Tai Chi and Qi Gong are art forms for lifelong practice. Much like music or painting, progress accumulates over time, often punctuated by leaps of awareness or shifts in feeling. Unlike other skills the focal point is the body itself, on which all other activities depend. In this sense it is a foundational practice that can only but enrich all other undertakings. Speaking personally, Tai Chi and Qi Gong have hugely enhanced my self-awareness and taught me the intimate connection between mind and body. Increased self-awareness allows me to better respond to physical, mental, and emotional stressors. Only through this awareness can I respond more freely to the world. It has also had a positive affect on my psychotherapy practice.
Jan’s dedication to understanding Tai Chi and Qi Gong is inspiring. He has a deep sense of what he is teaching. He will teach all he knows and will demonstrate in the most practical way. Jan’s classes are focused but light-hearted, offering a tranquil space to learn and explore the movements. I would highly recommend these classes to anyone looking to enhance their self-understanding.
I’ve been attending Jan’s classes in Tai Chi and Qi Gong for 13 years now.
In that time I’ve learned how to stand (on one legs as well as two!), breathe, squat, bend, lift my arms, turn, push and pull. These are all things you think you know how to do … until you find out you don’t. In class Jan gets the balance right between serious attention to detail, to learning, to continually evolving and improving, while at the same time having fun and really enjoying the experience.
Recently though, I was getting frustrated with myself as I felt I wasn’t making the progress I wanted. I approached Jan with the idea of doing a series of concentrated one-to-one lessons, once a week over the space of a few months. Jan concurred and we started working in some detail on the fundamental principles of the form. This has been a great experience. Concepts that I’ve heard Jan repeating over and over in class, at last, became tangible for me. They have started to become instinctual. My practice has moved forward substantially and I feel I’m beginning to imbibe the spirit of Tai Chi.
Based on my experience I can say that treating yourself to some intense Tai Chi sessions with Jan is an investment well worth making.
I have severe spinal osteoporosis; in addition, I had two years of severe upper back pain due to disc problems. Someone recommended Jan Golden for tai chi, and after a couple of sessions which concentrated on standing and posture, my upper back was (and remains) completely pain free.
Having continued classes for some months now, I notice a significant increase in strength in my feet and legs, as well as a huge improvement in balance. I feel stronger and more confident, and am less afraid of falling over. The changes in posture and emphasis on building strength have been very important for me.
Jan is an outstanding teacher and communicator, the classes are enjoyable, and the results have certainly exceeded my expectations.
Having turned Pro 2 years ago when I was 18 years old, I am now very happy to say that the work I’ve done with Jan Golden since I was an amateur golfer representing my province and my country is proving to be highly beneficial to my strength, fitness and overall good health on the professional golf circuit. Despite a heavy schedule of international travel, tournaments, practice and fitness work, I remain injury free and my suppleness and stamina are a huge asset. I attribute this in no small part to the instruction I receive from Jan in Qi Gong.
I achieve club speeds averaging over 120 mph, which has allowed me to average 325 yards in competition this year, some drives nearing 400 yards.
I look forward to continuing my excellent instruction with Jan for many years to come.
“I really enjoyed this quiet and still hour where I was listening to the guidance of Jan and some natural music from China.
It was a great experience of discovery for me. I work 40 hours a week in front of a computer and this body scanning experience felt almost like having a journey within my body and listen and feel what is happening and catch up. In the end, I felt more in tune with myself, relaxed and resilient. I hope I can manage to make it a part of my life.
Jan is a great teacher who is very supportive, informative and he has a great sense of humour. The studio is very comfortable with beautiful decorations. I recommend the workshops to everyone who wants to tune into themselves”
I’ve been practicing tai chi & qigong for about three years now. In that time I have had some profound changes in my overall feeling of wellbeing. I’ve become more aware of body, mind and emotions. I suffered with chronic back pain for many years and have seen a huge improvement since I began my practice. Jan is an amazing teacher, very easy to get along with, and has a great sense of humour. Tai chi/qigong is no longer a hobby for me, it is a life-long skill that I use on a daily basis. I couldn’t imagine my life without it now. Thank you Jan
What a fantastic opportunity this course was, and a very life-changing experience for me in a physical sense. After 6 months of neck pain and uncomfortable arm numbness at night, my problem was nearly (90%) fixed after the FIRST class! Completely sorted now over the following classes. I am forever grateful.
