Tai Chi was introduced as a ‘sport’ in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Why has it become so popular?

When I was searching for the best Tai Chi teacher in 1980, there were only five teachers in London. Now there are more than 300 Tai Chi teachers in London alone. I chose to train with Master Chu King Hung as he was the only lineage Master of the Yang family style in Europe at that time.

The attraction for many to Tai Chi, are the beautiful meditative movements that mesmerise onlookers. Our ‘three minute’ culture expect to learn it all immediately. Many leave disappointed. That is such a pity, because it has SO much to give to those that persist and delve deeply as many do.

Tai Chi is my first love as a self-development system. 36 years later it entices me even more than say fifteen years ago.

Qigong, is also growing in popularity. It pre-dates Tai Chi by at least 5000 years!

When I visited the Terracotta Warrior museum in Xian, China in 2000, I saw a beautiful vase that had stick figures, clearly showing a sequence of Qigong movements.It was dated 5000BC.

That means Qigong has been practiced for over 7000 years!

Qigong was used during the Cultural revolution in China, when Allopathic drugs were not affordable. If you were ill in China at that time, you saw your doctor. He’d send you to the local Qigong teacher, who gave you exercises to do to heal yourself. That kept the huge Chinese population stable for decades. Now in China they have three Hospital systems : Qigong, Acupuncture/Herbs and Allopathic medicine. The first two do not have the side effects that drugs do.

Qigong can be compared to the roots and trunk of a tree-the strength and stamina building aspects. Tai Chi is like the branches and leaves, developing balance, coordination, resilience etc.

Benefits of Qigong

  • Very simple to learn and do
  • Builds stamina quickly
  • Stress reduction
  • Improving Health
  • Heightening Immune function
  • Developing a Calm Mind
  • Increasing strength

Stress reduction alleviates many diseases, or reduces their onset, as stress is the root of the three principle causes of disease-Heart disease, Cancer and Stroke.

I place great importance on Qigong.In my classes we spend the first hour on Qigong exercises and meditation. These classes are open to anyone to drop in, or as weekly classes. It is popular amongst therapists who don’t want to invest time in learning the Tai Chi sequences, yet want to benefit from the simple, powerful Qigong exercises.