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1 Month Learn Tai Chi in Yangshuo, China

  • The Yangshuo (West Street) Taiji Quan Health Centre, Bao Quan Road, Yangshuo, Guangxi Guilin, China

Learn Tai Chi and Qi Gong

Learn Tai Chi and Qi Gong in a beautiful and peaceful place outdoors, in one of Chinas most stunning areas - Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, and South China. Master Wang Zhi Ping is an experienced teacher of Tai Chi/Qi Gong. As well as being a highly skilled martial artist, his teaching is effective and highly enjoyable for students of all levels.

Highlights

  • Tai Chi training for all levels
  • Personalised training program
  • Daily Tai Chi and Qi Gong training
  • Beautiful and peaceful learning environment
  • Learn from an experienced teacher
  • 29 nights accommodation
  • 24 days with instruction
  • English
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Yangshuo has accommodation to suit most people and budgets. For those students requiring a higher standard, there are brand new hotels providing a good standard ranging from 200 to 350 CNY per night, but there are also good hotels that can be found for 100 to 150 CNY per night as the price of a hotel room decreases depending on quality, location, and room type.

Lower prices may be available if you pay in advance for a long term stay, but note that the prices rise dramatically during Chinese holiday periods - Chinese New Year (Feb for two weeks), May 1 - 5 and October 1 - 5. We will assist you with this at the beginning of your stay as best we can.

The school is able to provide students with clean, comfortable accommodations within a short walking distance of the school at a reasonable monthly price. Small apartment rental is on a monthly basis and prices are about 650 CNY depending on the unit and the location. We have good relationships with the owners.

The program

These programs are to give students an idea of what to expect. Training at the school is done on individual tailored basis generally and will vary with each students needs. It may also be possible to come to the school for shorter periods such as one or two weeks but you should discuss this with the school by email.

One month Yang style 24 training program

This program is suitable for beginners looking to take their first steps in Tai Chi, or for those who already practice Yang style Tai Chi and wish to develop their movement. The simplified Yang style 24 is a short, relatively simple sequence which can be learnt comfortable in a month practising twice a day. This is sufficient to achieve a reasonable foundation in the form to take away for development on ones own for a while.

Real proficiency and fangsung is a longer journey and requires much practice. On this program students will learn Simplified Yang 24, Yang basic exercises, standing pole Qi Gong, basic internal Nei Gong (Qi Gong ) exercises, Ba Duan Jin and possible a little pushing hands. There may also be tasters of Chen Chan si Gong when appropriate. Students with more time have the option of changing to a Chen program or of further refining their Yang or of learning competition 42.

Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi School training schedule

The school is open everyday from 07:30 - 11:30 and 14:30 - 18:30. Actual class times vary with the season, as Tai Chi is practised outdoors, and depends on the sunrise and sunsets. Generally, instruction is given for two hours in the morning and two hours in the afternoon on weekdays and for a half day on Saturdays.

Students are encouraged to make full use of this time for their practise. The reality is that time, hard work a much effort are required to achieve success but the rewards are very, very great. Teaching is flexible here, and is purely focused on allowing the individual to learn as quickly and as well as they are able in the time they have available.

Tai Chi and Qi Gong training styles

Tai Chi

Origin

Hundreds of years ago, those who searched for a way to elevate the human body and spirit to their ultimate level developed an ingenious system known as Tai Chi excercise. This system, which was inspired by the Tai Chi outlook, has since proved to be the most advanced system of body excercise and mind conditioning ever created. Tai Chi encourages the fulfilment of the individual person, it can be used for health, longevity, self defence, mental freshness and spiritual development, irrespective of culture or religion.

Principle of Tai Chi

Tai Chi means "the ultimate". It means improving, and progressing toward the unlimited; it means the immense existence and the great eternal. All of the various directions in which Tai Chi influence was felt, were guided by the theory of opposites: Ying and the Yang, the negative and the positive.

This is sometimes called the original principle. It was also believed that all the of the various influences of Tai Chi point in one direction: toward the ultimate. The Chinese long realised that the two Tai Chi elemental powers must interact, and the harmonious result could bring progress and unlimited development.

