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.