Clearly, my love for Tai Chi was the main factor. To learn from a Master is always a valuable opportunity, regardless of what the art form is. To re-dedicate myself to hard physical training and to make progress in my own understanding - to be a student again - brings me great joy.
But there are plenty of Tai Chi Masters in the UK. Why travel all the way to China? Well, escapism and adventure are also important to me. While she is still an incredibly entertaining and beautiful city, London can be a demanding place to live for anyone. I tend to disregard the impact London's fast pace of life, aggressive advertising and social demands have on my mind and body. But if I listen to my Self I know that by removing myself from conditions that can engender tension and stress, the results are long lasting and hugely beneficial to me. Certainly more than I would receive from a beach holiday or a city break, no matter how exotic or remote it may be.
So, it's with a sense of adventure, escapism and a desire to continue learning that I arrive at the Wudangshan Taoist Kung Fu Academy. I have been welcomed with open arms by the students and staff and already feel very positive about my decision to come here. I have a spacious en-suite single bedroom in a large accommodation block and while it's certainly a little tired, we are located adjacent to the 600 year old YuXu Palace and several other temples in the surrounding mountainside. This region is the home of Tai Chi and it certainly inspires dedication!!
Thursday is our one day off a week, so I haven't had a class at the time of writing but our daily routine begins with Qi Gong practise between 6-7am. After breakfast we begin our individually chosen classes (Wudang Style Tai Chi for me) between 8.30-11am. We restart after lunch at 1pm, finishing at 3.30pm, before dinner and a then have the option of free calligraphy and flute classes from 7.30pm. Our days are full, that's for sure!
Now, after an extended tea break, it's time to unpack, settle in and begin preparing myself for the adventure that lays ahead. By the time the next edition of this blog is published I shall have a full weeks training behind me, so be sure to tune in and read what challenges I've faced and what progress I've made.