Tai Chi theory

According to Tai Chi theory, the abilities of the human body are capable of being developed beyond their commonly conceived potential. Creativity has no boundaries whatsoever, and the human mind should have no restrictions or barriers placed upon its capabilities.

Tai Chi is the practical act of cultivating, purifying, and circulating Qi (life force energy) for healing and healthy life that is deeply rooted in the very nature of the earth and the immense universe in which spreads.

Tai Chi is connected meditation with the mind quiet and still yet the eyes are open and the body is active; it is perfection in movement - poetry in motion; it is internal strength and power manifest.

Tai Chi is an internal martial art

Tai Chi is an internal martial art system which places emphasis on the development and control of Chi (Consciousness) energy within the body. This is achieved with the aid of forms / sequences of movements which are practised in a meditative state of mind. The practitioner aspires to develop a state of fang sung within his/her body and mind.

For Tai Chi, this state can best be described as a combination of relaxation, alertness, poise and balance. A state of being totally in the Now in body and mind. Master Wang Zhi Ping sometimes describes it by holding a glass. The tension in your body should be such that the slightest relaxation of your tension level will cause the glass to drop.

Tai Chi constantly brings up the challenges of polarities, of hardness and softness, of power and subtlety of Ying and Yang. Master Wang Zhi Ping calls this - natural movement, it is spontaneous and unaffected without conceptual faking. It is a spiritual perfection path of the highest order for those who wish to reach for the Ultimate in their life.

Chen style movements

Chen Style Tai Chi is amazingly beautiful to do and to watch when performed well. But it is difficult. The movements are circular, the stance is low and the pace alternates between periods of slower and quicker movement. There are also sudden releases of power called Fah Jing, the Chen explosive movements. The martial applications are quite evident in Chen yet it is a complete internal martial art unlike Kung Fu.

Chen style old and new frame

Chen Tai Chi is divided up into the Old Frame (Lao Jia) and New Frame (Xin Jia). Each Frame consists of the First Way (Yi Lu) and the Second Way ( Er Lu). For each of these there are many hand and weapon Tai Chi forms. The Yangshuo Tai Chi School mainly teaches Lao Jia Yi Lu although Wang Zhi Ping, Chang Chang and Cheng he Chang also practise Lao Jia Er Lu. Er Lu is more demanding and explosive than Yi Lu which contains the power more, making it harder to learn well.

Chen style competency

It may be offered to appropriate students but Wang Zhi Ping believes in learning the basics of Fang Sung movement and relaxed Fah Jing movements competently before tackling such difficult Tai Chi. This is also true for martial applications. The teachers can teach interested students the applications behind each movement they learn but Wang Zhi Ping is generally reluctant to teach too much until the student displays sufficient competence in the Tai Chi itself for this knowledge to be of any relevance.

Importance of Tai Chi practice

Its important to learn to relax first and be empty. The New Frame of Chen (Xin Jia) created by Chen Fake is much more complicated to learn and practise and is only relevant to the highest level of practitioner with a total life commitment to Tai Chi. We can demonstrate Xin Jia along with many of the other difficult Tai Chi Forms.

Yang style movements

Yang Style Tai Chi is also beautiful to do and to watch but in a different way to the Chen. Its beauty is the simplicity of its movements which are easy to learn and perform even when a persons health is not that strong. The movements are more linear, the stance is fairly high and the pace remains fairly even and gentle. Hence it achieves the purpose for which it was created which was to be a tool for achieving health, accessible for the majority of people.

Yang style for beginners

By being less demanding physically, it allows the practitioner to focus directly on achieving softness / Fang Sung in the movement and a state of meditative peace. The school teaches simplified Yang Style 24 which is ideal as a beginners Tai Chi. This style is taught all over China in the parks, but its important to find a teacher who can teach the movement with internal Qi otherwise it becomes simply a form of dance.

Aspect of Tai Chi

One of the interesting aspects of Tai Chi is that it manages to function both as a martial art and a spiritual practice. As such it attracts people from both backgrounds and to some extent they meet within the practice of Chen Tai Chi. Opposed to the external martial arts, such as Kung Fu or Karate, which rely on the limited power of strength and speed to exert their force.

