How many years have you been practicing Tai Chi? I began practicing Tai Chi in 1977 so I guess that means 26 years! I founded The Rising Dragon Tai Chi School in 1979.
What stimulated your interest? I saw a friend of mine playing the form and I was struck dumb by its beauty, grace and ‘other worldliness’. I was very unhappy at the time and new that I needed help of some sort. So when I asked him what he was doing and learnt that it was Tai Chi Chuan, I thought I would give it a go. I quickly realized that if I didn’t give it 100% how would I know if it would help me? So I decided to give Tai Chi 100% for 10 weeks and if it did not help me, I would stop and seek something else. Well as you can see I am still exploring and it is still helping
What does Tai Chi mean to you? Tai Chi Chuan means everything to me. It is a wonderful way to move – it is a disco with only one record that I move ecstatically to each time! It keeps me healthy and flexible by showing me the mind of resistance, which when released allows that part of the body, where the mind of resistance was stored, to be completely free. It is a gentle way to learn to deal with any kind of threat because it shows me where I am in the way. It is a perfect mirror. It is a true spiritual path as it gracefully and sometimes fiercely, allows me to understand the meaning of non-action and how Richard Farmer can live rather than survive this life.
What is the most important aspect for you? The understanding of non action and the ability to rest in the centre of action
Do you have any personal goals in Tai Chi? To become totally natural
Who or what inspired you? Dr Chi Chiang Tao. Dr Chi was a personal student of Cheng Man Ching for many many years and I believe vice president of the Taiwan Tai Chi Chuan association as well as one of its senior instructors. He was very good. When he pushed me it was like being lifted by the wind. When I went to approach him all I felt was air. One of his favorite things was when you went to push him in double push hands, he would suddenly be behind you! He would get between my intention to push and the action so fast that I could not see him move. However after a personal meeting with Jesus in a dream, he gave up official Tai Chi in favor of a spiritual life. Some time later, he did begin teaching again but mostly on a one to one basis and then only through recommendations from people close to him. I was fortunate to have spent some time with him. I asked him to teach me spiritual Tai Chi and after testing me thoroughly he agreed. I am still exploring what he showed me. He said the essence of Push Hands was, “When your partner move, you move”. He was not just talking about physical movement.
What do you make of Tai Chi’s current popularity? I think it’s great
As a teacher how do you feel about the martial aspect of the art? Martial artists dance, self defense people fight. Tai Chi Chuan is the ultimate martial art; in fact it is a martial art of life. We use the body to understand the mind and we explore that mind in relation to living this life. As a means of dealing with aggression, both physical and mental, Tai Chi works, this has been proven to me in reality. However, ultimately, the aim is to become Tai Chi and create harmony even amidst chaos.
What are your views on competition? I think in competitions there should be no winner or medals or belts, that way people would attend because they want to play Tai Chi rather than to win. Of course people do attend to play together, but the medal distorts the view, in my opinion.
What direction would you like to see Tai Chi going in the future? In what ever way the Tao decides. The art of Tai Chi has unlimited potential, there are so many aspects that could be developed and that means the paths are limitless. So which ever way each practitioner is inspired to develop Tai Chi, that is the way to go and the Way may be opened for you to share it with others. It is in the hands of the Tao.