How many years have you been practicing Tai Chi?
Just about 17 years now. I set a very high standard for myself and was not prepared to think about teaching until I had practiced Tai Chi for some 16 years. Others begin teaching much sooner. I am not saying that is necessarily wrong, as it depends on various circumstances.
What stimulated your interest?
The all round nature of Tai Chi appealed to me: exercise, flexibility, mobility, posture, balance, relaxation, philosophy, self defence. The diversity of types of people attending class was also an inspiration
What does Tai Chi Chuan mean to you?
It is a way of keeping fit. Nothing else will maintain aerobic fitness, flexibility, co-ordination and balance as well as reducing stress and maintaining mental focus. Other forms of exercise address one thing or the other. Although, I think it can be good to combine Tai Chi with other more vigorous exercise.
What is the most important aspect for you?
Keeping fit and healthy is the most important. From there, everything else flows.
Do you have any personal goals in Tai Chi?
I constantly seek to use what ever is around to improve and understand my Tai Chi practice. Teachers, DVDs, books, TCUGB mag are all good sources. I am teaching in the West Norfolk area and look to attract and help people to benefit from Tai Chi.
Who or what inspired you?
I have a Chinese video of people doing Tai Chi Forms. I watched this very early on in my learning and just wanted to be able to learn this for myself. There is a quality in Tai Chi movement that is hard to put into words. The slow, fluid, relaxed movements were so precise and yet appeared to be effortless when performed by the Master. Then to realise that these gentle movements were the basis for a very effective martial art was truly fascinating. I think that Tai Chi is unique and very special. So seeing others do the Forms has been the main inspiration for me.
What do you make of Tai Chi Chuans current popularity?
Is it to do with Calendar Girls?
As a Teacher, how do you feel about the Martial Aspect of Tai Chi?
Well, we are more likely to die from a heart attack than a knife attack. As far as the Martial aspect is concerned, I think that personal protection is more important than competition, but that health and fitness should be the main focus. I am a Martial Arts fanatic and have trained for many years in what may be called external methods, such as, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and Street Self Defence. As well as in Tai Chi Chuan.
What are Your Views on Competition?
It is an opportunity to test oneself. So I would see a competition, in say Push Hands, as an opportunity to train rather than win.
What Direction Would You Like To See Tai Chi Chuan Going in the Future?
I think different people will take Tai Chi Chuan in different directions. This creates a diversity that we can all plug into. Someone out there may be doing something entirely different to me and perhaps I will learn from them. I do not think that diversity is new to Tai Chi ‚’ just look at the numerous family variations and many forms of Tai Chi and other internal arts.
For myself, I want to take a modern approach. So I translate Tai Chi thinking into the modern drive for people to exercise and protect their circulatory system from heart attack and stroke. I continue to take an interest in other Martial Arts.
Eventually, I find, everything I do intertwines and that the modern and traditional can coincide. I hope I can bring something unique. I would like to see diversity in Tai Chi rather than a funnelled movement in a particular direction.