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 persistance.
My Tai Chi experience:
In a relatively short period of time, the practice of Taiji and Qigong changed my life. My practice had such an impact on me that, following a year's full-time residential training(over three trips) at a Martial Arts school in the mountains of China, I quit my 9-5 job to become a teacher.
From humble beginnings - one weekly Friday night class, we have grown into a school with 20 classes a week, 5 venues, 200 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
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 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 & 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
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. We now have 20 popular classes a week at various levels.
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. In 2013 Cherry visited China with her teacher, Master Wang Hai Jun and entered the Jiaozuo International Tai Chi competition - an event which is held every two years and attracts approximately 3800 entrants from over 20 counties. Cherry won a gold medal for the Women's Traditional Chen Tai Chi Hand Form and a Silver Medal for her Chen Style Sword Form.
Cherry continues to train 10 hours a month in London with Master Wang and has attended his seminars, camps and training tours in China, Poland, France, Spain and ireland.
Cherry now arranges workshops in Mytchett and Aldershot for Master Wang Hai Jun, so our students can benefit from his teaching.
Cherry is a member of the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain and holds full public liability insurance for her classes
Occasionally our classes are covered by our Assistant Instructor, Pat Bettridge: Let me tell you her inspirational story!
Pat has been studying Tai Chi & Qigong in my classes since early 2013. She came to her first classes on a walking stick which she had been using for over 5 years, with painful arthritis, hardly able to bend her knee. Feeling that she was caught in a downward spiral, she turned to Tai Chi to try to take her health concerns into her own hands. Pat very quickly grasped the idea that our body can heal itself - the mind is the instrument we use, and in no time she had ditched the walking stick and was climbing trees with her grandson. Less than a year after joining my classes, and seeing her potential, I introduced Pat to Master Wang HaiJun's London seminars. Pat has been studying Chen Taiji with Master Wang since then. Since the beginning of her Tai Chi journey, Pat has studied with passion and dilligence and has made amazing progress. She was praised publicly by Master Wang Hai Jun in his London class as 'someone who practices hard, using her mind as well as her body'. This is high praise indeed, as Master Wang seldom singles anyone out by name.
Pat has a Tai Chi teacher's qualification, is a member of Tai Chi Union GB and also has full public liability insurance.
Pats classes are very popular with our students and I feel very confident when I hand a class over to her.
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.
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