Tai Chi is an internal martial art drawing from the unlimited power of the stilled-mind connected with the infinite universal energy source to produce feats of strength and action, far above what the average body is capable of, with wisdom and a peace of mind unsurpassed. As such, Tai Chi attracts people from both backgrounds.

Difference between Yang style and Chen style Tai Chi

Those from a more contemplative, meditative interest can benefit well from the Yang Style and then grow into the more feeling side of Chen style. Those from a more martial background can find their needs met in the Chen with fast application and eventually martial applications. Most of the Chen practitioners in China are more on the martial side.

In the end though both paths combine and good practice at the highest level requires aspects of both. Wang Zhi Ping has a strong interest in Natural Movement with feeling as well as martial Tai Chi and is a long term practitioner of Internal Qigong or Nei Gong.

He is unusual perhaps in his emphasis on the feeling side. Likewise, though the Internal Energy Qigong and the Tai Chi is totally meditative, the student benefited greatly from sitting Meditative retreats which developed the Hara or Dan Tien and quiet mind and spontaneous Qi Gong work.

Meditation

Meditation to aware of ones Chi

In Tai Chi practise, meditation is the only way to become aware of one's Chi. After assuming either a simple sitting posture or an upright stance, the begging can easily achieve success in

Tai Chi meditation by following the procedures

Procedures

Relax an entire body, as if you were asleep, making sure that there is no physical tension at all.

Calm your mind and concentrate on the total body, listening to its breath, sensing its pulse, and so on, until you can feel the body's natural rhythm.

Bring up your spirit by pushing up your crown point. Imagine an invisible string pulling your crown point from above. Gradually apply deeper breathing and inhale directly into the tan t'ien (an area located approximately three inches below the navel and two and one-half inches inward).

Chi (The internal energy)

After practising for some time, you may start to sense a feeling that that flows with the rhythm of deep meditation breathing. This is Chi, the internal energy. As you progress, this feeling grows stronger, and you can begin to sense and control the flow of this energy without the assistance of deep breathing. At this stage, you can use your mind to guide your Chi's path of travel in your body.

Qi Gong

Qi Gong exercise

Qi Gong (also know as chi kung or chi gung) is a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation. With roots in Chinese medicine, martial arts, and philosophy, Qi Gong is traditionally viewed as a practice to cultivate and balance qi (chi) or what has been translated as "intrinsic life energy". Typically a Qi Gong practice involves rhythmic breathing coordinated with slow stylized repetition of fluid movement, a calm mindful state, and visualization of guiding qi through the body.

Qi Gong is now practiced throughout China and worldwide, and is considered by some to be exercise, and by others to be a type of alternative medicine or meditative practice. From a philosophical perspective Qi Gong is believed to help develop human potential, allow access to higher realms of awareness, and awaken one's "true nature" Qi Gong is considered one of the four pillars of Chinese medicine, the others being acupuncture, massage, and herbs. It has been recognised and practiced for thousands of years, and it's benefits are widely supported by scientific research.

Movements

Through the practice of gentle flowing movements, Qi Gong optimizes the flow of energy all around the body and to the primary internal organs: the heart, lungs, liver, spleen and kidneys, helping to put our "state of being" into correct order. The practice of Qigong increases our energy and restores our health and vitality whilst at the same time supporting our inner sense of peace and balance. It is a truly multi-faceted art that offers many things to many people.

Qigong comprises breathing, physical, and mental training methods based on Chinese philosophy. While implementation details vary, all qigong forms can be characterized as a mix of four types of training: dynamic, static, meditative, and activities requiring external aids. People practice qigong for many different reasons, including for exercise and recre ation, prevention and self-healing, meditation and self-cultivation, and training for martial arts.

Qi Gong for health

As a form of gentle exercise, qigong is composed of movements that are typically repeated, strengthening and stretching the body, increasing fluid movement (blood, synovial, and lymph), enhancing balance and proprioception, and building awareness of how the body moves through space.

In recent years a large number of books and videos have been published that focus primarily on Qi Gong as exercise and associated health benefits. Practitioners range from athletes to the physically challenged. Because it is low impact and can be done lying, sitting, or standing, qigong is accessible for disabled persons, seniors, and people recovering from injuries.

