Azi School of Taiji
Azi School of Taiji began in 2012 in a small North London house with three friends and Master Yazi Liu. By pushing the furniture back to the walls, there was just enough room for practice. Several years down the line, and with many more students later, we now have regular weekly classes and a training hall in the heart of Kentish Town.
When you get inside Taiji,
it becomes very big!
The school was set up to teach Zhao Bao style taiji in a systematic and structured manner. Only by developing a strong foundation (Gong Li) can a student begin to grasp the complexities of taiji and apply it successfully.
When a student has grasped the first steps they are ready and able to move on to the next stage and in this way they are able to develop in their own pace. Master Yazi Liu believes that only when they have done this, are they then ready to progress to the next stage of their learning.
Classes start with a warm up which is designed to open the joints, this improves the flow of blood and Qi within the body. This is followed by Tao Lu, the Form, which everyone does together regardless of which stage they are at in their training. Following this, students are assigned different exercises and drills – for some it would be the learning of the form, for others it may be pushing hands (Tui Shou), other partner work or applications.
All classes are taught by Master Yazi Liu both as a group and on a one to one basis. In this way, everyone gets individual instruction as and where needed.
Students are varied, from the complete beginner to those already experienced in taiji or another martial art. Whatever their previous experience, there is always something to learn for everyone. Master Yazi Liu believes that the mixing of the levels provides for a mutually supporting environment – people come for one reason and often discover another!
The best way to find out is to come and experience it directly for yourself – beginners to experienced, all are welcome!
Master Yazi Liu, born in 1966, is from Xian Yang City/Xian China. He started his martial arts training at eight years of age, beginning with traditional Shao Lin Kung Fu, progressing to Western boxing and Chinese San Da, and finally to taiji when he was 15 years old. His reason for starting taiji resulted when a friend beat him in a challenge by only using taiji. Taken aback, as taiji was really only for “old people”, he went to meet his friend’s teacher (Shi Fu) and soon became his indoor student (Tu Di).
His teacher was Master Pei Guo Qing, a Zhao Bao lineage holder and Master who had himself been taught by Hou Chun Xiu (侯春秀, 1904-1985).
Hou Chun Xiu was from the town of Zhao Bao and was a famous exponent of Zhao Bao style Taiji with considerable influence over the on-going development of the style.
Master Yazi Liu was taught by both of them.
During his army service (five years), Master Yazi Liu was able to meet many other martial artists from all over China who served in his unit. His exposure to many other styles broadened his appreciation considerably, and in turn, as he was the only person in his unit to have trained in internal martial arts, his army colleagues soon realised that taiji had an equally lethal martial side.
In 1993 Master Yazi Liu received permission from Master Pei Guo Qing to teach Zhao Bao style Taiji Quan; he has taught various students for over 30 years from Xian Yang (China) to London, where he now lives full time.
Master Yazi Liu has an interest in Chen style taiji, which has some similarities to the Zhao Bao style taiji. As part of his on going research, and with the consent of his Master, Pei Guo Qing, he started to learn Chen style taiji in 2005 from Master Li Tian Xiang in China, subsequently gaining permission to teach it in 2013.
Master Yazi Liu is a charismatic, generous and forth-coming teacher who has a sincere desire to teach. He has dedicated his time and is committed to the study and continual development of Zhao Bao style taiji.
Zhao Bao Taiji originates from the town of Zhao Bao in Henan province, China. It is one of the oldest styles of traditional taiji but it is almost unknown here in the West. Training is centered around the practice of Tao Lu, “The Form”, which is mastered initially at a slow pace. As a student’s Tao Lu develops so the training begins to include the use of Fa Jin (explosive power); Push-hands exercises (with a partner) and study of how the Tao Lu translates into combat.