WTCA Now Accepting Installment Plans to Help More People Enjoy Tai Chi

Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy strives to make Tai Chi and Qigong accessible to as many people as possible. While we always try to keep our fees as low as possible, in the current economic climate it can still be challenging for people to afford engaging in activities which are additional to their regular monthly expenses. To try and ease financial burden on people and continue to make Tai Chi affordable, WTCA is now able to take installment payments using Afterpay.

Afterpay offers the ability to split payments into 4 installments to make payments easier to manage. Payments are made via our secure Square site and details are provided upon request.

Afterpay may include its own fees or charges separate from your payment for using this service, and anyone using this service are advised to be sure they understand all the terms and conditions of Afterpay’s service prior to establishing a payment agreement with them.

Currently use of Afterpay is for class term fees, however WTCA plans to extend this to other services in due course. Information about our classes can be found here.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

The Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts has hosted a space for Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy to hold Tai Chi classes since 2020. This was our first official class in the Greater Milwaukee area, and we now hold Beginner and Intermediate classes at their facility.

WTCA is helping Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts celebrate their 20 years of making the arts accessible to the Greater Milwaukee community by holding two Come N Try Tai Chi for Free sessions during their Summer celebrations. These sessions will be held on Saturday mornings on June 25 and July 2 at from 8am. Following these sessions, attendees can continue the celebration with coffee and live music from 9am.

More information about the Come N Try Tai Chi sessions and our upcoming new Term of Tai Chi classes can be found on our website.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is pleased to announce we will be opening a new class in Cedarburg.

The new class will be held at Faith Lutheran Church on Tuesday mornings from 10-11am. Details can be found on our Classes page.

For a limited time new students who pre-register will be eligible to receive a $20.00 discount on their term fees! Register now to receive details of this offer.

The Cedarburg class represents our fifth class as we continue to grow and make Tai Chi available to as many people as possible. We look forward to welcoming new students to our Cedarburg class.


Want to know what Tai Chi is like? Come to one of our Come N Try Tai Chi events! We have events scheduled in Brookfield, Cedarburg and Glendale!

Can’t make it to any of our current locations? Let us know where you would like to see us start a new class.

Are you a community group or business that would like to offer Qigong to your members/community/employees? Check out our Corporate and Community Qigong program.


Tag: taiji

If there’s one thing I’ve often thought to myself in over 20 years of practicing Tai Chi, it’s: “why didn’t I start doing this 20 years earlier?”

The idea that Tai Chi is “just for old people” most likely evolved because it is often promoted as a safe, gentle and effective form of exercise, especially for those with age-related changes to their health: arthritis, impaired balance, decreased mobility; “old people”. While Tai Chi and Qigong have been proven to have great benefits and be effective for older people, the same can be said for people in all age groups. In fact, the benefits gained from practicing Tai Chi and Qigong from a younger age can help decrease the risk and/or severity of age-related health changes later in life.

Tai Chi is a martial art – taijiquan – and under proper instruction is as much a form of exercise as any other martial art. Though often (though not always) practiced slowly to focus on the internal aspects of the art, each form in Tai Chi still has self-defense application, and these can be applied to real-life encounters. Some styles of Tai Chi can be quite physically demanding; my Master often stated that traditionally instruction in certain Chen forms would not be commenced once a person reached middle age due to their physical demands.

Tai Chi and Qigong practice can offer people of all ages many benefits, including:

  • increased strength and flexibility;
  • improved balance, coordination, proprioception (awareness of body position) and spatial awareness (your body’s position in relation to your surroundings);
  • improved cardiopulmonary, neurological and immune system function;
  • enhanced mindfulness, attention, and concentration/focus;
  • encourages commitment, self-awareness and self-discipline.

We need to dispel the idea that Tai Chi is only for “old people” and therefore can or should only be practiced in the later stages of life. Tai Chi is not only suitable for people of all ages, it is one of the few forms of exercise that can be continuously practiced throughout the lifespan, and whose benefits later in life are only enhanced by commencing as early in life as possible.

