The town may be changed,
But the well cannot be changed.
It neither decreases nor increases.
They come and go and draw from the well.
If one gets down almost to the water
And the rope does not go all the way,
Or the jug breaks, it brings misfortune.

Every human being can draw in the course of his education from the in-exhaustible wellspring of the divine in man's nature. But here likewise two dangers threaten; a man may fail in his education to penetrate to the real roots of humanity and remain fixed in convention - a partial education of this sort is as bad as none - or he may suddenly collapse and neglect his self development.

I Ching - 48 The Well

Included on this page

Awareness, Balance, Strength

Breathe, Rejuvenate, Energize

Peace, Self-Cultivation, Longevity


Awareness, Strength, Stillness

Sustainable Return

A Note About Our Tai Chi Curriculum

With Elizabeth Wenscott the complete system of Tai Chi consists of many forms for martial and spiritual training.

The Chinese Taoist medical tradition holds that when the natural development of the human --- youth, adult, senior --- is matched with correct mental and physical practice, health and longevity are assured. Children need to play with large, expansive, expressive movements. At about the age of 18 people are ready to begin a lifelong study the subtleties of movement while maintaining their youthful high spirits into their middle years. By around the age of 60 youthful expression begins to fade and is replaced with the wisdom of internal practice.

Traditionally in Tai Chi, the highest martial arts, health, and life skills are commanded by senior practitioners --- women and men who are so agile, relaxed, strong, and wise as to be untouchable.


    4-Week Introductory Class in Tai Chi Form
    All students begin by taking an Introductory class, which meets once a week for a month (4 classes). Students will be introduced to the simple and profound fundamentals of the art, and to the friendly, energetic spirit of our community.

    In the course you will learn learn 8 postures out of the 64 postured Yang Style tai chi, as well as the basics of stance and alignment. You will explore how these affect comfort, motion, breathing, balance, relaxation and even the ability to use Tai Chi Chuan as a form of self defense.

    Introductory Class Times and Costs

    Ongoing Classes
    Students then may enter ongoing classes at a beginning level and continue learning the 64-posture Tai Chi Chuan form. All forms other than the 64-posture Tai Chi Chuan form are initially taught in special seminars. Weekly classes accommodate practice time for all forms, as well as time to have questions answered by Elizabeth. Weekly classes are structured as a pyramid in order to optimize your learning experience. The more advanced you become the more classes you are able to attend. It takes approximately 10-15 years to complete the entire Master of Tai Chi program with Elizabeth. However, great benefits of health and awareness can be had within two years. Advancement within the curriculum is based on: commitment, attendance, and individual and group readiness.

    This Tai Chi program does not have a belt system nor are tests given. Tests are only given to those who enter into the Teaching Program and want to become a Certified Instructor of Tai Chi Chuan or Certified Master of Tai Chi.

    The Ongoing Tai Chi Sequence
      Ongoing Level I
        In the Ongoing Beginning Level 1 classes you will learn the rest of the 64 Posture Yang Style form, created by Grandmaster Hsu Fun-yuen, while continually delving deeper into the relationship between mind and body, art and technique, health and martial application. In time, the health, internal strength and relaxation aspects that are gained in class will begin to become apparent in your everyday life.
      Tan Tui*
      Tui Shou - Beginning Push Hands

      Ongoing Level II
      Tai Chi Chien - Sword
      Tai Chi Guan - Staff
      Jen Shen Chuan*

      Ongoing Level III
      Tai Chi Dao - Knife
      Da Lu Chuan
      Hsing I Wu Ching Chuang -Hsing I Exercises
      Man Chiang Hung Chien - Sword*
      Nei Gong
      Tai Chi Chuan (37 Posture Yang Style, created by Professor Cheng Man-ching)

      Ongoing Level IV
      Two Person Tai Chi Staff
      Two Person Da Lu
      Wu Ching Lien Huan Chuan - Hsing I Form
      Tung Bei Chuan
      Yin Yang Chien - Sword

      Ongoing Level V
      San Shou Tu Ta Ko Shih Ming Cheng - Two Person Tai Chi Chuan
      San Tsai Chien - Sword
      Tai Chi Spear
    Ongoing Class Times and Costs


    Seminars are given several times a year. Seminars are an in-depth study of forms, weapons, or two person exercises. Seminars are an excellent way to teach you a new form in a short period of time. For those repeating previously offered seminars it allows you to concentrate on details to better your performance and understanding as well as supporting the first timers. Upcoming Seminars.

    Tai Chi Chuan Intensive
    This class focuses on the breath and will provide you with the opportunity to deepen your awareness of the internal energy that moves and grows within your physical body. Ongoing students are invited to attend at no additional fee. The hour includes the warm up exercises and execution of the form twice through without interruption. There will be no Q&A nor alignment corrections given for the intent of this class is to still the mind through breath. Click here for class time.

    Outdoor Tai Chi
    Outdoor Tai Chi practice will take place within the Northcenter Neighborhood. Hour long practice sessions will including warm-up exercises and a Yang style 64 postured Tai Chi form. Outdoor Tai Chi is - weather permitting - on select Saturday mornings. Click here for class time.

