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China Trip Highlights 11 Interview - Feng Xiu Qian
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2012 Retreat at SIBA
Energy for Life
As Calligraphy
China Trip Highlights 13
Qigong : Living Well
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Tai Chi Form, page 1
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Fa Soong Gong - relax...
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Interview

Enjoying Tai Chi after Growing Up with Karate
interviewed by Instructor Lis

One of the things Julia enjoys most about Tai Chi is the diversity of students in the classes she attends.

 

      “There are people of all ages, nationalities, professions and backgrounds.  I really like that.  It’s good to meet people completely outside my work environment and make friends from different areas.”

 

      A university lecturer, Julia also likes being a student again.  “The thing about the form is it keeps changing.  You can go deeper into it the way a pianist will play a piece of music differently as their skill develops.  The process of learning slowly is very fulfilling.  There is no point where you can say you have all the answers and I think this is liberating because it removes pressure and expectations.”

 

      As a child Julia learned karate.  Her family moved frequently so she was exposed to a variety of styles and teaching methods in the different karate schools she attended.  “I got used to being told to change what I’d been doing.”

 

      “When I reached university age, I realised I’d had enough karate and looked for something else.  I’m rather accident prone so I wanted something where I wasn’t going to hurt myself.  I’d damaged an ankle badly on a hike at eighteen and it’s still very weak.  My balance isn’t very good on that side.

 

      I was studying in France and went along with a friend to Tai Chi classes.  We were the youngest in the group.  The instructor was a little older but the other students were all middle aged matrons who thought he was wonderful.  It was very entertaining.  He taught half in French and half in Chinese.  I really enjoyed the classes and liked the whole concept.  When I returned to the US, I continued with Tai Chi at Yale, the university I attended, but it wasn’t as much fun.  They focused much more on Push Hands than the form and were more intense about it than my French instructor.”

 

      “Tai Chi is more about the internal than the external the way karate is.  I spend my days teaching which is a very external activity, lecturing, listening to students, dealing with their study concerns and so on.  It’s nice to do Tai Chi and be inside my own skin, feel where my edges are.”

 

      “Physically I have noticed quite a few benefits although I didn’t begin Tai Chi for physical reasons.  I’ve been in Canberra for nearly two years and started with the Academy a year ago.  My partner used to have to knead the knots from my spine and shoulders every ten days.  However, since I’ve been practising regularly that’s not necessary.  Sitting, stress and computer work all contributed to the tension in my body.  Now my back and shoulders are much looser and I can feel the muscles in my torso are stronger.

 

      I’m also building up the strength in my weak ankle.  Tai Chi helps with the balance and stability.  I run, and falling was a problem if the ground was uneven.  I’d put my foot down a little crookedly and fall over because there’s no ligament strength or flexibility there at all.  The same thing happened if I wore high heels.  I don’t fall over much now.”

 

      “I attend two classes per week and would like to go more often but my schedule doesn’t fit.  The next day my energy is always more focused.  I don’t practise Qigong at home but I do the form a couple of times every lunchtime.”

 

      “I love the classes.  It’s the highlight of my week.”

 

(This is an actual interview, but the name has been changed for reasons of privacy.)


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