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy welcomes people of all ages who want to learn Tai Chi and Qigong. Find a class or come and try session at a location near you.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy has been informed that The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School, in collaboration with the Motion Analysis Lab at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, is conducting a 12-week research study for older adults between 60-85 years old who have never tried Tai Chi before.

The study is being headed by Dr Peter Wayne, Director of The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, noted Tai Chi teacher and author of The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart and Sharp Mind.

The study is limited to 30 participants, and offers payment for participation. To be eligible to participate you must be:

  • between 60 and 85 years old;
  • able to walk for 15 minutes on your own;
  • use a smartphone or computer regularly; and
  • completely new to Tai Chi.

It will likely fill up quickly, so if you’re interested please contact contact Dan Litrownik at dlitrown@bwh.harvard.edu.

If you’re interested in trying Tai Chi for free however don’t necessarily want to be a research participant, check out our Events page for upcoming Come N Try Tai Chi sessions!

Disclaimer: Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is not affiliated with The Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital or any of their subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, or staff, nor have we received any compensation for promoting this project. We present this information because we are advocates of quality clinical research examining the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong practice.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy has just announced new Come N Try Tai Chi events for 2022!

Come N Try Tai Chi is a FREE one hour event that will give you an introduction to Tai Chi and Qigong. These events are open to the public – no prior experience necessary and open all age groups and abilities are welcome!

Summer events have been announced in Brookfield, Glendale and Cedarburg. Check out our Events page for more information.


Tag: taiji

Tai Chi and Qigong practice are well known for their health and wellness benefits, yet they can only be of benefit to people if people can access quality instruction.

Despite what we would like to believe, accessing health and wellness services is not the same for all. Race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic status and other factors contributing to the diversity of our communities can have a profound, and often negative, impact on a person’s ability to find or participate in quality health and wellness programs. Consequently, the health and wellbeing of these communities is often significantly impaired when compared to the broader, “mainstream”, community. Worse, there is a misconception that these communities “could participate if they want to” yet for some reason “choose not to”, and so are to blame for their own poor health. In a system where racism, discrimination, exclusionism, and physical and mental trauma is not only prevalent but in some instances normalized, it is unreasonable to expect that people from diverse backgrounds would feel safe enough to participate in settings where they are very much the minority.

Researchers have demonstrated that Tai Chi and Qigong can have significant health benefits to people from low-income and ethnically diverse populations (see references below) when factors such as accessibility, socialization, and appropriate instruction/teaching are accounted for. At Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy, we believe that Tai Chi and Qigong should be available and accessible to all, as outlined in our ‘Tai Chi for All’ Inclusion Policy. More than that, we want to ensure that the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong can be gained by all people who can benefit from them – that means everybody!

To that end, WTCA is actively seeking opportunities to bring Tai Chi and Qigong to diverse communities. At this time there are two main ways we are working to achieve this:

  1. we provide accessible, safe, friendly and welcoming class environments so people of all backgrounds can particiapte in learning Tai Chi and Qigong, and actively seek to achieve diversity amongst our student population. We want people of all cultures, races, ages, identities and abilities to join us and gain the physical, mental, emotional and social benefits of practicing Tai Chi and Qigong;
  2. we provide programs such as our Corporate and Community Qigong program to make Tai Chi and Qigong accessible to communities through existing groups and programs, and are actively seeking opportunities to work with diverse communities. Our aim is to reduce any barriers people may experience to attending a regular class by bringing Tai Chi and Qigong into communities in environments they feel are most appropriate for them.

More than that, we also call on other Tai Chi and Qigong instructors to actively work towards engaging diverse communities to participate in their classes and programs, by understanding and eliminating the barriers faced by these communities.

WTCA always welcomes suggestions on how we can provide more inclusive services and make Tai Chi and Qigong more accessible to more people. If you have an idea, or would like more information on attending one of our classes, or bringing Tai Chi and Qigong to your community, please contact us.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy’s second term of the year commences in the first week of April and there are now four class locations to choose from. Our original classes in Evansville and Brookfield are now joined by classes in Glendale and the Waukesha side of Brookfield.

