What does AFC716 stand for?

    • The AFC part is short for Alternative Fitness Center. As most, if not all Western New Yorkers know, 716 is the local area code here. AFC716, therefore, stands for the Alternative Fitness Center of Western New York.

What is Tai Chi?

    • At it’s core Tai Chi is a Martial Art form. The health form, which is what most people think of when they hear of Tai Chi, is a low impact and slow moving exercise designed to restore the body’s energy. It is also considered a moving meditation incorporating the breath and mind. Tai Chi is a way of exercising the body, mind and spirit.

What does Tai Chi mean?

    • Officially “Tai Chi Chuan” is translated as “Grand Ultimate Fist”. Here “Chuan” means “Fist” and the phrase “Tai Chi” (Tai Ji) is “Grand Ultimate”.

What is Chi?

    • Chi is energy, the bodies energy, the minds energy. It can be considered spirit. It is said that it is what makes all life alive. It is our life’s essence. It’s in continual motion, like the blood flowing through our bodies, our Chi also constantly flows through our body. Chi cannot be seen, but can be felt. 

Does everyone have Chi?

    • Yes. Some people can feel it immediately. Others do not currently notice it, or feel it, but if they didn’t have Chi, they could not be alive. 

How does Tai Chi exercise the body, mind and spirit?

    • Essentially, the body, mind, and spirit all act in harmony with each other when we practice Tai Chi correctly. The body moves following the breath. The mind is focused on the breath and body moving in harmony. This brings us into mental focus. The Chi/Spirit drives all of the above. When our bodies become in harmony with our mind, and spirit, then we can start exercising this connection.

Are there different types of Tai Chi?

    • Yes, There are several styles of Tai Chi. The style we teach here at AFC716 is Shyun Style Tai Chi Chuan. Other styles are similar. Each uses the same basic moves, but in slightly different order, and each has distinct characteristics. For instance, Shyun Style is focused on your body being natural. Not too spread out, or too closed in, just right in the middle, naturally.

Who benefits from Tai Chi?

    • Essentially everyone can benefit, however, Tai Chi will bring a greater benefit to those looking for balance, those looking for a low impact exercise, and those looking to develop and train their internal energy, or Chi.

Is anyone too old for Tai Chi?

    • Absolutely not! Tai Chi is learned for various reasons, but if you want to learn it, then it’s right for you. If you are interested in it for some reason, then investigate that reason. Understand why you were interested; thats part of why we’re alive… To know ourselves. To date the oldest student we’ve had is currently 94 and still learning Tai Chi. I cannot state how happy it makes me to teach her.

Is Tai Chi about fighting?

    • While Tai Chi Chuan is at its root a martial art, what we learn is called the health form. It is a set or a series of movements put together in a fluid, dynamic way. One movement will flow right into the other almost as if there were no separation between them. This fluidity of Tai Chi is part of what makes it beneficial to us, part of what re-energizes us. This set is a single man set, which means it’s done by ourselves. Not for purposes of fighting, but for health and healing purposes.

What is Kung Fu?

    • Kung Fu is referred to any martial art created in China. These Chinese martial arts go back thousands of years. There are many styles some systems of Kung Fu. The system we teach here at this school is Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu.

What does Kung Fu mean?

    • “Kung Fu” means “practice to perfection”. Kung Fu invites you not only to practice the martial art to its perfection, but to learn about yourself and to practice that to perfection.

How does Kung Fu help me learn about myself?

    • Practicing a martial art to its perfection takes time… In that time spent the practitioner will see how we react to different circumstances (certain techniques that give us problems, certain techniques that just work). It is our responsibility to find out why one works well for us and the other doesn’t. What is it that we need to learn from each? What skills do we have that allow us to learn the one better, and the other not as well? It’s the questioning, the desire to know the answer that drives us… Don’t ever loose your will to know the truth of any situation.

Why choose Kung Fu?

    • Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu (the system we teach), is intact with respect to its self defense and fighting applications passed down over the centuries, and is complete with regard to the Ways of Martial Arts Healing. Generation to generation, the entire body of knowledge has been passed from master to most trusted student.

What is the difference between a style and a system?

    • A martial art system (such as Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu) is considered a martial art which contains a complete body of different techniques. A system is filled with every possibility. A style is an individuals chosen techniques, those that work best for them. This is a practitioners favorites from the complete body of different techniques.

Why choose a system over a style?

    • A system lets the student pick their own style from the complete selection of techniques. if a student learns someone else’s style, then they learn don’t have a free choice as to what to include in their style.

What is a soft system and a hard system?

    • Soft and hard are referring to how much physical effort is being used. A hard system is tight and tense, and a soft system is loose and fluid. Soft system rely on their internal energy more for power. Tai Chi is a soft system. Eight Step Preying Mantis is considered a soft system as well, but will use more physical exertion than Tai Chi will. It’s about 50-50 for Preying Mantis.

Is Kung Fu about fighting?

    • Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu system does train you to fight. It is not the goal however. This is also an art form that teaches things far beyond a fight. We’ve found the skills learned will help us defend ourselves, and see ways around fighting. See ways to solve conflicts without escalating it.

Is Eight Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu a self defense system?

    • Eight Step would be better considered a self defense system than a fighting system. We practitioners are not looking for a fight, we are looking for balance in ourselves and in the world. Self defense by physical force, is only used if necessary, and as a last resort. 

What’s the difference between Shifu and Sifu?

    • Essentially they are the same word, just in different dialects of The Chinese language. They are both translated as “Teacher”. In Shyun System 8 Step Preying Mantis Kung Fu, and Shyun Style Tai Chi Chuan the rank of Shifu is only given after a national test presided over by a board of other Shifu’s within the American Chinese Martial Arts Federation (ACMAF).

What is a Shifu Trainee?

    • A Shifu Trainee is in short a student of a Shifu, who is being trained to become a Shifu. The Shifu trainee is learning the Kung Fu and Tai Chi and is also learning how to teach them to others. You will commonly find Shifu trainee’s helping a Shifu teach their classes. At AFC716 we always have at least two teachers in each class. One always being a Shifu, and the others are typically Shifu trainees. We have found that everyone will express their understanding of these systems differently. A Shifu and a Shifu trainee will know the same thing, but can both explain it differently. Some people respond better to how the trainee teaches, over the Shifu. Having a Shifu trainee in class not only helps the student’s to learn the material well, it also helps the Shifu and the Shifu Trainee learn more about how to teach their students better.