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Cascades Blog: Tai chi for everyone, in Sterling

Whether you consider yourself an out-of-shape individual in need of a body tune-up, an experienced athlete interested in expanding your training program, or somewhere in between the two, Jeremy Brown’s got your back.

Brown, who holds a black belt in tai chi, is teaching a free tai chi class every Saturday morning in November—even on Thanksgiving weekend—at Beyond Strength Performance NOVA, a gym based in Sterling since 2011.

“I want anyone who’s even thought about taking tai chi to come out and try it,” Brown said, noting that he’s taught people who haven’t exercised in 40 years and gym regulars in the same class at the same time—and each had an inspiring and encouraging tai chi session.

“The trick is just being able to adapt the movements to how their bodies work,” Brown said.

The slow and deliberate low-impact movements of tai chi, suitable for students and practitioners of all ages, help reduce stress and anxiety and increase flexibility and balance, according to the Mayo Clinic. Students are often surprised to learn that their peaceful class teaches them moves that originated as a martial art used for self-defense.

Brown, who also holds a black belt in kung fu, trained at the Chinese Martial Arts Institute in Merrifield, where he studied competition forms, the traditional Yang and Chen styles of tai chi (named after the families that created them) and other aspects of the martial arts. At the institute, which was located in Merrifield for nearly 30 years, students had access to instructors who came from China specifically to teach at the school. The teachers included a member of the Beijing wu shu team and a former member of the Nepal wu shu team.

Brown’s training also includes attendance at seminars taught by tai chi grand masters and members of the Chen family.

The tai chi instructor has a clear goal for his class.

“My long-term goal is to have a consistent group of people who come in, have a good time, a good workout, laugh, and improve their lives on a [regular] basis,” Brown said.

The free one-hour tai chi classes take place on Saturdays in November and begin at 11 a.m. Dress in loose-fitting clothing and thin-soled shoes. Sneakers are acceptable footwear.

Beyond Strength Performance NOVA is located at 21620 Ridgetop Circle. Class registration is available online at https://beyondstrengthperformancenova.fullslate.com/services/570/. For information, email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 703-444-0662.

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