WTCA welcomes all new students of all ages and abilities to Tai Chi. To find a class near you see our Classes section.


Tag: taiji

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy is pleased to announce our new partnership with Momentum Movement Clinic and will be commencing a new Tai Chi class at their premises in Brookfield, Wisconsin, in April 2022. WTCA’s Founder and Instructor Ray Gates said the partnership with Momentum is “a natural fit”, as Tai Chi and Qigong practice together with the therapies offered by Momentum’s Owner and Structural Integrationist Lisa McNeil and her staff would be “highly complementary to one another, and should provide people with maximal health and wellness, particularly with regards to healthy, functional movement.”

Momentum’s Lisa McNeil is excited with the partnership. “Tai Chi and Qigong blend specific movements designed to stretch, strengthen, and re-balance injured or painful body regions with focused breathing and enhanced body awareness combining common sense and intuitive body wisdom. Bringing this movement practice to the clinic is going to help clients reach their mobility and pain goals,” she said.

Classes will be held Thursday mornings from April 7. Further information and registration is available in our Classes section.


Tag: taiji

I’ve been involved in exercise of one form or another for most of my life, whether it was playing sports, weight training at the gym, martial arts training, or simply enjoying long walks and hikes. This became even more so as I became a physical therapist – exercise literally became the way I made my living.

One of the key principles of effective exercise is ensuring that you have effective strategies for recovery following exercise. Recovery is important because it is what helps the body make positive adaptations and thus gain the benefit from the exercise being performed. Without proper recovery, exercise may do more harm than good – this is why many sports and high level exercise programs have ‘rest’ days to allow the body to adapt and heal following exercise. If you’ve engaged in any sort of sport and exercise you’re probably familiar with stretching after exercise to avoid injury, though exercise science research continues to argue whether stretching is effective for recovery. Elite level athletes often use ‘cross-training’ activities – that is activities and exercises not necessarily related to their actual sport – as a form of recovery from their regular training, and the research has demonstrated that this has benefits to their overall performance and ability to improve.

Tai Chi and Qigong are both well known for their wide range of benefits as forms of exercise. Clinical research is increasingly demonstrating evidence that Tai Chi and Qigong are useful adjuncts to other forms of exercise in maximizing the overall effects and outcomes of exercise or rehabilitation programs. Most research tends to take place in health-compromised populations, for example, those with specific illness or conditions (eg: Parkinson’s Disease, cancer, etc.), those with recent trauma or injury (eg: after stroke, heart attack, etc.) and those who are at risk of decline as a part of the aging process. Yet there hasn’t been a lot of investigation on Tai Chi and Qigong in already healthy/fit populations, nor does there appear to be any research looking at the benefits Tai Chi and Qigong could have in post-exercise recovery. Given the multitude of benefits already demonstrated by Tai Chi and Qigong in terms of gains in strength, flexibility, balance, and mental and emotional wellbeing, it seems reasonable to expect that Tai Chi and Qigong would be very effective in facilitating post-exercise recovery. I started to look into this with my own exercise, and my experience tells me we need to be examining this more closely.

My Experience with Tai Chi and Qigong Following Exercise

I first started weight training when I was about 15 years old and have engaged in this kind of training on and off ever since, including now. As such, I’m very familiar with the soreness and fatigue that comes from a good weights session, and the importance of allowing adequate recovery time to avoid injury and facilitate adaptive changes in the body.

About 10 years ago I had the opportunity to recommence a gym program focused on both building strength and weight reduction after a considerable time away from this type of exercise. My program consisted both anaerobic (mostly free weights training) and aerobic (treadmill, cross-trainer/elliptical or rowing machine) exercises. When I committed to starting the program I knew I would be starting from a low level and it would take time to build up to where I had previously been, and I knew what I was in for, especially in those early weeks! The difference this time, though was that I planned to practice my Tai Chi and Qigong sets after I exercised.

At the time my only intention for including Tai Chi and Qigong practice was to spend more practicing these sets by taking opportunity of the time I was setting aside for exercise. I had not considered that there could be any sort of specific benefit to practicing my Tai Chi and Qigong after exercise beyond ensuring that I was getting my practice in!

