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166 Swashbucklers


Member of the
United States
Traditional Fencing

Group classes and private instruction held in Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, & Brandon.


Mississippi Academy of Arms
Tai Chi for Health & Relaxation

Headmaster Rez Johnson and several of his Tai Chi students

"In martial arts, as in life, the real winner is not the person who defeats another human opponent, but rather the person who defeats his own inadequacies, who develops self-discipline and self-control over his own thoughts, tongue, attitude, and actions. Who aspires to continually improve himself to become a better martial artist, and more importantly a better person, by developing the traditional Christian virtues and character traits of honesty, integrity, courtesy, reliability, loyalty, patience, perseverance and genteel manners. Who chooses to live his life, in all he does, both public and private, honorably in accordance with this code of conduct. This is the true meaning of The Code of Honor. Without this code of honor a martial art is reduced to a mere sport with no inherent life-changing values to contribute. The Code of Honor is considered paramount in the USTFA and at the Mississippi Academy of Arms." Rez Johnson

Mississippi Academy of Arms Headmaster, Rez Johnson, has been practicing Tai Chi Chuan since 1989 and teaching it in Mississippi since 1992

Rez's Tai Chi class meets every Tuesday at 5:00 pm.

Since Rez is a Christian he does NOT believe in or practice the Taoist religion. Therefore he has omitted all of the Taoist philosophical and spiritual aspects which are taught by many Tai Chi instructors. Eastern philosophy, religion and mysticism are unnecessary in the study, understanding and practice of Tai Chi Chuan, because all of the benefits of Tai Chi practice and how they are derived have been fully explained by Western medical science.

For these reasons the focus of Rez’s Tai Chi for Health and Relaxation classes is on the immense physical, mental, and emotional health benefits one receives from practicing the Tai Chi short and long forms on a daily basis. Later on, as student’s progress, the self-defense aspects of Tai Chi are introduced to those who are interested in them.

It has been said that “Nothing under heaven is more pliable than water. But when amassed there is nothing on Earth that can withstand its force. (Think Hurricane Katrina) That the soft overcomes the hard and the yielding conquers the ridged is a fact known to all men, yet utilized by none.” Tai Chi Chuan applies this power of fluidity to benefit of man in the areas of health, fitness, relaxation and self-defense.

"Tai Chi Chuan is the classic Chinese exercise for health and self-defense. Graceful in movement, slow in tempo, relaxed and fluid in beautiful natural postures, Tai Chi is meditation in movement. Practiced throughout the world for its many great health benefits. For many centuries Western visitors to China have been intrigued at seeing Chinese of all ages engaged in this slow, apparently effortless, calm and beautiful exercise.

Emphasizing relaxation, breath control, visual and mental concentration and slow balanced movement Tai Chi Chuan imparts great health benefits; improved posture, circulation, metabolism and neural-muscular functioning as well as accelerated healing of disease. The often amazing results of proper practice suggest that in some way not yet fully known to Western science Tai Chi can indeed relieve many chronic aliments and impart longevity. The Chinese say that those who practice Tai Chi will achieve the pliability of a child, the vitality of a lumberjack, and the wisdom of a sage.

The corner stone of Tai Chi practice is the performance of the solo exercise, or what Tai Chi players simply refer to as The Form. Form practice is but the tip of the iceberg in the study of Tai Chi Chuan. Beyond Form practice there is Tai Chi sparing practice called Push Hands, which imparts benefits beyond good health, notably the mastery of a practical and noble method of self-defense. Masters of the art explain that we practice the form to know ourselves and then practice push hands to know how to interact with others.

Tai Chi movement is rooted in the ground, accelerated by the legs, controlled by the waist, conducted along the spine and into the arms and manifested through the fingers. This type of fluid synchronization is described as "moving like a string of pearls". The integration of mind and body which comes from diligent practice eventually leads to deeper self-understanding and a greater awareness of life."

The Tuesday Tai Chi class is FREE to any parent who has a child taking classes at the Academy.

The Yang Style Short Form consists of a series of 49 flowing postures or movements which are linked together to form one long movement. Each week we will focus on learning one new posture/movement and link it to the previous week’s posture. After all of the 49 postures have been learned the life long focus is on perfecting one’s performance of each posture and on smoothing out the transition between the postures so that they all blend into one movement.

