German Tai Chi Forum - About us
Study of the new forum center
The German Tai Chi Forum
The German Tai Chi Forum was founded in 1992 by Volker Jung and Vera Leibold with the aim of teaching, first in Germany and later throughout Europe, a highly efficient Tai Chi in the spirit of the old traditions.
We have personal experience of the therapeutic effects of the ancient internal arts of Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Taoist meditation, so that we can pass on this knowledge to those interested in a highly authentic way. These arts belong to an eastern cultural heritage which is worth preserving and which is lacking in western society. They might offer western people much-needed solutions to some of their pressing medical and spiritual problems.
We place great emphasis on the functionality of each individual technique in terms of energetic and static principles. At the same time, our style of teaching makes optimum use of western didactic methods. The subject matter is conveyed with great rapidity in a way more suited to people who have been brought up in the West. Our aim is to teach the time-honoured and well-tested techniques, training methods and wisdom of the great Tai Chi masters, as far as we understand them, and at the same time to offer teaching methods and theoretical explanatory models acceptable to westerners. Some traditional masters often display an aversion to theoretical explanatory models and they are often disinclined to answer our questions. On the basis of his longstanding and comprehensive experience of the Asian internal martial, moving and healing arts, Volker Jung has developed a
"Standardised teaching and instruction method"
which is employed in the same way in all the Forum’s schools in Germany and the neighbouring countries. This standard attempts to do justice to all aspects of Tai Chi in a balanced and consistent way. The aim of the Forum is to produce a large number of highly-qualified Tai Chi teachers who will, in turn, teach the Tai Chi Forum‘s standardised system in their own schools. One of the advantages of this is that anyone moving to an area where there is one of the Forum’s schools will be able to continue studying without interruption. The Forum idea has been well-received by our student teachers. In mid 2005 we had over 100 teachers undergoing basic and advanced training and demand for our courses is continually rising.2006 started a new Qi Gong class, in september 2009 we will start with th 14th Tai Chi class.
"In the long run, it’s quality that counts" - this is our motto.
The Standardised Instruction System
Having evolved over many years, this system of instruction has been put through rigorous, real-life testing for over 19 years now in the Wiesbaden School of Tai Chi (one of the oldest and largest Tai Chi schools in Germany). It has proven extremely effective in all respects and is suitable for everyone. In the meantime, 40 to 50 of our trained instructors are successfully employing the system in their own schools. Some have even doubled their student numbers, although they had been teaching for years previously. We already have instructors active in France and Austria.
Special Features of the Standardised Instruction System
Unlike other systems of instruction, ours aims to make the basic energetic and mental principles available to students right from the word go, so that they can experience them for themselves. If required, we will also give the beginner a basic overall view of the complete system of instruction. We aren’t afraid to come forward with important and essential exercises: we are willing and able, at any time, to adjust to the particular stage of development of a student. This means that the student can always see what he/she has already learned and what is still to be learned from a fully functioning, complete system. Our system has at its disposal all the steps (personally known to Master Volker Jung) of an authentic instruction system of the old masters. Anyone prepared to practise hard and long, will, by using our system, gradually learn the legendary powers of the old masters, step by step.
Advantages of the Standardised Instruction System
Using German thoroughness and western scientific understanding, wie have gathered together and evaluated the enormous amount of material on the various exercises of all these masters and teachers and then put them to the test in an everyday, teaching situation. Only the most effective and pleasing among thousands of exercises have stood the test of time. This can save you years of potentially fruitless experimentation with ineffective methods and exercises, as well as time and large amounts of money for travel, accomodation, food and seminar fees. In 37 years Volker Jung has undergone a hard apprenticeship the world over, paying, sometimes dearly, for his trouble.
All 5 Instruction elements of the standardised system (preparatory exercises, standing meditation, quiet standing Qi Gong, form training and energetic closing exercises) are intercompatible and intercombinable, following the same energetic and philosophic principles of energetic Taoism. Time and again, new students are astounded by the clarity and efficiency of our method of teaching. Only when something has been truly understood can it also be internalised and is thus available when needed.
Internal Compatability of the Standardised Instruction System
All the individual components of our standardised Tai Chi instruction system, such as preparatory exercises, standing meditation, quiet standing Qi Gong, form training, partner exercises and weapon forms, stem from the same basic energetic, mental and philosophical principles and are thus compatible and mutually complementary. In numerous experiments, using a system of trial and error, the basic energetic principles have been worked out and applied to each individual form movement. Thanks to this extensive testing experience and its inclusion in the Standardised Instruction System, we can claim to have created one of today’s best and most comprehensive instruction systems – a system which enables the student to determine, in advance, his own progress over many years. (Where do I want to be in three or five years‘ time? What do I need to do or practise to achieve this? How much time and energy are necessary?). Our didactic principles match the system exactly and so students can determine their own rate of progress and learning intensity.