The setting couldn’t be much nicer! What a beautiful studio, spacious with calming lighting and broad leaved plants breathing nice energy into the room and all topped off with the patient, humour-filled teaching from Jan.
I highly recommend signing up with Tai Chi Ireland, each person deserves to experience this.
When one grows up, one tends to reach that point in life when there’s just not that much to discover anymore. Perhaps some new landscape in a faraway country that you haven’t visited yet. But when one is as reluctant of a tourist as I am, it is a great surprise to find something very different to the repetitiveness of the Everyday and to find it so close, in a studio tucked away just off Camden Street.
A Tai Chi studio where you can enter into the silent world, meet some trees and rest your eyes on the items of beauty. And in the silence, you can start meeting yourself again. Make fresh acquaintance with your breathing. Uncover new ways of flowing.
Jan imparts the secrets of the old movement art with the nobleness of a great teacher. Switching between the remarkable precision of a scientist when explaining the mechanics of the move and some readily available humour of an actor to help you memorise the sequence. And all the while you think you are merely improving your posture, you just may be improving your life.
Whatever emphasis you wish to bring forth in your experience, Jan will do his best to show you the possibilities, allowing you to embrace the one that works best for you. For the individuals that we are.
Even if you come with no evident health issue in the form of back pain or stiff joints (which tai chi can help significantly) you can discover that it can unblock whatever needs unblocking once you open that door, The body know what to do if you let it, whether through the soft but powerful moves or the standing practice. In my case, tai chi and its other half qi gong (“energy work”) played a major part in helping my period pains disappear. So much so that there has been no need for painkillers since. It’s great achievement, if I ever experienced one. Thank you, Jan
“I attended Jan’s Body Scan Meditation class and found the experience , venue and ambience extremely relaxing. Its like for the first time in many years I tuned in to my body and myself and actually paid attention. In today’s fast paced society where everybody is constantly rushing around, we are never taught to take a step back and really listen to and tune in to our bodies. So it was a good step back from reality and it helped that Jan is a good teacher.. I would definitely attend future classes”
“I have come to define my weekly Chi Gung class as my Serenity Hour. Simply because I emerge a calmer me. Restored.
Jan¹s classes are informative and educative all the while delivered with personality, integrity and speckles of his innate humour. So, what started out as ³something nice for me to do² has quickly evolved into an important part of my exercise regime and something I want to make time for.
I not only look forward to my weekly chill-out in the knowledge I’m giving my mind, body and soul some well-earned me-time, but also feel the benefits of this practice beyond the class.
‘Relax and Integrate’ is the mantra; life is always calmer after Chi Gung.”
