By Sue Chessbrough
Little did I know fifteen years ago, when I first began learning Tai Chi, that I would be inducted into the Australian Tai Chi Hall of Fame.
On I st May 2001, at a surprise celebration at Bayview on Sydney's northern beaches, I became the third person and the first woman to be awarded this high honour by the Directors and Founders of the Macarthur Martial Arts School.
I was greeted by my students from Mona Vale Hospital's Healthy Lifestyle class and my private classes, as well as fellow teachers I have studied with over many years. My surprise was complete when Joan and Henry Murray from the Macarthur Martial Arts School came forward to present me with a framed certificate honouring my contributions to Tai Chi.
When I first took up Tai Chi it was on my doctor's advice as I was recovering from a serious accident to my back and neck that had hospitalised me for two months. Two years later I still could not play golf nor return to yoga classes so my doctor suggested Tai Chi which slowly strengthened my back and returned me to my former mobility and good health.
Five years later I commenced teaching Tai Chi and Qigong at Mona Vale Hospital and a retirement village. More classes followed and I trained promising students to become my assistants, and I encouraged a few of them to establish classes of their own.
A great many students have passed through my northem beaches classes and it has been very satisfying to see the improvement in their health. Lowered blood pressure, better breathing for asthma sufferers, greater mobility and balance for the elderly, reduced stress levels for busy career people are some of the many benefits of practising Tai Chi and Qigong.
It has been a very rewarding period in my life and recognition now of my constant study and practice is an added bonus.