We have years of experience in the training of advanced students (since 1997), from basic level teacher through all five levels and countless detailed intermediate-stage seminars covering at present around 250 different areas, each of which could fill at least a whole weekend. The five levels are:
- Basic Level
- Intermediate Level 1
- Intermediate Level 2
- Advanced Level
- Master’s Level
Courses covering each of these levels are available at regular intervals. As we can only offer approx. 40 weekend courses per annum at the present time, it may happen that some of the subject matter can only be taught once every 3 – 5 years. Please take this into account when putting together your individual curriculum! When a very high level course is offered, it is advisable for all those contemplating taking such a course in the next 5 – 10 years to secure a place, as they may have to wait up to five years for a similar course. We’re not trying to be difficult – we honestly don’t know how we can offer such a huge amount of material more often. In addition, such advanced knowledge requires students with certain basic abilities to be able to understand it and put it into action.
Each year we offer several special introductory courses on very high-level topics, providing a first, brief overview of the subject in question. Most of this subject matter, however, can only be correctly digested and physically implemented after several years of very intensive practice. Nevertheless, participation in these courses can still be very useful for gaining a better mental understanding of what to expect in the future, irrespective of one’s current level of training.
General goals of the Tai Chi Forum
- The training of highly qualified teachers of Tai Chi in training courses of many years‘ duration with steadily increasing levels of difficulty. Our aim is life-long learning! In classical terms this means about 30 years. In 2005 I will have been learning for 37 years and I still learn lots of new things every year.
- To build a network of as many Forum schools as possible in Germany and other European countries. These schools to be a guarantee of the highest quality Tai Chi instruction..
- Planning and realization of common Forum activities, such as World Tai Chi Days, larger public demonstrations , television appearances, media activities, joint advertising projects on the Internet and in other media.
- Utilization of Volker Jung’s Standardised Tai Chi Instruction System as a working basis in all the present and future Forum schools, both in Germany and abroad.
- To Inform and educate the general public, both about reliable providers, as well as about frauds and disreputable providers, by offering fundamental, important information to help people make their own judgements on styles, systems, teachers and schools.
- Provision of teaching and study aids such as educational posters, textbooks, CDs, cassettes, DVDs and video cassettes.
- Organisation and realization, by the Forum headquarters, of Tai Chi trips abroad to attractive atmospheric locations (Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Hungary, China).
- Production and marketing of a uniform clothing line for all Forum members: sweatshirts, T-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, trousers and Tai Chi outfits. Possibly also special shoes
- To establish the Forum on the Tai Chi market (as a market leader).
All the Forum‘s activities and efforts should have the aim of providing long-term benefit for as many people as possible. Everyone must make a demonstrable personal gain from the joint activities. No-one should be short-term orientated, neither students nor teachers: on the contrary, their planning and actions should be far-sighted. Students and young teachers should be able to trust implicitly the know-how of active teachers with years of experience and follow their advice and instructions. A serious teacher will always strive to provide the best possible training for his students.
Perseverance, patience and a little humility – a quality sadly lacking in today’s society – are the qualities necessary for this long path of inner and outer personal development.
Activities and Public Relations
The Forum has already presented itself to the public on several occasions, including major trade fairs and Tai Chi demonstrations. For many years we took part in the Mainufer Festival in Frankfurt and were also present at the 5th Wiesbaden Health Convention.
Tai Chi Days
With the help of a large number of teachers and students we played a leading role in the first two World Tai Chi Days in Wiesbaden (1999 + 2000). On the third World Tai Chi Day in April 2001 our demonstrations of and explanatory talks on Tai Chi and Qi Gong aroused great interest. We had around 200 spectators and 50 participants.
In 2002 and 2003 many of our Forum teachers actively supported the World Tai Chi Days with free Tai Chi demonstrations in parks and public places, explanatory talks on specific aspects of Tai Chi and various join-in activities in their home towns. Over the coming years many more of our teachers will be supporting us on this world-wide day of action. We are eager to promote the spread of high-quality Tai Chi instruction and this day is a great way to get into the public eye. On this occasion we can reach people who would perhaps otherwise never dream of enrolling for a course. Over the past years our Forum teachers have regularly offered free events and training on these days in a large number of towns and we shall certainly see more of our schools playing an increasingly active role in the future.
In 2005 we had the world Tai Chi Day in front of our new Forum Headquarters for the first time, as part of a course for advanced teachers. Public interest was not particularly great, but this is something which can certainly be improved upon given more preparation time.
Television Appearances between 1994 and 2000
Between 1994 and 2000 Volker Jung and Vera Leibold made a total of 8 TV appearances. They took part in health-biased programmes on the 2nd and 3rd German TV channels. Master-instructor Volker Jung hasn’t had the time for TV appearances in the last four years, but Kai Schoppe, his successor at the Wiesbaden school has already represented the Forum in 2 TV programmes. In addition, Volker Jung has been interviewed on health matters on several radio shows.