“About three years ago, I had tremendous back problems. I lost hours of sleep during many nights from the pain around my upper back, neck and shoulders. I went to see some physiotherapists. After this, I was able to lie awake at night knowing the names of the muscles that felt like steel barbed wires inside me. I felt very enlightened by this, but still felt some other help was in order. I asked around everywhere I could. It turned out that I was far from alone, as the vast majority of people I spoke to complained of varying degrees of similar torture from their bodies. Only three of the people I spoke to (a friend from work, a family member and a guy from a meditation group) referred to their physical ailments in the past tense. These same three people also cited the name Jan Golden and Tai Chi Ireland to me. It seemed way too big a coincidence to pass up on that three different people from three completely different avenues of my life all sent me in the one direction. And so, I still remember the very peculiar feeling a couple of weeks later of walking home from my very first tai chi class feeling thoroughly melted and pain-free for the first time in years. I also remember the even more peculiar feeling of melting into my bed soon after and sleeping better than I had since the last time I needed massive doses of painkillers to achieve the same effect. And all we did in the class was learn a funny way of standing! Soon afterwards again I had mostly forgotten about all those back problems I used to have and was getting quite into the tai chi for all of the other great stuff it has to offer – which if you haven’t figured out by now you should go along and find out yourself what those things are for you. Sadly I can’t go to Jan’s classes anymore because I no longer live in Dublin, but (also sadly) his newsletters which I never unsubscribed to are possibly the most hilariously entertaining correspondence I get. Since I often get jealous at all the cool tai chi stuff that I don’t get to do, Jan’s suggestion in the last newsletter to make a testimonial sounded like a good way to at least encourage other people to do it, or at least say thanks. Thanks Jan. My story above is completely true. My back pain did still come and go and it remains a constant good effort to keep my body healthy and pain free (I think it’s called being alive), but I think your body really knows (and lets you know about it) when it comes across a good thing…and Tai Chi Ireland is the real deal”
Seventeen years of Tai Chi with Jan and Tai Chi Ireland
“I first took Tai Chi lessons with Jan Golden in spring of 1999, in Westwood Gym, we tore through the Wu style short form in an amazing six weeks and I loved it. What we were doing was so relaxing compared to the frantic activity on the exercise machines outside.
After that I didn’t do much Tai Chi for about a year, but then a friend mentioned that Jan was giving lessons close to where I lived. I joined the very next course. It was clear straight away that Jan had developed a new teaching style in the meantime, because he had broken down the form into sections and now taking four months instead of six weeks to go over the Wu short form, and he was teaching in more detail.
Jan has developed and progressively slowed down the pace of teaching and emphasises principles over memorising long sequences of moves. When he feels students have grasped the outline of the form he will often go back and give a greater grounding in the principles behind the particular posture or move, and has at different times tried to make us more aware of this by using posture corrections, static testing, standing, and cloud hands, and shown us push hands practice and some of the possible combat applications of many of the moves to convey the original intentions of the creator of that move.
Whenever he feels he has mastered a new technique of piece of Tai Chi lore he is very quick to pass it on to his students and he is never too proud to admit a mistake or to change a teaching practice when he discovers a correction or a better way of doing it. Also, he has shared with us his growing understanding of bio-mechanics and anatomy and how the different tai chi moves affect the structure of the body. The disadvantage of this is that when some of us learned the Wu Long Form, it took almost a year to reach the end of the sequence! Over the years he has introduced us to other tai chi forms, including two different variants of Yang style, and most recently a variant of Hun Yuan style.
As a ‘head person’ who enjoys working with the brain rather than the body, I knew I had developed the habit of ignoring problems with the body, and I hoped that Tai Chi would help me with this. At first, I was fascinated by the movements, and I enjoyed the intricacies that force you to pay attention and focus your mind on your practice.
However the physical benefits began to come after a few months. I found that my balance and posture improved as I paid more attention to the way I walked. Some people even commented that I seem taller. Also I became more aware of my breathing, and noticed that it I was naturally using slower and deeper breaths while doing Tai Chi and discovered that the same breathing techniques could help me relax outside my practice.
I am healthier because I do Tai Chi – this is not just because tai chi in itself is a healthy practice, although this is true, and if you don’t take care of yourself in any other way, just doing Tai Chi as a form of exercise will help to keep you healthy.
But for me, it is the unexpected lessons that I learn that are the most rewarding. I discovered how much we are distracted in our every-day lives and in Tai Chi you quickly learn that to get the best out of it you must use all your attention and be completely present in the moment.This made me more aware of my bad habits and their effects. If I didn’t get enough sleep because I drank too much coffee and stayed up too late, maybe I should try drinking less caffeine and getting to bed earlier. By being more conscious of such things, the overall quality of my life is improved.
And finally I discovered that you can use the will to relax – Tai Chi allows you to relax without really thinking about it consciously, but you can also come to a point where you can actually order a certain muscle or group of muscles to relax. I have not mastered this, but the fact that I can do it at all when I previously thought it was impossible is an indication that there may be further surprising rewards to be gained from continuing to improve my Tai Chi.”
