Inksplott Interview: Tai Chi with Dan

A new class launched recently in Splott, providing Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan at the Old Splott Library on Singleton Road on Thursday evenings.

Excited that a new class was available in Splott, Inksplott asked Dan a few questions:

Inksplott: Hi Daniel, thank you for being interviewed for Inksplott.  Please tell us a little about yourself and your business.

Dan: Hi my name is Dan and I am a Tai Chi Instructor.  I have been doing tai chi for about 13 years and in 2015 I was accredited by the International Wu Tyle Federation to teach.  Teaching is something that gives me a lot of pleasure.  It is so satisfying to see students developing their skills and their passion for tai chi.

So, what is tai chi and if you were to join a class what might you find going on there?  Many people have heard of it and the popular image is that of a group of people moving slowly in unison, somewhere is a park.  If you plan to come along to one of my classes, the session would look something like this: we open with basic exercises, often referred to a warm ups.  I prefer to call them loosening exercises as they are designed to keep joint relaxed and muscles flexible.  We work on the hand form (the chuan), which is what most people associate with tai chi.  There is partner work, known as push hands.  We also learn Qigong (breath or energy work).  These are individual moves rather than the flowing moves of the form.  There is some learning around standing meditation.  This is not connected in any way to a specific religious heritage but is rather about learning to relax at a deeper level.  

There are different styles of tai chi that often evolved from martial art families in China.  Wu Style an example of this.  The current Grandmaster Eddie Wu Kwong Yu is the 5th generation family member to teach his family style.  There are some video clips on You Tube for those who would like to learn more about the style.      

Inksplott: How did you get into this?  Can you please tell us a little about the history of your business?

Dan: I have for many years been interested in the Chinese philosophy of Taoism.  Tai chi principles are based on Taoism.  I joined a class in 2009 after a holiday in China.  After practising for a few years, I discovered a college course on teaching tai chi.  I thought it was time to give something back to the art I joined up.  The course was run by my current tai chi teacher and as they say the rest is history.   

Inksplott: And how come the business is in Splott?

Dan: Following accreditation, I assisted my teacher with a class in Pontypridd.  Once confidence developed I, along with a fellow practitioner, set up a class in Ferndale in the Rhondda.  About 4 years ago my teacher moved out of Wales.  He had previously expressed a wish to set up a class in Cardiff.  It seemed a sound idea and I set about the task myself.  When looking for a suitable (and affordable) place to practice, The Old Library was mentioned on more than one occasion.  I was immediately taken by the venue, not only by its suitable size but also by how friendly and welcoming all those concerned with the project were towards the class being a success.  We are still few in number but now is the time I feel for use to grow.      

Inksplott: How much does it cost for your products / services? 

Dan: If you are interested in finding out if tai chi is for you, I suggest you come along to give it a try.  The 1st lesson is a taster and therefore is free.  After that It costs £5 per class.  Classes take place 7pm on Thursday evenings.  On rare occasions the class does not happen so if you are coming for the 1st time it is best to check before turning up.  07837 912817.        

Inksplott: Tell us a secret or something about Splott that we won’t know.

Dan: I know vey little about Splott but I am hoping that the class will attract people from the locality and that through them I can get to know the area better. 

Inksplott: Any exciting plans or events on the horizon?

Dan: The goal as mentioned is to build the class.  At some point in the future, I plan to set up a full day workshop.  I will look to invite some practitioners, skilled in different aspects o tai chi.   

Inksplott: How can people follow you online?  Do you have Facebook, Twitter or a website?

Dan: I don’t tend to post learning online as I believe that it is easy to miss things when following a video clip.  There is a Facebook page i.e., Wu Tai Chi Chuan South Wales.  Check it out.  Also if you have any questions please phone. 

Inksplott: That’s great – thank you so much for the interview!