The Tai Chi Forum also organizes numerous master classes with world-class Chinese Tai Chi masters, most of whom live in the USA. Amongst other things, in the years 1994, 1995 and 1996 we have held 3 international Tai Chi and Liu He Ba Fa camps on the Loreley Rock, led by Tai Chi Master Huang, Wei Lun, who is highly revered in the USA. The Chen style Master George Xu (Guoming) has also visited the Wiesbaden school more than 10 times for the further instruction of Volker Jung and Vera Leibold. On these occasions there were also classes for teachers and students. In 1998 in Bogel we played host to the then 72 year old Grand Master Ye Xiao Long and George Xu for an intensive course covering several days. In 1999 and 2000 we were visited by George Xu and Grand Master Wang Hao Da for private instruction. In November 2002 our activities led to a first, three week long visit to Germany by Master Sha Jun Jie and his wife as official representatives of the Sha family. This family has a wealth of forms in 4 Chinese internal martial arts styles at its disposal. Further invitations are planned.
For the Spring of 2004 we had planned a first trip to Kunming for a training camp for those interested in all the internal martial arts. Several hours of specialized training at the school of the Sha family were planned. To round off the experience, we wanted to offer a touristic highlight: a trip to the North of Yunnan Province to visit the truly enchanting landscape and the still intact old cities of Dali, Lijiang and Shangrila. We also intended a trip to the 5,600 metre high Jade Dragon Snow Mountain (which can only be climbed to a height of 4,680 metres without equipment) and to one of the deepest gorges in the world, with a depth of breathtaking 3,900 metres and enclosed by two mountains of over 5000 metres. Even the old cities are at altitudes of 2000 and 2800 metres above sea level. The one-hour flight from Kunming to Lijiang was included in the price of the package.
Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen purchase of the new Forum headquarters in St. Goarshausen, we had to cancel this trip.
In the Autumn of 2004 the young Master couple Sha Jun Jie and Li Bin returned to Germany for a visit of several weeks‘ duration. They took numerous classes on the subjects of Tai Chi Duillian (partner forms), Xingyi individual technique and form training, Bagua – the 4 basic forms with the option of partner exercises, and for the first time, the first basic techniques and the first fast form of Tongbei.
Tai Chi Camps
Up to the year 2000 our Tai Chi and Qi Gong intensive courses were held in the town of Kleinwallstadt, near Aschaffenburg. If there is sufficient interest we could repeat these courses at other locations in Germany in the future. These camps provide those of you who haven’t done so up to now with the opportunity of getting to know us and our method close up. All our students from far and wide find the intensive courses extremely helpful and many of them look forward each year to devoting themselves to their hobbies Tai Chi, Qi Gong and taoist meditation in a stress-free environment.
A feature of these intensive courses is their modular structure in which an intensive study programme of several hours‘ duration can be put together, for the most part, by the students themselves. Each student decides how much, what and in which combination he/she wishes to learn in any given day. The relatively low cost is another attractive feature of these courses.
This year (2005) we have already hosted the 1st International San Shou Convention from May 12th – 15th, and from June 18th – 22nd the course Meditation and Hiking in the beautiful countryside of the Upper Middle Rhine Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Here at our new location we intend to offer a comprehensive range of courses which is second to none, in one of Germany‘s largest training centres. Both the above mentioned courses will be offered at least once annually from now on.
Tai Chi Forum on the Internet
We were one of the first major German Tai Chi organisations to have its own public internet domain advertising not only our own Forum schools, but also other Tai Chi teacher friends of ours, together with their institutes and schools. We have been on the web since May 1997 at www.tai-chi.de . Here we provide you with a wealth of information. Our site is regularly updated. We look forward to receiving your feedback with regard to the appearance, design and informative value of our website.
The Forum is also involved in the production of high quality teaching aids. So far the Forum has published Tai Chi educational posters of the long Yang Form showing Form parts 1 and 2. These are already employed in a large number of German Tai Chi schools. In August 1998 we published a poster on Form part 3. Furthermore, we are working on a comprehensive text book on our standardised instruction system. In its present, unfinished form it already fills over 600 pages. We also plan to produce a video library as well as interactive DVDs.
In March 2003 we produced our first video entitled "The Internal Martial Arts". This presents a sensational overview of six of China’s internal martial arts. It shows 12 complete unarmed forms as well as 7 weapons forms all recorded live during a stage show featuring the Master couple Sha Junjie and Li Bin from Kunming in November 2002 in Montabaur.
The Forum’s Teacher Training Programme
At the present time, the German Tai Chi Forum is concerned mainly with the training of instructors who, if successful, are awarded the title: "Forum Tai Chi Teacher". This is the first instructor accreditation within the Tai Chi Forum. At present there are over 100 teachers participating in training and further education courses. There is continual and growing interest in our high-quality training courses, so that we are planning to increase their number in 2006.