Written by our Founder & Head Instructor, Cherry Collins
My personal ethos is also my club ethos: 改善 Gai Shan: Continual Ongoing Personal Development.
Now, I know that sounds like a big deal, but if we apply ourselves to make a little progress every day it will soon amount to a big change for the better. Just two things are required, effort and persistence.
From humble beginnings - one weekly Friday night class back in 2011, we grew into a school with over 20 classes a week across 7 venues, 250 regular weekly students and many more who come as and when their work and family commitments allow. This didn't happen overnight, but over a period of years, with continuous ongoing effort. A change for the better - Gai Shan
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 and the various lockdowns, many of our venues closed so we are mainly teaching online, but new beginners class is planned for September 2021 in Mytchett on Thursday mornings. Open for provisional enquiries now.
If you decide to join our classes you will be encouraged to believe in your ability to learn and improve. Not to do the impossible, but just to take the first step, and then just take the one after that. Improvement comes every time we apply our minds in an intelligent way to whatever it is we are doing - it shouldn't be a chore :)
Our Mission Statement:
To teach faithfully and correctly and to proactively promote our Art in our neighbourhood
To continually develop our own knowledge and skill so that we can help others reach their full potential
To make Taiji & Qigong affordable and accessible to everyone
The philosophy behind our logo:
Our logo is made up of three components:
1. The simple Wuji circle has a great depth of meaning: Wuji, directly translates as 'without extremes, or a point of singularity'. It is represented by a simple circle enclosing 'The Void' or 'emptiness' - the origin of the universe.
Many of us experience unhappiness and dissatisfaction because our hearts and minds have become detached from our point of origin. We struggle through life searching for 'something' to bring us happiness - a new car, a new job etc. We fill our minds and lives with so much 'stuff', and yet we really we need the opposite - a simplifying and a returning to 'source'. The practice of Tai Chi & Qigong is the vehicle we use to return to a state of "quiet still mind" - Wuji
2, The second component of our logo is Gai Shan (the Chinese characters in the Wuji circle). I've described Gai Shan in the paragraph on club ethos above, but to recap briefly, Gai Shan is the Eastern philosophy of changing something for the better. As both my club and personal motto I take it to mean continual ongoing personal development, or transformation, where Tai Chi, Qigong / Chi Kung & Meditation are the vehicles we use to develop a better body /health , a better mind/ ethics and so nourish and refine our spirit / soul
3. The third component of the club badge is the Lotus Blossom. It is regarded as a symbol of purity and enlightenment. It begins its life in the muck and decaying matter at the bottom of a lake and yet it emerges as a pure white spotless flower. The Lotus is a metaphor for how we can be surrounded by things which tempt our mind, but if we persist we can rise above these distractions and reach our full potential
We offer several classes a week for various levels of experience from zero upwards, serving Aldershot Farnborough Camberley Mytchett Farnham Fleet and surrounding areas
Cherry Collins (pictured right) founded Surrey and Hants Tai Chi & Qigong in 2011, starting with just one evening class a week. One soon became two and two became four. As news and popularity of the classes grew Cherry quit her 9-5 job and took a leap of faith to teach full time.
Cherry has an Intermediate Taijiquan Instructor's qualification awarded by her teacher, 3 Times China National Champion, Master Wang Hai Jun. Cherry also has a Chinese Duan Wei Qualification, awarded by the Chinese Wushu Association.
Before Lockdown changed things, Cherry trained twice monthly in London with Master Wang and attended his seminars, camps and training tours in China, Poland, France, Spain and Ireland.
Cherry is also a qualified Instructor of the British Health Qigong Association, qualified to teach five different sets of Health Qigong. She regularly updates her own training in workshops and seminars arranged by the BHQA
Cherry is a member of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain and holds full public liability insurance for her classes
A 'Lineage' may not be something new beginners are particularly looking for, but doing a little research now will save you disappointment later. Let me explain why:
At the present time, there is no industry standard or qualification for teachers of Taiji in Aldershot and surrounding areas to pass. This means anyone can set themselves up and teach a class after learning something from a video or attending a weekend seminar. If the teacher can talk the talk it's likely that beginners will be convinced for a while. But later, when they fail to gain any depth of skill or understanding they will feel disillusioned and give up.
Tracing a teachers lineage is a way to make sure you're not going to waste your time and money. Chen Tai Chi has a 200+ year (12 generation) history with a traceable lineaThe Surrey and Hants Tai Chi lineage has a direct link to China via my Teacher, Master Wang Haijun. Google my name alongside that of Master Wang Haijun and go to images, you'll find many pics of Master Wang teaching me in all the countries i've listed above, and pics of Master Wang teaching my students here in Aldershot. Master Wang's website lists me as one of his teaching students. I offer classes in Taiji /Tai Chi and Qigong / Chi Kung in Camberley - Aldershot and towns in between.
Next in the lineage is Master Wang's teacher, Master Chen Zhenglei. Wikipedia confirms he is one of the top Martial Arts teachers in China, recognised as one of the Four Golden Tigers of Tai Chi by the Chinese government
Google Master Wang Haijun and Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's names together to see their connection.
Cherry regularly trains with the British Health Qigong - her teachers are Faye and Tary Yip - highly respected Health Qigong instructors and founder members of the British Health Qigong Association
The British Health Qigong Association are the UK branch of the International Health Qigong Association. Health Qigong began in China, it's similar to Tai Chi but without any martial arts connections, making it easier and quicker to pick up than Tai Chi It's practiced daily by millions of people worldwide - especially in China, and it's brilliant for health!
Practical assessments, Theory, Teaching Skills and Teacher's own performance ability are all tested and graded at the BHQA Workshops that Cherry attends - to make sure that you, her students have a good experience and learn the correct movements - Cherry is in the centre in dark blue in this 2019 class
Theory Class at a recent Teacher Training seminar - Cherry is far right (white tracksuit) Correct underpinning knowledge means that Cherry's own students get a more interesting and beneficial in-class experience and go home with background information about the movements
When you have reached a good level of skill, you can enter competitions if desired, although of course there is no requirement to do so. Cherry is featured here just behind the teacher, Tary Yip
Delegates at the 2019 Teacher Training Course pose for a photo at the end of the week long teaching and assessments. Cherry is sitting on the right of the teacher (- the lovely Faye Yip - President of the British Health Qigong Association
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