“I suffer from a medically-managed chronic pain condition, debilitating when exacerbated by stress. Then I got a frozen shoulder, disabling pain. Jan’s classes have taught me how to relax and with his, and my chartered physio’s help, no surgical intervention, no more frozen shoulder, much fitter, slimmer, and a much happier outlook on life. My pain management specialist approves totally.”
“I’ve been attending Jan’s classes for over 3 years and definitely recommend Tai Chi Ireland to everyone. My back pain from sitting all day in front of a computer is completely gone and I feel much more aware of my own body.The classes are very friendly and Jan is a great teacher with a good sense of humour and loads of patience and dedication for his students.”
“From time to time I join my husband as pillion passenger on his motorbike. As it’s not a regular occurrence, very quickly my legs used to get really tired from being in the same position. I assumed this was normal but when we last travelled from Dublin to Cork I noticed a big difference. I was able to sit for much longer without needing a break. And all because I had started going to Tai Chi classes with Jan and had been practicing and my legs were much stronger. And the journey was much faster!”
“Since forcing myself into padmasana in Yoga before my hips were flexible enough I put a lot of strain on my knees and since then had problems with them that were gradually getting worse. It had got to the point where a couple of hours walking around town would start getting very painful. I also had a couple of episodes where something “went” in my knee causing excruciating pain. These problems started improving within a couple of weeks of starting Tai Chi with Jan Golden and within a few months they were gone and haven’t returned. I am still careful with my knees – but doing some of the stuff I do now as normal – low squats, sitting on my haunches, etc – were impossible before.”
“Chi Gung is an integral part of my week. I look forward to each class and always expect to feel recharged and great after every practice. I feel so lucky to have such a fantastic instructor on my doorstep. I see Chi Gung as an investment in my health and wealth as it allows me to work hard, stressful, long hours and still have a smile on my face.”
“Tai chi is a way of stepping back from the hassles of the day and removing myself to an area of inner peace. It’s seriously beneficial for stress relief and also for relieving back pain which I used to suffer a lot from and now don’t experience at all, thanks to Jan.
“I started Tai Chi in September 2008. It was recommended to me to help me concentrate, focus and increase body awareness. So, I gave it a try. I have to say I enjoy the sessions a lot. Jan Golden explains the moves very patiently and his respect for Tai Chi can be felt all through the session.Till now I only got a tiny glimpse of the benefits of Tai Chi. My posture has improved, I am more able to relax, my deeper muscles are becoming stronger and I met interesting people that like to improve their health and well-being in a relaxed atmosphere. Well, I just have to practice a bit more!”
“Jan’s Tai Chi classes are remarkable. Before starting, I had a vague idea of Tai Chi being ‘gentle’ and relaxing’ but didn’t expect the class would be so invigorating physically and mentally – or that I’d have so much fun into the bargain! Since I started in 2005, I’ve noticed a definite improvement in my co-ordination, posture, strength and ability to relax.”
“I first started doing Tai Chi two years ago. At that time, I suffered from some back pain which was one of the reasons I joined the class. Practising tai chi has strengthened my back and improved my posture. I rarely suffer from back discomfort now. The class is really enjoyable and fun. Jan is a great teacher, patient and attentive. Learning progresses at the students’ pace and it’s easy to follow.Tai Chi is very relaxing and you can do it anywhere.You don’t need to be fit or young. I would recommend Tai Chi to anyone who is interested in improving their physical or mental wellbeing or who just wants to learn something different.”
“Starting to learn Tai Chi (with Taichi Ireland) has proved to be a wise decision. I started to feel the benefits after only a few classes. I’ve become more relaxed and have more energy and a greater sense of well-being. The teacher, Jan Golden, makes things easy to follow with a patient attitude and a straightforward, down-to-earth approach. His enthusiasm for and knowledge of Tai Chi is obvious and this inspires you to discover more about this fascinating martial art.”
“After suffering from anxiety and panic attacks I found Tai Chi and Chi Gung the perfect antidote to the stressful, hectic life in which we live. Jan’s in-depth teaching and general insight to a more relaxed existence has been invaluable.”