Qi Gong as a healing art

As a healing art, Qi Gong practitioners focus on prevention and self-healing, traditionally viewed as balancing the body's energy meridians and enhancing the intrinsic capacity of the body to heal. Qi Gong has been used extensively in China as part of traditional Chinese medicine, and is included in the curriculum of Chinese Universities. Throughout the world Qi Gong is now recognized as a form of complementary and alternative medicine, with significant results for a number of health benefits.

Qi Gong for everyone

Qi Gong can be adapted to suit virtually every body type and fitness. This allows people who are unable to participate in vigorous strength- or aerobic training to train regularly in Qi Gong. The cumulative effects of diligent Qi Gong practice may gain these people a physical strength, energetic vitality and mental calm that allows them to engage in their lives in a way they may long have forgotten. Once learned and practiced qigong is a resource for every aspect of life. Allowing better health, better balance (physically and mentally), increased energy and an improved ability to cope with day-to-day stresses.

Meditation and self-cultivation

Qi Gong is practiced for meditation and self-cultivation as part of various philosophical and spiritual traditions. As meditation, Qi Gong is a means to still the mind and enter a state of consciousness that brings serenity, clarity, and bliss. Many practitioners find qigong, with its gentle focused movement, to be more accessible than seated meditation.

Martial arts training

The practice of Qi Gong is an important component in both internal and external style Chinese martial arts. Focus on qi is considered to be a source of power as well as the foundation of the internal style of martial arts. Tai Chi, Xing Yi, and Baguazhang are representative of the types of Chinese martial arts that rely on the concept of qi as the foundation. Extraordinary feats of martial arts prowess, such as the ability to withstand heavy strikes and the ability to break hard objects are abilities attributed to Qi Gong training.

Qi Gong form - Five-animal play (Wu Qin Xi)

The five animals in the exercises are the tiger, deer, bear, monkey and crane. Each animal has two exercises corresponding to the five yin (Zang) and five yang (Fu) internal organs. Regular practise of this Qigong is said to improve functioning of liver/gall bladder (wood element - tiger), kidneys/bladder (water element - deer), spleen/stomach (earth element - bear), heart/small Intestine (fire element - monkey), and lung/large intestine (metal element - crane) respectively.

Qi Gong form - Muscle-tendon change classic (Yi Jin Jing)

Movements

This is a relatively intense form of exercise that aims at strengthening the muscles and tendons, so promoting strength and flexibility, speed and stamina, balance and coordination of the body. The basic purpose of Yi Jin Jing is to turn flaccid and frail sinews and tendons into strong and sturdy ones.

The movements of Yi Jin Jing are at once vigorous and gentle.Their performance calls for a unity of will and strength, i.e. using one's will to direct the exertion of muscular strength. It is coordinated with breathing. Better muscles and tendons means better health and shape, more resistance, flexibility, and endurance.

Better muscles and tendons

  • Active working gives back balance and strength to body and mind (brain, nervous system and spirit).
  • Breathing produces more and better refined Qi
  • Postures influence the static and nervous structure of the body
  • Stretching muscles and sinews affects organs, joints, meridians and Qi
  • Torsion affects metabolism and Jing production

Five rules of Yi Jin Jing

  • Extension: Each movement must be brought to the maximum.
  • Flexibility: Limbs and trunk must be extended so that blood and energy can circulate, so we have flexibility.
  • Pause: Efficacy comes through waiting and keeping tension for a longer time.
  • Quietness: Like lake water reflects the moon, a calm spirit allows energy to move inside the body.
  • Slowness: In order to use and flex muscles deeply, to get maximum extension and move Qi and Xue, slow movements are required.

Qi Gong form - Brain / marrow washing (Xi Sui Jing)

The main purposes of Xi Sui Jing training are to use the abundant Qi generated from Yi Jin Jing training to wash the marrow, to nourish the brain, and to fill up the Qi in the other six vessels.

