I first encountered Tai Chi when I was 12 years old. I had just started Ju Jitsu classes and my father had started this thing called Tai Chi; it looked very slow, and a bit pointless compared to the martial impact my Ju Jitsu could have. We both continued with our classes and by 15 years old I had won bronze in a national, under-18’s martial arts competition. I would play-fight with my father, as teenagers will do, and it wasn’t too difficult for me to win at that point, but as time went by I noticed it becoming trickier. By 16 I wouldn’t win every time. By 17 I won less than half the time. By 18 I could no longer even push my father off balance, and by 19 I decided I was practicing the wrong stuff!
My father was not a big, strong man, neither was he fast. In fact, he used to beat me whilst still moving slowly, and I often felt like a wet towel that he had complete control of once we came into contact. I began attending the same classes as him and within the first month I felt more strength and power than I had in all my years of Ju Jitsu. Not only that, but it was a different kind of strength and power, it wasn’t about having tight muscles, or spending hours at the gym, it didn’t require any real effort even. It was a strength that came from relaxation; a strength that is already present within your body and always has been. I no longer train in martial arts and my Tai Chi practice is based in health and relaxation, it is that path of Tai Chi that I feel I can benefit most from, and I hope others will too.
I have practiced tai chi regularly since I was 19 (over 20 years ago now) and I qualified as a Tai Chi and Qigong teacher in 2013. In order to gain my instructor qualification I went on a month-long retreat with the Lineage Grand Master, Bruce Frantzis, and trained at least 8 hours a day in order to be prepared to pass the exam. It was an amazing experience and I felt as though I learnt as much in that one month as I had in the entire previous two or three years. I am also a certified instructor with the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain. Since first taking up Tai Chi I have never looked back, I really believe that the internal energy arts are the next step in human evolution and that if we all practiced every day, we as a species would be very different.
I created The Tai Chi Effect to try and help spread the knowledge and experience I have and to help others to find and feel the chi within themselves. My father is now nearing 70 and he can still easily beat me up! I keep hoping that one of these years I’ll catch him up, but every year that I improve, he seems to get stronger and more relaxed. The benefits of starting 7 years earlier!
Below is a picture of me at the start of my journey, and one from 2018.