My experience was almost immediate, to the point where it took me a little while to make any sort of connection. The first week of starting my program, I noticed that I was not experiencing the level of soreness or fatigue I was expecting from the gym sessions. This is not to say I didn’t experience any, just not anywhere near what I expected. I put this down to the idea that I was “easing back into it” and not working out as hard as I potentially could. I felt this was a reasonable approach, though I was keen to make gains, and so from the second week on I started to challenge myself.

As the weeks went on though, I realized that I was making gains – in terms of increased strength (increasing the resistance of my exercises) and stamina (increasing the time spent on aerobic exercises) at a faster rate than I had ever previously achieved. More than that, rather than feel fatigued at the end of an exercise session, I felt energized and the soreness I experienced was minimal. I started to wonder if my Tai Chi and Qigong could explain what was happening, so I tried a little experiment. For one week, I continued with my gym program but did not practice my Tai Chi and Qigong afterwards – though I did continue to practice them at my regular classes twice a week.

Again, the effect was almost instantaneous. After the second session of the week I felt more sore and more fatigued. Not only that, but I felt ‘stiff’ and ‘tight’, like I needed a good stretch. I particularly found my aerobic components became more laborious and harder to maintain at the level I had been doing. By midway through the week I was so convinced I wanted to restart my Tai Chi and Qigong practice just so I wouldn’t feel this way after a workout, however I persisted with abstaining from it for the week in an attempt to try and confirm (at least to myself) what was happening.

When I restarted my Tai Chi and Qigong practice after exercising the following week, everything went back to the way it was: less soreness, less tiredness, and feeling ‘good’ after each session. To me there seemed to be a clear link between the two.

I must admit this is by no means any sort of proof that Tai Chi and Qigong can assist with post-exercise recovery – at best it’s anecdotal evidence – but as a physical therapist and a student of exercise science, I believe it’s enough to warrant further investigation through clinical research.

Possible Explanations for How Tai Chi and Qigong Facilitate Post-Exercise Recovery

Assuming the benefits I experienced are a result of including Tai Chi and Qigong practice following exercise, what could the possible explanation be? The immediate consideration relates to the flow of qi in the body, and way that Tai Chi and Qigong improve qi flow, and the subsequent benefits this has on one’s health. However, Western science still struggles with the concept of qi, and though evidence is growing in support of biofield medicine (a term used to explain the effects of energies known as qi, prana, mana, etc.), at this time it’s likely that any clinical research will want a more ‘physiological’ explanation in order to validate any evidence that becomes apparent through studies. In my own consideration of this, I would suggest Tai Chi and Qigong practice post-exercise could influence the following mechanisms:

  • improved clearance of waste metabolites formed during exercise;
  • enhanced circulation and efficiency of the cardiovascular system;
  • improved action and efficiency of the immune system;
  • enhanced restoration of a normal/resting physiological state (heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, etc.) post-exercise; and/or
  • enhanced restoration of psychological/emotional state post-exercise.

This is by no means an exhaustive list, however I feel it is a reasonable starting place for clinical research and one that would be relatively easy for experienced researchers in exercise and sports sciences to develop studies for.

A Call for Further Research

With the increasing evidence of the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong across the health and wellness spectrum, as well as their relative ease of application (no need for costly or special equipment, for example), it only makes sense to investigate the potential practices could have on enhancing the effects of exercise. If it can be demonstrated that Tai Chi and Qigong can enhance post-exercise recovery, and this in turn enhances ability for people to participate in exercise programs, imagine the potential this has for exercise in all settings: from school-based sports and athletics programs, to rehabilitation programs, to elite level athletic performance. Tai Chi and Qigong could be a game changer in a very literal sense.

Wisconsin Tai Chi Academy, and our Instructor Ray Gates, welcomes the opportunity to partner with and assist any researchers wanting to investigate the effects and benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong, whether related to post-exercise recovery or otherwise. If you have a study or project you would like our involvement with, please use this link to Contact Us.