    Special Events
    This can be anything from a trip to China, to a tai chi demonstration amongst a field of vegetable at an organic farm open house, to a visit from a significant Master. Upcoming Special Events.
    Private and Semi Private Instruction
    An alternative way to learn at your own pace, or receive an in-depth evaluation of your development. Email info@taichicenter-chicago.com for private class rates.

    Health and Philosophy Study Group
    This group meets to read and discuss classics of Taoism, Chinese culture, Chinese medicine, and contemporary texts of Tai Chi philosophy. Topics include nurturing wellness and applying Tai Chi principles of relaxation, gentle attention and "going with the flow" in everyday life. Visit Seminars and Special Events for next Health and Philosophy activity.

    Teacher Training and Applications
    Part of a fully rounded Tai Chi life is teaching. In fact Elizabeth often states that the three activities necessary for superior Tai Chi skills are: studying with a qualified teacher, investigating the art on your own, and teaching --- even if it is simply helping a beginner find the training room or sharing a bit of useful Taoist wisdom with a friend. Elizabeth is the inheritor of a rich and marvelous treasure --- forms and wisdom passed to her by Hsu Fun-Yuen and which she is bound to pass along to future generations. Students who demonstrate the proper sincerity, non-agression and maturity --- and who put in the hard work to build their skills --- are able to attend the Teacher Training and Applications class. Teaching methods are imparted, as well as detailed explanation and practice of the higher level martial applications inherent in the forms. For more information contact Elizabeth at info@taichicenter-chicago.com



    Taoist Neigong sitting meditation has been practiced for thousands of years. Neigong translates as "inner work" or "inner cultivation" and is considered an important part of a Tai Chi person's complete practice. Meditators learn to generate, transform and circulate internal energy for the purpose of health and longevity by stilling, emptying and calming the mind.

    Long time Neigong practitioners are known to reach wonderful states of sublime tranquility. Of course this is not easy to accomplish! Beginners ---and even those who have sat for years --- will sometimes find it difficult to empty and still the mind. The Taoist attitude toward inner work is gentle, supportive and never far from a smile --- just keep going and good things will happen in good time. With patience and practice your personal journey is endless.

    Click here for more details.


    Wellness Qigong
    All Qigong and Tai Chi practice promotes wellness. In fact, health and longevity are traditionally considered the primary goals of these arts. Wellness Qigong is especially good for those who are looking to enhance their health and well-being but who don't want to commit to the long learning process that tai chi requires. Qigong has been proven to help people advance along the road of wellness from wherever their starting point happens to be. It can be a challenging practice for those who are healthy and fit. And it can also be adapted to accommodate students whose primary concern is wellness and who may have been advised by health providers to find a non-stressful, low-impact form of exercise, including those recovering from illness or injury who need special accommodations. (Be sure to ask your doctor to confirm your choice of Tai Chi or Qigong.)

    Visit www.qigongchicago.com for more details.


    Instructor Tracy Von Kaenel is a degreed dance and yoga instructor with over 20 years of teaching experience. Tracy received her Advanced Level II Certification for Yoga Instructors from the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago.

    She has been featured in Yoga Chicago Magazine with articles about both her adult classes and her children's classes. Tracy currently teaches at Galter Life Center, Sweet Peas Studio, Presbyterian Homes and the Tai Chi Center of Chicago, and formerly at Columbia College and Indiana University. She has given lecture demonstrations and master classes throughout Chicagoland and Northern Indiana including Northeastern Illinois University, Roosevelt University and Indiana University.

    As a dancer, Tracy brings a unique understanding of the human body and its connection to the mind and spirit into all of her classes. Her teaching style is gentle yet bringing appropriate challenge to each student. Her goal is to bring greater body awareness, a deepening of one's own spirit, and profound sense of relaxation to all her students.

    For more information on Tracy Vonkaenel and the Yoga Program or the Aerial Yoga Program, please visit www.yogachicago.us.

    THE TaijiFit™ PROGRAM

    What is TaijiFit™? Developed by David-Dorian Ross and endorsed by the Physical Education and Sports authority of China, TaijiFit is a mind/body "exercise" that combines the best of traditional Taiji with modern Western fitness. It's a class that's appropriate for any age or fitness level - and has you experiencing the FLOW of Taiji whether it's your first class or 100th. In fact, you can drop in or out of the class without ever getting lost. There are no routines to learn, or set choreography to remember. Instead, class members follow an instructor trained in a method known as "Qi Cueing" - designed to bring your muscular, cardiovascular and nervous systems into perfect synergy (along with your mind and Spirit). It finally makes Taijij accessible to everyone. (oh and by the way, it's a GREAT workout!)

    For more information on TaijiFit, visit www.taijifit.net and for more information on TaijiFit™ at the Tai Chi Center of Chicago please visit www.taichicenter-chicago.com/taijifit.html.


    Through action and awareness the Tai Chi Center of Chicago supports the return to a natural, sustainable lifestyle. Long may we practice Tai Chi!

    Sustainable Return is divided into four categories: Water, Air, Land, and Lifestyle. It has a dual function of increasing awareness and creating a format for student body at large to jointly volunteer for environmental causes in the name of the school.

    For more information on the Sustainable Return Program please visit www.sustainablereturn.org.

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