Training goals

To keep the Qi at an abundant level and continue to build up the Qi to a higher level from other sources. An abundant Qi supply is the key to successful marrow washing and nourishing of the brain for raising the spirit. Experience has shown that the genitals can be an important source of extra Qi. Therefore, one of the main goals of Xi Sui Jing training is learning how to increase the production of sexual hormones and improving the efficiency of its conversion into Qi.

In order to keep an abundant supply of Qi, the Jing (Original Essence/hormones) must be conserved, protected, and firmed. Therefore, the second purpose of Xi Sui Jing is to regulate the usage of Original Essence.

Learning how to lead Qi to the marrow to keep the marrow fresh, and to lead Qi to the brain to raise up the spirit of vitality. Marrow is the factory which produces your red and white blood cells; when the marrow is fresh and clean the blood will be healthy. As this blood flows to every part of your body, it will slow down the degeneration of your cells. Practicing Xi Sui Jing can therefore slow down the ageing process. When the brain has plenty of Qi to nourish it, you are able to maintain the normal functioning of your brain and also raise up the spirit of vitality. When the spirit is raised, the Qi in the body can be governed effectively.

For a sincere Buddhist or Daoist monk, the final goal of Xi Sui Jing is reaching enlightenment or Buddhahood. For them, the training purposes listed above are considered temporary. They are only steps in the process of building up their spiritual baby (Ling Tai) and nurturing it until it is independent and has eternal life.

Physical and spiritual qualities

From this brief summary, it is clear that the Yi Jin Jing and Xi Sui Jing can change both your physical and spiritual qualities and lead you to a higher level of physical and spiritual life. But to understand exactly how these two Qigong exercises help you to reach these goals, you must have a profound understanding of the relationship between your Qi, your physical body, and your spiritual body. Only then will you be able to grasp the keys of the training.

The school teaches

  • Chen style Tai Chi Lao Jia Yi Lu 75
  • Chen Style Tai Chi Lao Jia Er Lu
  • Chen training form 21
  • Chen form 32 (Created by Wang Zhi Ping)
  • Chen sword and sabre forms
  • Internal Qi Gong exercises, Nei Gong, Shaolin Qi Gong exercises (physically demanding)
  • Qi Gong five-animal play (Wu Qin Xi)
  • Qi Gong Muscle-Tendon change classic (Yi Jin Jing)
  • Qi Gong Brain/marrow washing (Xi Sui Jing)
  • Simplified Yang Style 24
  • The 42 Style and 42 Style Sword
  • Two person pushing hands
  • Yang and Chen Basic Movements (Chan Si Gong)

Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi School

Objectives

Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi School aims to bring the amazing benefits of Tai Chi / Qi Gong and provide training for individuals and groups in ways that fit their needs and lives. With great pleasure we welcome Tai Chi and Qi Gong students of all levels from beginners with or without previous martial art experience to Yang style Tai Chi experts who want to move into Chen or those who need more time to develop and perfect their Chen and health Qi Gong.

Personalized training

The Wang Zhi Ping Tai Chi School offers a personalized instruction from insightful and patient teacher with years of teaching experience of people from different countries and continents in a quiet, peaceful and beautiful environment that provides enough personal space to relax and free your mind. You will have the opportunity to practice in open space without distractions, to calm your mind and energize your body.

To learn Tai Chi you will need patience, motivation, time, discipline and dedication to work hard towards your goals. You also need a level of physical health which allows Tai Chi to be practised without personal danger, but remember that all things are possible with time and effort. As a new student what you learn will depend on your own background and starting point. You may learn Yang style for the entire period of you stay or a combination of Yang, Chen and Qigong. Master Wang Zhi Ping will advise you where best to start.

Facilities

The Wang Zhi Ping Taiji Quan Health Centre was opened in March 2004 and is the first, and largest, facility in Yangshuo, China. The School site is more than 5000 sq.m of beautiful landscaped training grounds, with its tall bamboo sprays, singing birds, hovering old trees, fruit orchards, and large grassy areas.

The School includes a large main practise area with a Yin-Yang symbol in the centre and a very extensive covered practise area for all-weather training. As such, the staff is very comfortable and experienced with teaching and assisting students of all levels. Learning Tai Chi outside in a beautiful place is a great joy and an essential part of the learning experience as the natural energy and good air helps us to rediscover the natural self within us.

