‘Tai Chi delivers friendship’. I first saw this phrase when I went to stay with Master Chen’s son, Chen Jun, in Zhengzhou back in 2004. There was a large picture of Master Chen senior in the living room with beautiful calligraphy written down one side. I asked Chen Jun what it said and he told me. He was right; I’ve lost count of all the lovely people I have met across the globe over the years through learning and teaching Tai Chi.
Last weekend we went to stay with our friends Phil and Emma on their canal boat in Oxford. They run The Oxford School of Tai Chi and have been teaching/training for many years. A great time was had by all and amongst the delicious food and merriment we managed a couple of hours of training on the Sunday morning for good measure. The exciting result of all this is that we are hoping to be hosting some seminars in the area next year with a certain high-level Tai Chi master. Watch this space!
This week I met up with one of my old students from when I was teaching in Brighton. Sarah now lives in China and divides her time between teaching English and studying Tai Chi. She spends three days a week in Chenjiagou, also known as Chen village, training full-time. Chen village is famous for being the birthplace of Tai Chi and as such is an exceptional place to hone one’s skills. It was excellent to catch up with her again and hear all about her adventures in China. She also brought me some delightful Oolong tea. Delicious!
It was interesting talking to her about the difference between Tai Chi here in the UK and in Chen village. In Chen village practitioners put in many years of hard work to establish the basics of Tai Chi movement. One is still considered to be a fresh-faced beginner after ten years of rigorous daily training! Here in the UK many people love the idea of Tai Chi but usually do not have the time or dedication to achieve the basics which is a great shame because those that do really achieve something priceless. Furthermore, you might meet many wonderful people along the way!