Frequently asked questions

Q: I thought your practice Tai chi? From your website it looks like you practice martial arts. 

A: We train taijiquan (tai chi) according to the Yang family writings and lineage.  Taijiquan is a martial art which, when practiced correctly, also has substantial health benefits.  If practiced with proper martial intent, the health benefits can be far greater than when practiced with no martial emphasis.  Our beginner’s classes emphasize strengthening and loosening the body in order to be able to practice correctly before any serious martial emphasis.  For more information on the curriculum, visit the Curriculum Page.  


Q:  Who runs Great River Taoist Center?

A: Scott M. Rodell is the Director of Great River Taoist Center and founder of the school.  His biography can be read here.


Q:  How does payment work? 

A:  You can pay on-line (see here), or at the Center.  We accept cash, check, and credit card.  Students pay tuition month-to-month.  Students may also pay for individual classes.  Rates are on the GRTC square payment web page, accessible from the GRTC homepage.  You can also call 703-846-8222 or e-mail smrodell@grtc.org with any questions. 


Q: How is Great River different than a gym or other martial arts schools? 

A: It is important to know that we have operated as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization since our inception in 1984.  The emphasis at GRTC is strictly on training and transmitting the Yang family taijiquan lineage.   Students pay class dues on a monthly basis based on level of classes, which are split into beginner, intermediate, and advanced levels (see Curriculum Page).   Senior students also donate a substantial amount of time to assist in teaching and managing the Center.


Q: How long do beginner’s classes last? What will I learn?

A: Approximately one year.  The first six weeks are discounted and include a Great River t-shirt.  After that, payment is by the month.   You will learn Yang Style ‘Short’ form as well as Yang Style basic exercises for strengthening and loosening the body.  We emphasize proper body mechanics, principles according to the Yang family tradition, as well as the basic movements that make up the form.   You can attend Mondays, Wednesday or both days at 6:40pm (see Curriculum Page for more information).


Q: How should I prepare for my first day of class?

A: Wear comfortable, loose clothes.  Come early and stretch. 


Q: Do I need to be in good, physical shape to start at GRTC

A: You can start at GRTC in any shape.  To practice correctly a substantial amount of flexibility, strength, and balance is required.  From the first day of classes, students are provided with methods from the Yang family tradition to help build their strength and flexibility.