The Health Centre is located in one of the most beautiful Areas of Yangshuo town. It is just adjacent to Yangshuo Park and nestled between picturesque mountains and a mystical lotus lake, allowing for complete privacy and seclusion while still being a short walking distance to Yangshuo centre. The morning walk to the school is a daily pleasure.

Teaching philosophy

Master Wang Zhi Ping The Wang Zhi Ping Taiji Quan Health Centre aims to promote one of the greatest treasures of Chinese culture: the Tai Chi Martial Art. Wang Zhi Pings Tai Chi has a quality to it which emphasizes natural movement with the Qi and feeling. If you remain in a mainly conceptual state while performing the Tai Chi. His style of practice translates into his teaching philosophy which is a combination of guided training on a personal level with lots of practice work by the student and what he call natural movement and development.

He will use the words naturally and fang sung relax, more than any other and wants each student to find their own natural movement. This is the movement of a body undisturbed by the stressful presence of a thinking mind while still functioning at a high level engaged with the World. It also requires that the body be free of the weight from past stress and tension. Perhaps this can be called a Zen Mind or to be in the Tao.

This natural philosophy extends to his expectation of development, that the student will develop naturally, as they are ready and at times this doesnt mean when the students think they are ready. Patience is a virtue all things come in the right time. Movements which seem impossibly difficult at the wrong time, come without much effort when learning later with the body and mind ready.

Teaching style

The Schools teaching methodology is to teach small groups (two - six students) as much as possible, and sometime so a student will receive personal attention for a while then be given time to practise the moves and integrate them while other students are taught. Great emphasis is placed on the importance of practice and integration. This means that students are expected to diligently practise each bit of new teaching over and over again before moving on to the next movement, or exercise.

The teachers will supervise either intensively or from a distance, with intervention when the moves are done incorrectly. This allows maximum benefit to be taken from the teaching and time spent at the school. While the school aims to give students the maximum one two contact they can offer, this will depend on student numbers at the time. Obviously students attending during low seasons can expect more one two. Tai Chi is a perfection path and the journey is not easy.

Master Wang Zhi Ping an important aspect of the Schools teach health Qi Gong except style is its use both Yang style and Chen style Tai Chi. In essence this is a Chen school which uses the Yang Style and Health Qigong as a path to develop soft movement within the Chen Tai Chi. Most Western people are not relaxed enough in their bodies to easily achieve a state of Fang Sung while performing the Chen. We consider the Yang style and Qi Gong an efficient tool to achieve this rather than just practising short Chen Forms.

At the same time the school is a good place to develop the Yang Style and for many students this will be all that they require to take away and practice for the rest of their life, so gaining the health and lifestyle benefits of Tai Chi. Even the Yang Style cannot be performed softly in the beginning by most people, So the initital stages of practice are simply a matter of imitating the real movement of the teacher as well as possible.

The development of softness in the movement takes time and cannot be expected in the beginning. The school uses Internal Qi Gong exercises, both moving and still to awaken the studens Qi and cultivate it. How long this process takes is individual, but the necessary tools are offered and it remains for the student to put them into practice on a daily basis. Eventually the Tai Chi naturally starts to get softer as the Qi fills the movement and at this stage the Tai Chi itself cultivates and purifies the Qi.

The school places great emphasis on basic exercises or movements for the Yang and Chen Tai Chi. Qi Gong. Chan Si Gong / Silk Reeling and other exercises are practised on a daily basis, usually in the morning. Ba Duan Jin is taught along with a very intense internal exercises to open and strengthen the body and we offer tailored exercises for specific problems. Two person pushing hands is a good way to develop sensitive movement and is also taught when appropriate. Finally once a student or group of students have learnt a significant amount of a given form, then performance practice is done together, with one of the teacher leading.

  • Master Wang Zhi Ping

    Wang Zhi Ping is the principal of the school and a 20th generation Chen Tai Chi Master. He has been practicing Yang and Chen Style Tai Chi Chuan for the last twenty six years and has taught for most of those years as well. His practice is beautiful to watch and extremely inspirational. He fills his movements with what he calls an open heart yet is technically perfectionist with the form at the same time.