In its entirety the Short Form takes less than 15 minutes to perform, yet when done on a daily basis one instantly realizes that this single exercise imparts immense physical, mental, and emotional benefits. Some of the benefits Rez has personally received from Tai Chi practice are; Relaxation, Relief from Daily Tension & Stress, Improved Blood Circulation, Relief from Knee Pain, Strengthening of the Ligaments in the Knees, Relief from Lower Back Pain, Increased Leg Strength, Improved Balance, Improved Posture, Improved Concentration and Patience.

After one has learned the Short Form they may wish to learn the 109 posture Long Form which incorporates all of the postures found in the Short Form and adds several new ones. The Long Form takes less than 25 minutes to perform and imparts the same benefits as the short form. It burns additional calories and takes the Tai Chi practitioner to a higher level of fitness, making it the practical next step for those who’s bodies have become accustomed to the short form.

Tai Chi Chuan is a classic Chinese exercise which promotes strength, balance, flexibility, relaxation and longevity. Because of Tai Chi's slow fluid movements it is often referred to as meditation in motion. Modern science and medicine are finally corroborating and validating the truth about the benefits of Tai Chi on health and healing.

Several other pluses about using Tai Chi as your daily form of exercise are:

1. Tai Chi does NOT require the purchase of exercise equipment, special shoes, or special clothing. All you need is your own body.

2. Tai Chi does NOT require an exercise partner or a membership in a fitness club or gym. Once it has been learned you don’t even need to keep taking a Tai Chi class (unless you want the social benefit and/or the continued guidance of an instructor) because it can be done alone anywhere, indoors or outdoors using minimal space.

3. Tai Chi requires minimal time to perform. Once learned it takes only 13 - 15 minutes to perform the Short Form and only 18 - 25 minutes to perform the Long Form.

Tai Chi can be done alone or with friends, anywhere in the world, indoors or outdoors, without any special equipment or clothing, using a minimum of space, and a minimum of time, yet it gives it’s practitioners a vigorous daily exercise routine which imparts many medically proven physical, mental, and emotional health benefits. These facts make it a perfect daily exercise routine.

There are eight Essential Principles in Tai Chi which are responsible for its health promoting capabilities. They are:

1. Deep Rhythmic Breathing

2. Rooting with the Earth (Balance and Structural Sensitivity)

3. Complete Relaxation (of the mind and body)

4. Slowly Transferring Body Weight from One Leg to the Other

5. Turning at the Waist (driving all movement with the hips)

6. Keeping the Back Straight (Postural Stability)

7. Relaxed Wrists (assists in relaxing the entire body)

8. Total Body Synchronization ("Moving like a string of pearls" Moving all parts of the body as one)

In class we go into more depth about the importance of each of these principles as we apply them to the Short Form.

Class participants receive a detailed hand out covering Tai Chi history, medically proven benefits of practicing Tai Chi, the Eight Essential Principals which should be applied throughout one’s practice of the Tai Chi Form, and a Posture Check List which students can use to mark their progress in learning the 49 postures of the Short Form, the the 109 postures of the Long Form, and Push Hands.

At this time we are not requiring students to wear the traditional Tai Chi/ Kung Fu outfit and shoes; however if a student feels it will enhance his or her experience they may do so if they desire. It is important for all Tai Chi students to wear comfortable, loose fitting clothing, such as warm-ups or sweat pants, t-shirts, and tennis/running shoes. Do not wear jeans or tight fitting clothing because it will restrict your movement. Fencers may wear their fencing knickers or epee pants and a t-shirt if they wish.

While most people perform Tai Chi alone at home as their daily exercise routine, many people also like to perform it once a week or at least once a month in the traditional Chinese way, in a group setting outdoors at a local park. Saturday or Sunday mornings or evenings are great times for this. This getting together outdoors with others to simultaneously perform it really adds a lot to the experience. Once enough students have progressed through most of the short form postures the Academy will begin hosting several morning or evening park sessions a year. However, to truly obtain the benefits of Tai Chi one must also continue to practice it no less than four days a week and preferably six days a week, with one day in seven for the body to rest.





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