am talking about as far as energy boosts.
In his latest instructional DVD, TAI CHI & QI GONG BASICS, Cohen provides two complete practices which center on the mind, body, and spirit aspect of his teachings. His program includes a warm-up, three segments, and a cool-down. Guided by Cohen's soothing voice-over, he demonstrates each pose with grace and harmony. Focusing on the health and wellness benefits of flexibility and poise, he explains why each pose is essential to inner peace. Despite his detailed instructions, it is difficult to see his foot, knee, and leg placements due to his baggy pants.
The Q&A bonus section is an insightful discussion with Cohen that explains his personal journey that led him to where he is today. He addresses the differences between Tai Chi and QI Gong Basics and encourages the viewer to explore both practices. Overall, this DVD gives the novice as well as the expert an inspirational work-out that will hopefully lead them to a healthier lifestyle.