  • Chang Chang

    Chang is a resident teacher at the school. He is from Henan Province in China where Chen Tai Chi started and is from a Tai Chi family. Chang Chang started his Tai Chi training at the age of 8 and went on to study at a Chen Training School in Henan.

  • Chen He Chang

    Chen He Chang, is a 21st generation Chen practitioner, from the Henan province and studied Chen training school. He began his training at the age of 6. He is an amazing example of the power of real Tai Chi as despite not having the appearance at least of a strong muscular body, he moves with terrific strength.

  • Tian Gan

    Tian Gan is from Henan Province in China and studied Tai Chi at a Chen Training School in Henan from the age of 10. His Tai Chi is also beautiful to watch. Tian Gan is very interested in the martial side of Chen Tai Chi and this shows in his enthusiasm for demonstrating applications for the movements and in his martial precision while performing the Chen.

The Health Centre is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Yangshuo town. It is just adjacent to Yangshuo Park and nestled between picturesque mountains and a mystical lotus lake, allowing for complete privacy and seclusion while still being a short walking distance to Yangshuo centre. The morning walk to the school is a daily pleasure.

Yangshuo town

Yangshuo has always been an interesting town. Because of the beauty of its surrounding countryside, it found itself part of a fascinating Chinese experiment in early tourism and benefited from a relaxation of the control that existed elsewhere in China. The rest of China has taken almost twenty years to receive the same sense of freedom, but Yangshuo still has a different feel.

Most visitors to China feel more comfortable in the Yangshuo area than in any other region of China. The town itself has been tastefully developed to provide a more beautiful ambience than the early Communist grey buildings, blending the older wooden buildings with newer ones. The town is famous all over China for its West Street which has had shops and restaurants catering to Western tastes for thirty years.

Shopping has always been a major Yangshuo occupation for the foreign visitors and there is a very wide range of craft goods available here, mostly have made in ethnic minority villages in Guangxi and Guizhou Provinces. Yangshuo is attracting high quality artists to itself and there are now several galleries with high quality Chinese art for viewing and purchase along with other shops displaying Chinese silver work, silk weaving many other goods.

The countryside around Yangshuo

Most visitors to Yangshuo come to see the surrounding countryside. Yangshuo is situated next to the beautiful Li River (LIJiang) in the centre of the most stunning Karsk Limestone mountain area in China.

It really has to be seen to be believed, an artist or photographers paradise. If you climb one of the hills the mountains go on and on into the distance, but it is easy to reach exceptional places from Yangshuo either by taxi or by bicycle which are easily rented in Yangshuo town. Cycle trips out to Moon Hill are part of the Yangshuo experience.

The Dragon Bone Rice Terraces at Longsheng

Longsheng is a mountain area approximately 3 4 hours North of Yangshuo and is easily reached via tours from Yangshuo. Again this area is simply one of those amazing places on Earth. The local minority Zhaung and Yao tribes have carved the landscape here for over 800 years to make a subsistance living in this mountainous area. This is a great place to visit for a day or preferably a couply of days with time to walk among the hills and enjoy this quiet place.

The restaurants in Yangshuo are certainly different to the Chinese norm, though there are also many high quality traditional Chinese restaurants as well. Menus are in English and Chinese. Chinese dishes have been adapted to suit Western preferences. Western dishes and deserts are available everywhere and the bars and restaurants are fitted out to provide an ambience that is unusual still in China.

There has always been a wide variety of tea, coffee and alcohol available here to cater for Western tourists as well as breakfast favourites like orange juice, banana porridge, fried eggs and bacon and maple syrup pancakes etc. The quality of Western food is very high here with good steaks, oven made pizzas and tasty pasta dishes and there is a famous French restaurant Le Votre in the main square run by a Frenchman.

There are also high quality Chinese fish restaurants serving the local delicacy of river fish cooked in beer along with a host of other dishes. A real treat for special occasions. Finally, the town now has an amazing Chinese vegetarian restaurant which has really added to the diversity of choice available in the town. Complete with traditional style furnishings, its ideal for a unique dinner out. Ironically West Street has now become a genuine tourist attraction in its own right for Chinese tourists who come to savour the unique atmosphere here.

