Tai Chi or Chi Kung (What to choose!)
My advice to anyone looking to begin their 'Tai Chi Journey' would be to start with Chi Kung. If you have problems with posture, balance, breathing, body awareness or just have trouble remembering sequences then 5 Element Chi Kung is an excellent start to your training.
5 Element Chi Kung works on the principles and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine using static/moving postures, exercises and meditations to relax and open the muscles/joints to allow greater chi (energy) flow through the meridians.
The Wu Ji stance in particular quickly improves posture and body awareness and by coordinating movement with breathe you learn to move from the centre and breathe deeply thus improving balance and relaxation.
There are no long sequences to remember at beginner level therefore it is easier to prepare workouts for individual needs that can be practised at home.
Tai Chi uses much the same principles and concepts except that the sequences are long and some find them quite difficult to remember especially if there is a lack of body awareness. Tai Chi is much harder than it looks - yes, there are classes you can attend where you can just 'follow along' but at the Studio I like to see everyone learning and understanding the movements (Tai Chi is a martial art and a very effective self defence system).
We begin by learning a short form which takes about eight weeks to learn before moving on to the 108 step Yang form - we then move on to 'push hands', applications and sword forms and much more.
So, in short I would advise the total beginner to start with 5 Element Chi Kung classes before moving on to Tai Chi (many choose to stay with the Chi Kung!) - There are regular 4 week beginner classes as well as monthly workshops.