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Tai Chi


San Rafael Martial Arts teaches the Yang style of Tai Chi. Tai Chi is one of the oldest documented forms of martial arts and today is one of the most practiced forms of martial arts. Yang style of Tai Chi is named after its founder, Yang, Lu-Chan. Yang Lu-Chan’s grandson, Yang Chen-Fu was one of the first to teach Yang Style Tai Chi outside of China and responsible for making it one of the most practiced arts today.

There are many benefits that accompany Yang Style Tai Chi Practice; the most common benefits are balance, timing, strength and flexibility.

  • Balance is achieved through routine forms practice. With forms, the practitioner learns the concept of empty and full. Empty and full refers to where your body is positioned over your hips. Using your legs and waist to shift your body from front to back or left to right helps the practitioner focus on balancing and shifting their weight. It is common for beginner practitioners to lean, tilt or reach instead; causing them to lose balance.

  • Timing is best achieved when working with another practitioner. Besides two person forms, Yang Style Tai Chi is famous for their Pushing Hands exercises. In Yang Style Tai Chi there are many types of Push Hands, including: Stationary Single and Double Push Hands, Moving Step Push Hands, Free Style Push Hands and Da Lu Push Hands. The goal of Push Hands is to get your partner off balance without using force, but by feeling and using your opponent’s energy and pushing them off balance at the right time.

  • Strength is achieved by doing the above and incorporating weapons forms. Through weapon training the practitioner has total body movement while wielding a sword, staff, spear, sabre cane or many other types of Tai Chi weapons. The weight of the weapon coupled with the specific movements of the body leads to stronger, leaner muscles.

  • Flexibility is achieved easily with Yang Style Tai Chi due to it being practiced slowly. The slow movement allows the muscles time to slowly elongate through routine practice.

With many health benefits accredited to Yang Style Tai Chi, there are even more martial or self defense benefits. Every move within the forms are self defense techniques that includes joint locks, pressure points as well as traditional blocks and strikes. Some recorded health benefits¹ include aiding in the following:

  • Arthritis

  •  Low Bone Density

  • Heart Disease

  • Heart Failure

  • Hypertension

  • Parkinson’s

  • Sleep Problems

  • Stroke

¹Health Benefits cited from Harvard Medical School article in May 2009.

Tai Chi - San Rafael Martial Arts

Class Schedule


                                MON                 TUE                 WED                 THU                 FRI                 SAT


Tai Chi         6:30-7:30pm                            6:30-7:30pm

Julia Z.

I started Tai Chi here about six weeks ago and I am absolutely loving it.  Sifu Thornton is a fantastic teacher - he's patient, explains things well, and is clearly a master.  

This is a great school in a perfect central location.

Micheline M.

We can do things that were completely irrealistic two years ago as far as balance, flexibility, strength and internal peace thanks to the care of the teacher Terrance Thornton.  He is very dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate.


Terrance is a really great teacher, giving each student some attention when they need it.  He takes Tai Chi seriously as more than just a form of exercise but as it is, a martial art; meticulous explaining each step thoroughly and having us go over it well.

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