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Tai Chi Chuan was developed as a Martial Art around 500 years ago, and although its' beginnings are disputed to some extent, it was certainly based on both Martial Arts and spiritual disciplines dating back thousands of years before that. Its' essence is to realign the posture, and teach the body to move in a relaxed, natural manner. As internal tensions are released, and we begin to use the muscles and skeleton together more efficiently, the natural energy of the body increases. The body can then heal itself, and internal power can begin to develop. When the movements are practiced correctly, they also form very powerful Mindfulness exercises - the benefits of which have now been widely accepted by the NHS, after many clinical trials have shown effectiveness in a wide variety of Mental and Physical Health areas.
While many students come to our classes in order to improve health and work on stress related issues, Tai Chi is also a highly effective Martial Art. The head of the style - Grandmaster Chen XiaoWang - is acknowledged by the Chinese Martial Arts Authorities as one of their leading Martial Artists, and has won many competitions against many different styles. Mark has worked consistently for many years with Grandmaster Chen, his son Chen YingJun, and one of his top disciples in this country, Karel Koskuba, to develop both his skill as a health practitioner and his abilities as a martial artist.
It is the beauty of the Internal Arts that they can be adapted to take into account any disability, although those with more severe problems may find it necessary to have some individual tuition before graduating onto the group classes.
Principle Instructor, Mark Leonard, is one of very few practitioners to have dedicated himself to the full time teaching of these arts for most of his working life. He has taught full time since 1986, and his qualification as a Senior Instructor with the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain guarantees a minimum of 20 years high quality teaching experience. He can teach all aspects of Tai Chi Chuan at all levels, and studies with some of the top masters in the world. Mark has a very dedicated approach – focussing very strongly on what his students need to practice, and more importantly HOW they should be practicing it in order to produce the maximum benefit. Whether you are interested in improving your health, on whatever level and for whatever reason, or whether you are interested in a top quality Martial experience, Mark is totally committed to providing what the student wants.