It has become famous all over China. Restaurants in Yangshuo provide a good quality, safe-to-eat for about 15 to 30 CNY per meal. Generally, it is also fairly safe to eat in places catering to local people or in the markets. These places are significantly cheaper and meals can be a low as 3 to 6 CNY for a meal of soup noodles or dumplings.

Activities

Bicycle tours: Mountain Biking is a major activity here obviou this scenery to explore. The Yangshuo countryside is a magnificent place to explore and many of the sites are just a few kilometres outside of the towns center. There are main roads to popular tourist attractions and there are small dirt roads to traverse in order to have a more scenic view of the rivers, quaint villages, and farm lands.

River excursions: There are plenty opportunities to take in the awesome stretches of unspoiled river vistas. You can take a bamboo raft ride down the Li Jiang as it snakes its way through the infinite karst hills and mountains. If you are looking for something more comfortable, there are large cruise boots that leave from Guilin or Yangdi that are three stories tall with viewing decks and that serve refreshments.The stretch of river between Yandi and Yangshou is reported to be the most picturesque.you will completely blown away by the beauty of the scenery on this stretch of the River. It truly is one of the special places on the planet.

Hot air balloon rides: The hot air ballooning is now available for those who want to see the Karsk landscape ,to view the scenery and vistas from the air, Yangshuo offers daily hot air balloon rides. Usually commencing at sunrise or sunset, that views are stunning.

Cave explorations: Caving is available in a tourist controlled way. Obviously with the limestone this area has some of the most spectacular caves in the world. For the moment these can only be visited through controlled cave experiences, though no doubt eventually caving will develop like the climbing. Visits to the Water cave or some of the dry caves form a part of most peoples visits to Yangshuo. With the plethora of limestone in the area, there is no shortage of spectacular caves. Some with very large underground formations of pools, rivers, and some even have therapeutic mud baths. Most of the caves must be explored with guided tours.

Rock climbing: Rock climbing though a relatively new sport in China, is a major scene in Yangshuo with all the limestone projections in the countryside, it is on natural the rock climbing would develop here. So of the unlimited number of quality faces to climb in the region. It is very popular and has become a little mecca for the sport, attracting world class climbers. Many international climbers stay here fro months. There are shops here to buy gear and climbing tours are offered for tourists. Therapeutic massage, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are available in the area at a high standard but reasonable price.

Village side trips

Fuli town: A popular excursion by bicycle or by boat, it is known for its production of Chinese fans and hand painted scrolls. Some of the artisans there are fourth and fifth generation in the tradition. Fuli has two faces, one old and one new. The old town is most charming with its century old stone dwellings winding back from the rivers edge, where you can peak in old store fronts and watch the handicrafts being made. The new Fuli is along side the main road and has a lively open market on select weekend days, selling everything from livestock to shoes.

Xing Ping town: A charming unspoiled village, whose port is along side the Li Jiang (River), and it is Xing Pings karst hill that are depicted on the back of the 20 CNY note. It is what Yangshou was twenty or thirty years ago.

For the more sedate

For the more sedate, Yangshuo offers Chinese cooking classes, Mandarin Language instruction, and Calligraphy classes.Caligraphy and Chinese painting is everywhere attracts many Chinese artists because of the scenery and unique atmosphere here, an to sell their work.

Therapeutic massage, Acupuncture, and Chinese herbal medicine are very popular and widely available, at a good quality, in Yangshou for a fraction of the cost in the West. but reasonable price.

Shopping is a favourite pass time in Yangshou, as there are flocks of shops selling everything from minority handicraft to name brand western clothing. Yangshuo attracts a fair number of artisans and there are now galleries for viewing and purchasing of some high quality Chinese art along with silver, jade, and silk goods.

Arrival by airplane

Hong Kong, Bangkok, Beijing and Shanghai are major travel hubs and can be reached from most International airports. From any of these destinations you can fly direct to Guilin, which is the nearest and biggest airport near Yangshuo.