A new martial arts journey – Tai Chi

I have been training and teaching Choi Kwang Do as a defensive martial art and health improving activity for many years. I was very amazed to achieve my first black belt in it at the end of 2014. That journey was shared with all the family too for a long while. We all trained, taught and graded together for many years.

In 2019 I was getting ready for my 3rd Dan grading when in a non related incident I managed to get a concussion slipping over in the kitchen making Easter dinner. That made me ease up on training for a good while, as I recovered. On getting back to full time training and classes at the end of 2019 the world took its own hit as we headed into the COVID lockdown years. I continued to train at home though, my various CDK routines and a friendly BOB for impact training became a regular part of life. I wasn’t so keen on zoom call training as all work was zoom based and I wanted to get away from that.

A few other health issues also slowed the training down, a bought of COVID hit me with some longer term balance and focus issues on and off for a year or too. As part of trying to sort this out there were a few doctors and ENT specialists but it was all a bit off the normal diagnostic path, despite being utterly horrible and impactful at times. The result was I thought I would try Chinese traditional acupuncture and sort my Qi (Chi) out. I started this a year ago now. In the first few months the impact was significantly positive, and it remains so. I was almost completely sorted out by September last year but over new year I ended up with flu/covid whatever and it kicked me back to where I had started. One trip to acupuncture and I was well on the road to normality again. Also during the course of the sessions other things, such as training muscle injuries get rolled into the treatment and recovery is way quicker, also my hay fever has diminished to almost nothing. This got me considering what else I could do to maintain and improve this balance of energy. BTW the place I get treatment is https://www.physicalbalance.com in Basingstoke with Carolyn, who is always fully booked up with patients from far and wide.

At the same time as this was happening our local CKD school was winding down as our school owner had a very exciting family opportunity to head to Australia. A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to take over the school and continue, but I didn’t feel in a position to be able to do that. As everything happens for a reason, the acupuncture and my introduction into these energy flows got me looking around for Chinese martial arts in the area. At the same time my daughter had looked into trying something out as a Christmas present for me. She got me and her trial lessons in Tai Chi at Shin-Gi-Tai martial arts in Basingstoke and the odd serendipitous part of this is that its just a few hundred meters from where my acupuncture is, but not related in any way else.

We went for our Tai Chi lessons and it was really enjoyable, in a great martial arts facility with an incredibly experience team of instructors in all forms of martial arts. I signed straight up in January and have been going a couple of times a week since then. Tai Chi is the very slow moving graceful movements, which exists in many forms alongside QiGong. QiGong is the more health focussed art but Tai Chi is a martial art in that whilst you learn slow meditative and physically beneficial movements they are also offensive and defensive forms. I had not taken up CKD originally to learn to fight, but to learn to defend if need be, but for the mental and physical challenge. Nothing in CKD was about ego and macho competition and so walking into Shin-Gi-Tai this felt very similar. Obviously Tai Chi tends to attract us older people so we are less likely to want to show who is boss etc.. There is a never ending set of tweaks and improvements to be made and patterns to be learned that have more than enough to keep anyone going. I have also found that when I do train at home in CKD still (for a bit of cardio and fast movement) that I try and apply some of what I am starting to learn to feel in Tai Chi.

In case you are not convinced about the potential impact of Tai Chi as a martial art form (just as some are not convinced by other martial arts in a tit for tat mine is better than yours – silly I know). But this video shows a demonstration that at the point it starts art around 11:10 is the basics of the form I have been learning.

Tai Chi Application

Our teachers as you can see here have an incredible history and amount of martial arts experience in so many forms. Bryan often shares how the application of some of the Tai Chi might play out, just as in the video from the US above, which for me helps contextualise it all. Though the real benefits that I am enjoying are building on the energy flows from acupuncture and feeling an improvement in mental and physical well being. It’s great to have a slow flowing set of moves to complement the also flowing and rounded ones of CKD (we have no lockouts in that art).

So there we have it a new martial arts journey, but a complementary one. There are many more things to try at Shin-Gi-Tai too. Lets see where this goes 🙂

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