Archive for the ‘Class News’ Category

Spring 2013 Experimental College Classes

April 7, 2013

Lots of great, new classes are being offered this quarter!

Here is the schedule:

Chen Style Taijiquan: Tuesday 9:00-10:15am & Saturday 8:45-10:00am

Beginning Taijiqan: Sunday 9:00-10:00am

Xingyi Level 1: Friday 7:30-8:30pm

Xingyi Level 2: Saturday 5-6pm

Baguazhang Level 1: Friday 8:30-9:30pm

Baguazhang Level 2: Saturday 6-7pm

Kung Fu Basics:  Wednesday 5:30-6:45pm (Free to students of all other classes)

For those that like spreadsheets:

Day/Time Mon. Tues. Wed. Thurs. Fri. Sat. Sun.
9:00 AM    Chen   Tai Chi  Chen   Tai Chi Tai Chi  beg.
10:00 AM
5:00 PM   Kung Fu Basics 5:30- 6:45pm Xingyi 2
6:00 PM Bagua 2
7:30 PM Xingyi 1
8:30 PM Bagua 2

For more registration information and course descriptions please see the experimental college website:

Please note that the online registration process is not always functional.  Please come to a class first if you are unable to register and we can help you.

For any questions you may contact Daniel Pfister at 530 574-3684 or e-mail

Instructor Shot

A Room With a Mirror

May 8, 2010

We have finally got our own indoor practice room reserved!  It should be quite comfortable, though I believe no dark soled shoes are allowed.  Please see the class info page for the updates to class times and location.

Lately, we have been practicing push hands, da lu, and parts of the solo form for about a third of the class respectively.   It is good to practice push hands and da lu since together they train the eight energies or methods of Taijiquan:  peng, lu, ji, an, cai, lieh, zhou, kao.

I have taken to calling the first four methods regular and the second four irregular or asymmetric.    Similar to regular warfare, where two armies of roughly equal strength face off and must maneuver to gain a tactical advantage, when doing peng, lu, ji, an (ward off, roll back, push, and press) the ability of you and your partner to shift weight, turn the waist, and use the strength of the legs should also be roughly equal given the fixed step position.  In this practice, peng or ward-off energy is always present and has enough power to at least intercept and divert any regular attack.

The energies of da lu I call irregular or asymmetric because the foot position does not allow the full power and turning ability of the waist and the legs.  As in asymmetric or guerrilla warfare,  less powerful attacks are used to disrupt the strength and cohesiveness of regular forces.  Da lu does those things by folding with the  elbow, disconnecting then striking, stepping in at an angle, and stepping back at an angle and pulling.  These methods are best used when your opponent has a strong forward root or structure which makes it difficult to attack directly.

Remember to use the mind and not force.  Do not struggle against a stronger opponent,  rather allow their force to tell you how best to apply your own strength in disrupting theirs.   Every point of skin contact contains large amounts of high-value intelligence data foreshadowing your opponent’s intentions.  Don’t  throw this data away and continue to move in a preconceived fashion.

Free Workshop Monday 9/21

September 19, 2009

I will be teaching a one-time free workshop covering the Taiji basics routine on Monday, September 21 at the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange.  The class will begin at 6pm and last about an hour.  Depending on the number of people in attendance, there may not be time to get through the full routine; however, the workshop is designed to give newcomers a taste of what the regular class is like and to increase enrollment. If the enrollment for the regular class increases to above ten, then I will extend the class time from one hour to an hour and a half or two hours with no additional tuition charge.

Do come by and please be ready for a leg-burning workout!   

Sunday Class Begins

August 22, 2009

We will have class this Sunday at 9am.   The focus of the class will be more on form corrections and push hands drills and less on teh basic routine taught during the week.  All are most welcome to attend.  Same location.

Class Update

August 16, 2009

We’ve starting meeting a bit earlier at 5:35pm on Mon, Tues, and Thurs.   I also would like to start a form class on the weekends for those that are interested.  This class would be somewhat less physically demanding than the routine practiced during the week, yet would still be a good workout.  We would first go through the sequence of the 37 posture form then focus on the specific dynamic or function of the individual moves.  If there is time we may practice some push hands exercises as well.

If anyone is interested please let me know your available times during the weekend, and I shall attempt to coordinate with other students.

Class time update

August 1, 2009

Beginning Monday, August 3rd classes will be held at 12:00 noon Monday through Thursday at the same Takoma Park location.  Our routine usually takes about an hour to complete and it has two definite parts.  Thus, if some students wanted to come for only the first or second parts of the routine on their lunch hour (12:00 – 12:30 or 12:30 1:00) this would be acceptable  Knowing the first part of the routine is not a prerequisite to learning the second.

Regarding class fees,

Monthly tuition: $100.  Weekly tuition: $25.  The per class drop in fee will be $10.

The first two classes are always free, and tuition reduction will be granted to those in financial difficulties.  Students wishing to do less than the four classes a week and still pay monthly should ask me about special rates.

When it rains . . .

July 25, 2009

If it is a rainy day the class will meet at the covered area of the Piney Branch Park  located on the hill behind the soccer field.  If another group is practicing in that area we will meet in front of the Takoma Park Community Center just outside of the computer center next to the park.

Group Class Begining

July 22, 2009

On Monday July 27th at 6pm, I will be leading the first of hopefully many weekly classes at the Takoma Piney Branch Park.   The class will consist of learning a basic routine designed to improve ones ability to manifest Taiji’s principles in their practice. The routine will be followed by some very focused and gentle push hands practice with an emphasis on mutual development of correct posture, sensitivity, and fluid responses.  While in the learning phase competition will be discouraged.

All styles of martial artists and those with no experience are all welcome to attend.  While input from other stylists and discussion of other methods will be very helpful to the class, this will not be an “open mat” forum where different push hands stylists come to test their methods against one another (there are several other venues in the area for that sort of comparison).  Rather, we will be focusing on one specific style of movement, so that students’ responses can eventually become intuition and fluid rather than route memorized.

Tuition will not be charged at this time.  As interest hopefully grows, I would seek to increase the number of group practice sessions to a minimum of three times per week.  Although we will only be doing one routine and possibly one form, the mechanics of it are quite complicated, yet the benefits of practicing this style will be noticed immediately.    Join us if you can.