How many years have you been practicing Tai Chi?
Just over five years, last two and a half studying Chen Style.
What stimulated your interest in Tai Chi?
tai Chi was a missing link, a connection with the surrounding world, with my own body and mind, with people and nature. once tried tai chi resonated with me straight away and it was impossible not to use this instrument of discovery.
What does Tai Chi mean to you?
tai Chi is freedom. When your joints open up, the body softens and takes on the qualities of water. When the mind quietens down, filled with tranquillity and the spirit soars with the birds. Can you then tell yourself apart from the droplets of rain carried by the wind or the breathing ocean waves? What is the most important aspect for you? the Chinese say that you cannot ‚’store‚’ your kung fu for tomorrow. if today you haven‚’t practiced you not only lose your skills, but also drop ten days in your development. the feeling of Tai Chi, being like a fire which needs constant attention, keeps you awake. one has to work to maintain the flame. A perfect reminder how ephemeral everything is and how nothing can be taken for granted.
Do you have any personal goals in Tai Chi?
It‚’s fulfilling to work in the local community, like cultivating your own garden. With time a well established Chen Style tai Chi school with a variety of subjects and a clear progression path will be my offering. Travelling and meeting new players attracts me as one of the ways of learning tai Chi. the most important personal aim is to let go of the idea of a ‚’goal‚’ altogether and concentrate on unhurried daily practice.
Who or what inspired you?
nature is such a source of inspiration! You learn so much by practicing in various locations throughout the year. the way autumn winds carry the leaves, cormorants dry their wings, dropping the shoulders, fish jumping out of the water defying gravity ‚’ all blends in with your form, taking you on a journey, treasure hunting for more tai chi secrets. Fellow players inspire me with their enthusiasm and the experiences they bring to tai Chi, be it Indian dancing, surfing or music. But, by far the greatest driving force is my Shifu, whose skill, dedication and passion for the art are overwhelming.Master Wang Hai Jun is incredibly generous with his energy and knowledge and tireless at passing the skill onto his pupils.
What do you make of Tai Chi Chuan‚’s current popularity?
it‚’s inspiring, if tai Chi‚’s popularity comes supported by dedication and commitment to practice, all the better.
As a teacher, how do you feel about the martial aspects of Tai Chi?
Martial application is the original and ultimate goal of training. On the different steps to this level we find such benefits as relaxation, feeling good, health and fitness. No matter what the level is the martial aspect shapes, directs, inspires and adds beauty to everyday training.
What are your views on competition?
Competition, amongst other things can inspire you to practice harder and is a way of learning about yourself and the world. it should, however be set up professionally with a fair mindset, employing good standards.
What direction would you like to see Tai Chi going in the future?
in spite of current popularity of the art, there are still many who are not aware of what tai Chi is. It would be beneficial to see this gap filled. Then Tai Chi can be used more effectively to help maintain the health of the population.If Tai Chi can be actively taught to children in schools it would keep the art vibrant and prevent many future problems.
Anna Dashwood is based in East Kent and can be contacted on 01304 205405 or by email