Taiji Clothes – The Do’s and Don’ts of what to wear in class.
In most classes Taiji Clothes are very informal and understated, so as to fit in with the traditional ethos of the Chinese Medicine theory.
The taiji clothes that you should wear should be roomy which allow you to move comfortably and freely. There are more formal Taiji clothes options, but to begin with keep it simple.
When you first begin your class it is advisable to wear track suit bottoms with a loose sweat or polo shirt (blue or black). The colours should not be loud or garish but dark, which fits in with the Taoist philosophy of never being too flashy and being at one with the universe.
In more traditional classes more formal clothing, is only worn by the teachers. White uniform is normally worn by the Sifu or Master teacher, which is traditional in china. It is an insult for a student to wear white uniform clothing.
The foot wear should be flat-soled with plenty of room for your feet. Too tight fitting shoes will prove uncomfortable and cause long term foot problems. There are specialist shoes that can be worn in class that can give you maximum comfort. Never train in bare feet as this is not only a health and safety issue but in traditional Chinese Medicine it is thought that a lot of heat can be lost through the hands and feet. This can contribute to health problems. Flat shoes are also better for grip, thus aiding 9 point contact of the feet. In Tai Chi Chaun developing a strong root is paramount to good practice.
In the same way that wearing a school uniform helps to better a school and keep the students the same, simple Taiji clothes help with focus and gives the class a united front. You are there to learn an art form, not to be in a fashion parade. In the modern times fashion has sometimes exceeds what should be about plain common sense.
Instructors usually wear Taiji clothes which are a black uniform made up of cotton or silk. The trousers or pants are gathered around the ankle; as are the tops which are gathered at the sleeves. The tops are of mandarin design with cross over buttons down and a collar. This gives a unique traditional flavour to the class.
In a modern society with all its pressures on fashion, being modest can only be perceived as a good thing for developing a strong character. So be selective about the Taiji clothes that you wear in class and be part of the Taoist way of life.
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