I practised using only that youtube video for a few months before I received a DVD for Christmas from my son. A few months after that I decided to join a local class in east London and from there my understanding and learning increased with every session. I now found not only was Tai Chi keeping me active without impacting on my joints, it was reducing my stress levels, combating my anxieties and (most incredibly!) helping me release emotional trauma I'd stored up in my body and mind over the preceding years.
Perhaps the most significant of those years was 2008. I spent the summer of that year in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. I was a proud member of The 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, fighting in the infamous 'Green Zone'. The fighting that summer was vicious and it was both the best of times and the worst of times for many of us. While it offered us all profoundly valuable lessons on life and friendship, it also introduced a great deal of pain and suffering. In the end it took a great deal of war to bring about a tiny glimpse of peace. But that was all I needed. I took it and I ran with it
My experiences in Afghanistan helped me realise I needed to step out of the cycle of fear, anger and aggression I was in and I gradually began to embrace my own secret desire for peace, calm and contentment. I left the military and it was soon after my new colleague made his wonderful recommendation: Tai Chi.
Within two years of starting classes here in London I had decided to dedicate myself to the study of Tai Chi, so I did my research, asked for advice and was soon contacted by Master Wang Zhi Ping of the Yangshuo Tai Chi Health Centre in Guilin Province, China. In April last year I joined Master Wang for two months of full-time study, much of it one-on-one tuition. My understanding increased dramatically, as you can imagine, and I remain very grateful for the patience, knowledge and guidance Master Wang showed me during that incredible trip to beautiful Yangshuo.
Within a week I will be returning to China to continue my studies and further explore Tai Chi and the effects it has on my body and mind. I will spend the next two months studying at the Wudang Daoist Traditional Internal Kung Fu Academy on Wudang Mountain. My training will be primarily focused on expanding my knowledge of Qi Gong and Tai Chi but also introducing myself to Nei Gong and Liang Yi (I will go on to explain what each of these entail in later editions of this blog).
The next edition of this blog will come direct from Wudang Mountain, China, and I for one am very excited! Be sure to check facebook, twitter and playfuldragonstaichi.com for weekly updates.
See you next week!
London 5th April, 2016
Playful Dragons Tai Chi & Qi Gong