How many years have you been practicing Tai Chi?
I began in late 1980s and was attracted to the slow graceful movements and the leg strength needed to perform them correctly. On returning home, I found an instructor and wanted to learn quickly but it was not until I realised that learning Tai Chi is a long slow journey that I began to make some progress.
What stimulated your interest?
Various teachers, starting with Paul Chen (a great inspiration) and including Angus Clark whose relaxed and individual attitude to his practise and teaching influences me a great deal. At Tai Chi Caledonia, I met Faye Li Yip who impressed me greatly and now I also study with Deyin Institute teacher training in Qigong including travelling to China where the integration with Chinese practitioners, masters andlocalsintheparks,isalsoa very stimulating
What does TC mean to you?
Yang style forms that I practise and teach bring a strong sense of peaceful strength while integrating the intention and purpose that come with some knowledge of the basic martial art applications. Qigong exercises are a joy to perform and can be very strong and beneficial in increasing internal energy. I genuinely believe that regular practise influences and improves many aspects of physical and emotional health.
What is the most important aspect to you? In addition to the health, wellbeing and enjoyment of my own learning and practise, I get immense satisfaction from facilitating groups and introducing new comers to the many benefits of TCC. This is particularly so when I see students enjoying their sessions, and making great improvements to their own health and lifestyles.
Do you have any personal goals with TC?
The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know.What IwouldsayisthatIaimto continue travelling the taiji journey. I suppose my goal is for my health and energy to continue so that I can teach my great students and enjoy my own practise/instruction with masters and friends I meet at various TCC & Qigong events.
Who or what inspired you?
As well as my teachers I would say the U3A in Camberley who asked me to facilitate a small (!) group of students in some simple taichi/qigong. At that time I had not thought of teaching but decided if I could safely pass on some Yang form and simple qigong exercises it might work. It did. There were soon 2 large groups each week so I went on my first teacher training course with Dr Paul Lam for Tai Chi for Arthritis. Subsequently I have had great inspiration and encouragement from Faye and Tary Yip the various masters at Tai Chi Caledonia.
What do you make of tai chi‚’s current popularity?
A tricky question. I am delighted that so many people have the opportunity to learn the practises but I also feel strongly that the teaching of Taijiquan and Qigong needs to be to a standard that is approved or under the auspices of organisations such as the Tai Chi Union of GB.I know that this is difficult if not impossible to control and there are many excellent instructors with deep knowledge and experience who are not recognised by the Union or other organisations but still pass on their knowledge with care and expertise.
As a teacher how do you feel about the martial aspects of Tai Chi?
I think that understanding how tai chi works as a martial art and comprehending individual moves is essential to discovering why tai chi forms ask us to make the shapes we make.Do I needto use it as a martial art to validate my study of tai chi? That I‚’m not so sure.
What are your views on competitions?
I like the idea of competition because it allows players to discover whether what we think we know actually works. I haven‚’t yet taken part in any competition because it was never asked of me . Perhaps it‚’s something I still have to do.
What direction would you like to see TC take in the future?
I‚’d like Tai Chi to continue to be used by individuals to maintain their physical and mental health. I‚’d like all the different roots of tai chi to hold to their traditions and styles so that Tai Chi Chuan can still show its many faces in years to come and not be like our modern highstreets where all shops offer the same product. Everyone has different needs and ambitions for their tai chi journey and I‚’d like to see all options kept alive so that people can be fufilled.
Pam Ladd is based in Charmouth, West Dorset and can be contacted on 01297 560264 or at CHARMOUTH TAI CHI