Thursday night tai chi


The beautiful coast of the Isle of Anglesey

For the past two years the two of us have attended a Thursday evening tai chi class at a local community centre.  We had the good fortune to find an excellent class that was just 10 minutes walk away and cost us an affordable £6 a month each.  Our experienced tutor was motivated by wanting to give something back to the community rather than making a living and so only charged to cover his costs.  However, running the class, as well as continuing a full-time job and balancing the demands of his family eventually became too much and the end of our tai chi class arrived last week.  I was very sad as I thanked our tutor and hugged our class mates.

As well as having an inspiring tutor, the class was made up of a wonderful group of Salfordians.  These were mostly retired individuals and all benefited hugely from attending the class; tai chi is particularly good for mobility and emotional well-being.  A core of the group have been attending for ten-years and know more about tai chi than I will ever learn.  Tai chi doesn’t promote competitiveness and everyone shared what they knew and supported each other and everyone was always encouraging at my poor efforts.

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that involves some static postures and continuous controlled movements that are designed to improve physical and mental well-being.  For those interested the class we attended was Sun-style tai chi, developed by Sun Lu-tang just over 100-years ago and is the youngest tai chi style.  Sun-style tai chi has less kicking and punching than other tai chi styles and has a strong emphasis on breathing, mental focus and posture.

I have learnt a lot attending the class over the last two years but I am well aware there is plenty more to learn.  Mr BOTRA has made the time to self-study and learn the long form or series of movements and this means we can practice at home or on holiday.  But for me the discipline and support of a class is the best way for me to develop and so we are in search of a new tai chi class.

There is the possibility that a new tai chi instructor may take over the class at the same community centre.  If this happens, the new tutor will be running the class as part of their business and this means the cost will increase to £14 each a month.  I don’t begrudge someone making a living from teaching but this increase will have a not insignificant impact on our budget and Mr BOTRA and I have talked this over.  If this comes about our plan is to attend two or three times a month, as it is so convenient, and then practice at home in between; this will make the class affordable but also ensure we maintain our skills.