Initially my motives for studying Tai Chi were simply to learn how to keep people away. I didn't realise at the time that this attitude would only continue to compound my shyness and fear. It wasn't very long before I discovered that RDTC wasn't about fighting, but rather how to not-fight, to use the principles to understand how to deal with conflicts both internal and external
After years of being interested in meditation and Martial Arts, but doing nothing about it, I bought a few books and started to read. Mostly, I didn't know what they were talking about although I was still attracted to the idea. In 1973, the Kung Fu boom had arrived and I was watching a documentary about the the Shaw brothers Kung Fu movie industry in Hong Kong. There were shots of the actors rehearsing fight scenes and one actor was standing on one leg with the other leg in a sling attatched to a rope and pulley. He had hold of the other end of the rope and was yanking on it to stretch his leg up in the air above his head!
The film went straight from this to a scene of an old man, standing in the large open space of a park, who began moving very slowly. I thought the film had been slowed down so we could see what was happening (!). In the distance, skirting the edges of the park was a line of trees and bushes. Suddenly, the top of a lorry, which projected above the bushes, went hurtling across the screen. I was stunned. This meant that the old man was actually moving that slowly. I was amazed that anyone could move with such smooth control and grace, especially such an old man. A few seconds later we were back to blood and guts and watching a group of sound effects people dubbing on screams and punching noises.
I later found out that what I had seen was, of course, Tai Chi. I also learned that Tai Chi was both a martial art and a form of meditation - this is what I'd been looking for! There were Kung Fu classes everywhere as people cashed in on the current boom. Although I enjoyed the David Carradine Kung Fu T.V. series, which played a great part in introducing me to both real and fictional Taoist/Buddhist philosophy, I was not drawn to any of the local schools. I looked around for a Tai Chi class but found nothing. During the next few years I bought Da Liu's book "Tai Chi and I Ching" and tried to learn some of the movements, promising myself that if I found a class I would enrol.
Seven years had passed since I first saw the film of that old man in the park and a series of "coinsidences" led me to a demonstration by Richard Farmer. Since childhood I had always been very shy, and this was compounded by being told I was very shy. Initially my motives for studying Tai Chi were simply to learn how to fight and to keep people away. I didn't realise at the time that this attitude would only continue to compound my shyness and fear.
It wasn't very long before I discovered that RDTC wasn't about fighting, but rather how to not-fight, to use the principles to understand how to deal with conflicts both internal and external. This was a totally new and unexpected way of approaching life and dealing with problems. I began to learn how to be strong enough to say no, to walk away, out of strength rather than weakness. I am eternally greatful to the chain of events that led me to Tai Chi and Rising Dragon in particular.