Health Tai Chi in Devon


Leave a comment

The Secret Life of Fascia

Written by Sifu Nick Taylor

Published in July 2018, this documentary is a beautifully crafted look at what has been until recently a mis-understood and hugely undervalued body system, #fascia.

How, as upright humans, do we move? How do we generate and transmit force (strength) throughout the body? How do we stay upright? How do supposed weaklings overcome great obstacles and forces without any clearly defined muscle mass? The answers to these questions and many more are starting to emerge in the new discoveries about how fascia connective tissue works.

Fascial connective tissue has been used to great effect by humans over many hundreds of thousands of years for hunting and trapping – giving us the ability to run for hours on end without tiring, even giving Bruce Li the ability to generate an ‘elastic’ type of power that with only a subtle amount of body movement can dump a 250lb fighter on his feet – transferring energy through his body that that starts with the big toe and ends in the fist, utilising full activation of all of the body’s fascia at the same time.

Check out this fascinating free documentary on YouTube:



Leave a comment

Fibromyalgia and qigong

Written by Karen Yeandle – Qigong Instructor and Fibromyalgia sufferer

Fibromyalgia is a condition that involves widespread pain in soft, connective tissue eg. muscles, tendons, ligaments and particularly shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees and ankles. Other symptoms include sleep deprivation due to pressure being applied to joints when laying down-reduced sleep depletes brain serotonin which increases pain and a vicious circle ensues. Depleted serotonin also causes impaired memory and, for some, depression. Many sufferers report bladder weakness, IBS, unstable core temperature, jumpy legs, numbness and tingling. There are even anecdotal reports of a connection between fibromyalgia and keratoconus of the eyes.

The exact cause of FM is unknown but certain factors predispose it’s onset i.e. a combination of one or more of the following:- trauma, serious accidents/infections, psychological stress e.g. death of a loved one. It also has a genetic potential. This combination of environmental and inherited factors effects the central nervous system.

There is no diagnostic test so symptoms are looked at as a whole with a certain number being registered and other factors ruled out. Currently in the UK 2-8% of the population are affected with women affected roughly twice more than men.

Standard treatment is with opiates e.g. amitriptyline and antidepressants which also work on reducing nerve pain, along with advice to “get more sleep” (far easier said than done!) “diet change and increased exercise”.

I was ‘diagnosed’ with FM c12 years ago having seen numerous GPs and specialists over 2-3 years until one consultant put the pieces together. Like most sufferers, I was prescribed the full range, all of which left me feeling foggy and unable to fully function. I felt I had no option than to stop taking them. Although acupuncture reduced pain and inflammation, increased exercise resulted in tendonitis of both Achilles’ tendons plus golfers and tennis elbow. My sleep deteriorated as pain woke me to turn every 8-10 minutes; my IBS worsened; bladder control was impaired; I could no longer kneel or squat; I could only shower, because I had no strength in my arms or legs to bath; I couldn’t clench my fist‘s; get up or down from the floor or sprint in an emergency. Although I was fortunate not to suffer depression, I struggled to resign myself to the fact that my life was significantly limited and deteriorating.


A friend suggested Qigong for its health benefits and after extensive research I found an excellent teacher in Alda at HOM in Dawlish and started in November 2016. Qigong which includes stretching, lengthening and strengthening muscles, tendons and ligaments (amongst other physical and mental health exercises) very soon resulted in improved sleep and significantly reduced pain. Such were the notable benefits I started practicing most days and can now bend, stretch, close my hands, stand on one leg, squat and balance. Qigong has been ‘life improving’ and such is my belief it’s exceptional benefits, I further studied and qualified with the British Health Qigong Association as an instructor myself.
Recent controlled trials (Jana Sawynok & Mary E Lynch 2017) also demonstrated noteworthy effects of Qigong on FM where when practiced 30-45 minutes per day over 6-8 weeks, benefits included reduced pain; improved sleep, physical and cognitive function, memory and mood state. FM continues to be the subject of research but to date it appears the greatest success in combating the debilitating symptoms of FM is the regular practice of the wonderful health preserving benefits of Qigong!!


About the Author: Karen started Qigong 2 years ago as she with struggling with an ever-deteriorating medical condition that had been diagnosed some 10+ years previously and it had been suggested by a friend of a friend that she try the benefits of Health Qigong. With regular practice the improvement in her overall health was so significant that she decided to study further and, having been a tutor and instructed classes of an altogether different nature in her former career,  she went on to qualify with the British Health Qigong Association (BHQA) in May 2018 as a Qigong Instructor herself. Karen now teaches 3 Qigong classes at Cockwood, Dawlish and Exminster, Devon.


My personal story of tai chi chuan

It all started in 1997 when my best friend from Spain moved to China to learn Chinese. I was living in Portugal at the time, and decided to go and visit her. It would be my first trip as a student before entering the professional life. It was also my first trip to a land with such a different culture to mine, and I was mesmerised by everything I saw.

One morning, we got up very early to visit the Great Wall of China. I was really excited to be so close to see one of the world wonders and I couldn’t wait to get there. However, on the way to the train station, one scene made me forget about the Great Wall of China, and changed the course of my life. At a park on a hill, in the middle of a turbulent urban chaos, I saw some Chinese people moving in the most peaceful way I can remember. When I asked my friend what that was, she inattentively said: “That? Just some people doing tai chi.”

Soon after that trip, I moved to Ireland and started to look for tai chi classes. I went to the Yellow pages (Internet was only used by a minority at that time), and found a school in Pearse St. I got lost. I was late. I couldn’t find the place. I went home discouraged, and I joined a yoga course instead. First attempt failed.

Years later, I found Jo McLoughlin and Terry Christie. I trained with them for about 1 year in Yang style 24 movement form. They were patient and adorable, but Terry’s advanced classes were really hard on my knees, so I decided to quit. Second attempt failed.

In 2005 I found Tai Chi Ireland. I learnt wu and yang styles, and different qi gong sets. I trained hard, attended workshops, practised at home, read about tai chi…Third attempt lucky.

Since then, I’ve trained with different teachers, and now I am currently training with Master Liming Yue and other chen style teachers. I got an accreditation to teach chen style tai chi and heath qi gong by Master Liming Yue of the Tai Chi Centre, Manchester.

“Moral of the story”: Do not get discouraged, keep on trying, train, have fun, practise. If you drop out, come back. And always remember “Every movement counts”.

Leave a comment

History of tai chi chuan

In my first class with a new group of students, I generally explain that there are many theories about the origin of tai chi chuan. We may never know who started it, or how tai chi came to be, but two main theories compete for the position of right history of tai chi chuan. Since tai chi is a martial art, it is not surprising that there are two theories opposing each other in a verbal fight.

In this post, I will introduce you to 3 articles:

1)      Theory of the Wu Tang mountain monk as originator of tai chi chuan:

2)      Theory presenting Chen Wang-Ting from the Chen village as father of tai chi chuan:

3)      Article presenting both theories, summarized in a beautiful way:

Enjoy your reading and do not forget to do some practice! Remember: ‘Every movement counts’!