Shadowy movements at dawn in the park, neither dancing nor fighting though to me it looked like both. My mother danced with Fonteyn and enrolled me in my aunt’s ballet school but I retired at five, so no competition for Billy.
The fighting came later, first at school whacking Fatty Barnard across the ring under the smiling Irish eyes of Father Paddy Noonan, then my chum James to win the Army Garrison title in Malta before being KO’d by a Marine in Hong Kong. Karate in my forties to get fit after a hernia op but longer recovery times sparring with teens and twenties retired me after four stubborn years.
The sun rose on a grace, a flow, on faces as serene as at prayer as they stepped and spun, spiraled and thrust: shamanic theatre enacted under the trees, celestial combat, rooted in Earth and played in the human dimension. Yang advances, Yin withdraws, Harmony prevails.
Learning the Way of the Hidden Masters gave a sense of reality to this ancient art emulating the heroes of yore, the warriors, the fighting nuns and monks. Master Ho explained it can be practiced at any age, for health, to enhance our protective energy-field, to strengthen our physical and energetic immune system, to connect with higher and lower forces on the spiritual path, for self-defense, or simply to harmonies with our environment and alleviate the effects of stress.
The double-helix spirals reunite the Yang and Yin forces of creation, to ebb and flow throughout the meridian network, feeding the organs that sustain our life. We open and stimulate the meridians, the energy-flow channels, enabling the bio-electro-magnetic force, Qi or chi, to come on full charge as we do the slow graceful form.
Healers and Martial Artists improve external Qi-projection and internal rooting. Meditators develop the rootedness to keep safe when practicing kundalini or astral projection in the higher meditations.
Tai Chi comes to us as a gift from the past, a way to create our own tranquility: “to keep our cool when all about us might be losing theirs.”
I was hooked! Thirty years later I still am, and have been teaching it for twenty. And now I am teaching instructors how to teach, how to carry this gift to others, and at the same time help ourselves keep well, happy, and serene.