It is my understanding that T’ai Chi originated in Ancient China over three thousand years ago.
However interpreting exactly what T’ai Chi is depends upon the family style you are following. Many are based on a slowed down martial art.
In the early seventies, the era when the phenomena of Bruce Lee exploded onto our television screens, all styles of martial arts wanted to be known as a fighting style filling up small localised classes with students wishing to learn impressive dynamic fighting techniques.
Today however more people are interested in improving the quality of their own health. A lot of the same fighting styles now slow the movements down to promote better health and well being.
I personally have only ever studied the Lee Family Style under the guidance of Grand Master Chee Soo. The Lee Family Arts are taught solely for health benefits. Within the Arts we have several disciplines including the T’ai Chi Form, T’ai Chi Dance, Stick, Sword, Silk, Nunchaku, K’ai Men, Chang Ming and Feng Shou.
The art of K’ai Men or Taoist Yoga taught within all our T’ai Chi classes offers movements that are separated into two parts. First the breath is harmonised with the movements, followed by a slightly stronger extension of the movement. Everyone is encouraged to progress at their own pace, working within their own limits, never forcing the body. Through this gentle but progressive practise greater flexibility is achieved.
Practising the art of Chang Ming is also available to students who wish to improve their diet. Primarily Chang Ming is a health diet but students eating in this way will also experience their body finding its natural weight.
If you wish to learn a dynamic fighting technique, the Lee Style offers Feng Shou (Kung Fu) a gentle self-defence easily practised by men and women alike.
To help people remember the movements of our vast array of movements. I currently have nine books in print along with several manuals, all available from our online shop or at our courses.
Chee Soo wrote five books published by the Aquarian Press. Chee wrote about the history of the Lee Style tracing it back to Ho-Hsieh Lee circa 1,000 BC. It is stated that the Lee Family have always been Taoists and that the Lee Style is a Yin and Yang style, this means that everything within it is in complete balance and harmony.
Chee Soo occasionally spoke of his own Grand Master, Chan Kam Lee and told of how they had met during 1934 in Hyde Park in London. In those days there were very few Oriental people in London and the two became friends. It was a friendship that would change Chee Soo’s life forever. After Chan Kam Lee’s death, Chee Soo dedicated himself to preserving the Arts through maintaining the knowledge and wisdom he had learnt from Chan Kam Lee.
You can listen to a radio interview with Chee Soo at the bottom of the page.
While staying with my family and myself, Chee Soo talked to me about the future of the Lee Family Arts and the direction he wished them to take. Chee Soo explained that the Lee Style had always been taught to improve the health and wellbeing of the individual. On Monday the 16th May 1994 Chee Soo asked me to give him my word that I would not let the Lee Family Arts die. At that time, I was teaching fourteen classes a week within Chee’s Association. Sadly, Chee Soo died on the 29th August 1994. On the 13th January 1995 I established the LFA to fulfil Chee’s wishes and to make the Arts available for all by following Chee’s teaching.
It is with the greatest respect to Chee Soo that I offer my own writings and understanding of the lessons he taught me.
Listen to interview with Chee Soo