Monday, 20 February 2017

Training Sword

I've been looking for a training sword for Tai Chi and found this polypropylene version from

It cost me just under £46 including delivery. It is quite chunky and heavy (0.48kg). I especially wanted something heavier than the wooden versions available as it will help to build power and endurance.

Here are some photos:

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The First Lesson

The first lesson is the most important.

The teacher will convey the most important concepts and you had better pay attention, lest you miss all that heavenly glory.

Difficult, I know, when you are trying to work out which hand goes where.

For me, the most important concept was standing and letting the energy sink down the front of my body, into the ground, letting go.

You can also do this sitting down on a chair. Sit upright on a chair,perineum right on the edge, feet flat on the floor. Rest the hands palm down on the knees. Then let the energy sink down the front of the body, continuing between the legs, down into the ground.

Once you get the feeling for this try to carry it into your form.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Cook Ding's Kitchen: A Tai Chi Chuan Resource

Cook Ding's Kitchen: A Tai Chi Chuan Resource: Find Your Tai Chi is a very nice resource. If you pay a visit, you'll find something like 150 (and growing) links to video clips, arti...

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Use the Waist to Step

The waist doesn't just move the arms, it also moves the legs.

Generally this means shorter steps. If you want to take long steps then you need to sink lower in the supporting leg. Whenever the foot touches the floor, you need to be able to pick it up without lurching off balance or rising up.

Step like a cat.

Monday, 30 January 2017

My Favourite Books

The Fencer and the Zen Body by Quincy Day Rabot.

This is an interesting book in which the author tries to blend internal arts principles to fencing. He draws quite a lot on the works of Peter Ralston, with concepts such as Hand Up,You Down and moving under the earth. There are some good exercises in the book and Appendix A contains some simple exercises for the joints.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

John Kells - donation request

Following on from my post about the death of John Kells, his family have asked that he can be remembered by making a donation to the Lam Rim Buddhist centre in Usk, Wales. Donations can be made here:
Donations and Legacies page

Friday, 6 January 2017

John Kells - 1940 - 2017 R.I.P.

It is with sadness that I write that John Kells died today, 6th January 2017.

John Kells was a pioneering T’ai Chi Ch’uan teacher in the UK. Born in 1940, he started T’ai Chi in 1967 and opened the British T’ai Chi Ch’uan Association in London in 1970, teaching in the basement of his father’s house in Upper Wimpole Street. In1977 he started teaching full time with classes every day and it is thought that 10,000 students were taught by him between then and 1993.

John Kells was passionate about T’ai Chi, training day and night to investigate and understand the principles passed on by his teachers, who included Liang Tung Tsai, Chi Chiang Tao, Chu Gin Soon and Yang Shou-Chung (with whom he studied for one month in Hong Kong and gleaned much about spirit).

John Kells inspired many to go on and teach T’ai Chi Ch’uan themselves and make it an integral part of their lives. His unrelenting drive eventually led him to go beyond the forms of T’ai Chi Ch’uan and explore deeper connections from 1991 to the present day which he came to call Heartwork, focusing on the Thymus centre as an indirect approach to the Heart. This came about through the fusion of T’ai Chi Ch’uan and the internal instruction he received from an ancient European lineage.

John Kells cared little for the politics and posturing of the T’ai Chi Ch’uan community, just wanting to get on with his own work. He was once challenged to a pushing hands contest by another teacher and his response was magnificent “No thanks, I’ve got enough problems with my own Ego”.

He will be deeply missed by his family , friends and students.