In May of 1997 Geoff Ashcroft a student of the Australian Thai Keik School of Tai Chi Chuan wrote a few words on his thoughts about Tai Chi. He had been doing Tai Chi for about a year.

A couple of weeks ago I asked Geoff to put pen to paper once again so we could all get an appreciation of how our view of Tai Chi changes over time.

What follows are both of the articles that Geoff wrote. If anyone would like to respond in anyway we can publish those responses in future editions.

Chris Connor

Thoughts on Tai Chi by Geoff Ashcroft

(May 1997)

I have been attending Roman and Darrenís classes for about a year now, and I have no intention of "giving it away". I am a short way along the Tai Chi road that we are all traveling. Some of us will travel a long way and some a short way, but no matter how far we travel we will all benefit from the experience.

At the Sutherland library I found the book- Tai Chi -The "Supreme Ultimate" Exercise for Health, Sport and Self Defense by Cheng Man Chen and Robert Smith. Phew! What a long title.

Itís a book I will read again and again because although I didnít understand it all then, as I travel along the Tai Chi road, I will understand more and more of the book. If you look at the book, there are photographs of Chen Man Chen and an opponent and what struck me at first was his straight back and sunkeness. Now whenever I start a session I picture in my mind his posture and hope my subconscious helps my body perform correctly.

At this time I have completed the 37 form and my wife thinks I do it really good. But I know that Iím not doing it right, but thatís okay because every week I learn something new and in 12months I know Iíll be doing it better and 12 months on Iíll be better again. So Iím happy and content with that - thank you for taking an interest.

(February 2000)

Boy does that article take me back a lot of sheets of "rice paper". That was a couple years ago and Iím still traveling along that road, and still looking at that book with the long title, and still donít understand all of it, but Iím getting there.

I am a bit enigmatic about Tai Chi, if a friend / workmate / or complete stranger, asks me about Tai Chi. I rant and rave about the health aspect, the martial art aspect, its soothing aspect, itís flexibility aspect, and itís supple aspect, if you can think of an aspect Iíve raved about it. To the point that the listener has to look for the off button to shut me up. I am not really that bad but I do go on.

The enigmatic bit has been "doing it", if I practiced it as much as I talked about it I reckon I could put an elephant into emptiness. That was my enigma, but this year my resolution is every day I WILL PRACTICE. I have taken a Tai Chi tape to work and do it there. I have put a club "flyer" on the notice board but do not try to persuade people to "come along". I believe it will only be successful if people CHOOSE to learn Tai Chi.

My form is oodles better than it was last time I wrote. I really love the form, I find I can immerse myself in it. Its like thereís nothing else while Iím doing it, and when I reach the end I feel like I have just finished something spiritual, if I move from my position or make a noise it will destroy the acute awareness that I have just created. Sometimes I will wait for someone else to move or make a noise so I am not responsible for breaking that "spell".

I am still reading the book with the long title and Iím still talking about it and practising and little by little the book is making more sense. I know I know Iím starting to go on a bit, I still enjoy my Tai Chi but some aspects of it do frustrate me. I sometimes wonder just how many sheets of rice paper there are.

Iíve just found the off button and am about to push it. Before I go Iíd like to thank you all for taking an interest again Ė

Yours in Tai Chi,

Geoff Ashcroft


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