My Journey so far...
At the age of 30, I began my journey with Tai Chi. I had dabbled in martial arts as a
youth and had always wanted to find one I could immerse myself in completely.
I was starting to get interested in meditation, finding it very difficult to do without
guidance. I was also aware that I didn't want to take up a martial art that would
possibly damage my body. I'd read about Tai Chi being an extremely powerful
martial art, a form of meditation and complete system of health and although I
didn't understand how it could possibly be all these things, I felt drawn to it.
Luckily I chose the right teacher. Mark Leonard's website wasn't the best I'd ever
seen but it gave me a relaxed, informal impression. Upon meeting Mark I was
immediately impressed by the straightness of his posture, the benevolence he
exuded and also that I couldn't move him a millimeter.
I found Tai Chi both challenging and intriguing. The standing Qigong was particularly
hard with a lot of shaking and sweating and the Laojia form seemed undecipherable.
I like a challenge and my intuition told me that there was something very profound
going on underneath it all so I kept coming back.
As a musician, I already had the experience of learning to play instruments.
This was useful as I didn't mind being bad at Tai Chi. When I first started learning guitar I could barely fret a note and couldn't really play the thing at all.
With practice, I could play some chords then phrases, whole pieces and eventually I became pretty good.
I realised that practicing music could be analogous to Tai Chi practice and that instead of an instrument we're learning to play the whole body.
The benefits of practicing came quickly. My first class gave me a very pleasant physical sensation. Practicing a bit at home started to give me an increasing sense of peace. Before starting Tai Chi I was possibly a bit out of shape and my posture definitely wasn't great but I hadn't realised. With increasing clarity, Tai Chi practice helped me see my physical imperfections and how to change them.
After a couple of years I decided to practice every day. I wanted to see what could happen if I took it more seriously. As the years have gone by the amount of time I spend practicing has increased and so have my abilities. I haven't missed a single day's practice in years and don't intend to. The pay off for continued practice is immense. My body is strong and my mind is calm. I rarely get ill and have a growing sense of physical and emotional balance. More and more as the years go by, Tai Chi is part of everything I do.
Sam is a patient and enthusiastic teacher and has a real passion for introducing new people to Tai Chi.
He practices every day, teaches several weekly classes and studies regularly with his teacher Mark Leonard and annually with Master Chen Ying Jun.
Sam has been practicing Tai Chi for 12 years and is a fully certified instructor with the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain. He is also an artist and musician. To look at Sam's bizarre cartoons visit www.instagram.com/fuggwodge