In helping students to learn tai chi and qigong I initially focus on enabling them to relax and connect to their inner selves. Using loosening up exercises and qigong techniques I encourage students to develop a ‘listening’ quality, paying more attention to how their bodies feel, rather than looking to be precise in postures. Gradually I increase corrections and help them to understand their bodies more. The tai chi hand form helps them to develop a sense of structure, balance and posture whilst increasing their sense of relaxation, inner relaxation and outer focus. Various partner exercises, including push hands helps them to gently test these aspects and develop a sense of being grounded and rooted whilst further developing their ability to relax, particularly in stressful situations. Tai chi applications allow them to increase confidence, awareness and intent, qualities which can be applied in everyday life.
I started learning tai chi in 1981, during which time it was very hard to find a teacher. I’ve often asked why I began tai chi and I guess, like many others at that time I was searching for a deeper meaning to life. I had dabbled in other disciplines like meditation but because of my busy mind at that time, I was unable to connect fully. The work of tai chi engaged my mind, through learning postures and techniques and its meditative aspect allowed my to relax and settle more.
My first teacher was an American, recently moved to Glasgow with a background in arts, poetry, theatre & movement disciplines, who had worked with John Kells and Dr. Chi in London, from the Cheng Man-Ching Tradition. Although of limited experience, Larry was thorough in his teaching and provided a sound introduction to the art. I worked with him for five years before I started assisting him teaching and subsequently went on to start my own class.
For the following five years I worked privately with Tom Brodie MacClue, who had been a student of Rose Li. Tom helped to clarify many things for me over these years of intensive training. Michael Tse introduced me to Qigong and for five years I learned a number of systems before settling to concentrate on Taiji Qigong and Dayan Qigong. In the early 1990’s I joined the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain (TCUGB) where I went on to become a member of the Executive Committee and Technical Panel. Having produced an Alternative Health magazine in Scotland (Connections) for nearly 10 years I offered my skills to the TCUGB and launched Tai Chi Chuan magazine which I still edit and produce.
In 1995, in conjunction with a fellow tai chi teacher, Bob Lowey we started Tai Chi Caledonia which has grown to become one of Europe’s foremost International Tai Chi gatherings, attracting students and teacher from Europe, the USA and beyond. In 1997 Dan Docherty contacted me for assistance in creating a programme for the Taijiquan & Qigong Federation for Europe’s second Congress/Forum, staged in Hungary. He invited me to teach at the event and this led me to meet and work with many influential instructors from various European countries. Within a couple of years I became a member of the Executive Committee and went on to serve as Secretary, a position I still retain.
Since then I have taught and travelled extensively across Europe, affording me the opportunity to work with a number of influential teachers, who have contributed to my tai chi and qigong development. These include: Mario Napoli, Epi van de Pol, Jan Silberstorff, Patrick Kelly, Tian Liyang, Mike Sigman, Dan Docherty, Ian Cameron, Luigi Zanini, Lauren Smith & Aarvo Tucker.
Please contact Ronnie directly about his classes