Tai Chi teacher in China

I came to China in 2008 to study Kung Fu. I was practicing Kung Fu in Belgium and came to China for the first time in 2007 to travel through the country of this beautiful martial art! I visited tourist places, like Yangshuo, Xi’an and Beijing and also went to Shaolin to see some real Shaolin Kung Fu. When I was in Yangshuo, I met a Kung Fu teacher who had a beautiful family style, BuDiZhen, a mix of Shaolin and Wudang Kung Fu.

 

I decided to live in Yangshuo for 1 year, study Kung Fu and then I thought of moving back to Belgium. Little did I know back then that my life would never be the same again…
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I stayed in Yangshuo and learned from my Kung Fu teacher for 2 years. I had some money saved, so I was an English teacher just part-time and I focused on learning a lot of Kung Fu.

But, after 2 years, I started to hear more about Tai Chi and how it helps you to cultivate your internal energy. I was intrigued by it and finally found a good teacher to teach me Chen Tai Chi.

From 2010, I started to practice Tai Chi. I loved the slow graceful movements, but also the martial aspect of it. Every movement represents a self-defense technique and it is actually hard work. I practiced really hard and went to a couple of competitions: in 2013, I went to Henan, Jiaozuo, the birthplace of Tai Chi to participate in an International competition and I got a gold medal and silver medal. The year after, I went to the World Championship, but didn’t get a medal there.

 

In 2015, I moved to Shenzhen and I started to teach Tai Chi to expats that I met here. I never thought I could be a Tai Chi teacher in China and I didn’t profile myself like that at first. Some people wanted to know a bit more about Tai Chi and because I could speak English, they asked me to teach them. Little by little, I started to be known as the ‘Tai Chi master’ and more people were texting me to know my teaching schedule.

 

I am teaching almost every month now and am having more and more students. I am thinking of a whole project to teach Tai Chi as a whole lifestyle: the movements, the history and the philosophy.

 

When I tell Chinese people that I teach Tai Chi, the first reaction is almost always: but you are not old! Apparently, for Chinese people you have to be old to practice Tai Chi. I always answer: “it’s because I don’t want to become old that I practice.” Because Tai Chi helps to balance your body and mind, makes your body stronger, you will not become old that fast.

 

I find it a shame that Chinese people don’t want to practice Tai Chi anymore. The new generation is not putting much value on it. I heard that in my country it is becoming very popular. The West is discovering ancient Chinese philosophy: Chinese medicine, Chinese arts and Chinese martial arts are all becoming very popular. But, in China they are becoming less and less popular. Do we, Westerners, in the future will have to teach the Chinese about their traditional culture?

 

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Exclusive Tai Ji retreat in Bali!!!

I will organize a Chen Tai Ji retreat in Bali from 18 May 2015 till 25 May 2015. This is mainly for beginners to give them some immersion in the world of Tai Ji and Qi Gong in a beautiful setting. So, they will be able to concentrate on Tai Ji during these 7 days, ask questions and practice by themselves. Places are limited! Please help me spread the word. If it’s popular, I will do this more often and invite more teachers – guest speakers to contribute.

This is the program:
18 May: welcome dinner

19 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

20 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

21 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: guest speaker (someone who has been living many years in China, learned
Tai Ji, Qi Gong, acupuncture, Chinese medicine will give a lecture
evening: Balinese evening with dance and buffet

22 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

23 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: free afternoon to do your own training or go into town and explore Ubud
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

24 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: 2 hours Tai Ji
evening: 15 minutes meditation + question round and share experiences

25 May: morning: 1 hour Qi Gong; breakfast; 2 hours Tai Ji – lunch
afternoon: last 2 hours of training
evening: free

The total cost is 1000 EUR, included a room in a very nice resort in Ubud, Bali, breakfast and lunch included, 1 welcome dinner, 1 Balinese evening, 1 spa treatment, guest speaker and all lessons + video of the form you learned.

If you or any people you know are interested, send me an email at: healthy-body-mind@outlook.com

Does religion still have a purpose? – personal reflections

I was raised a catholic, my parents, and especially my mother’s side of the family, are really religious. I had to go to church every Sunday, I went to a catholic school and I hated it. When I was 14 years old, after a few years already having doubts I turned an atheist. I didn’t want to believe that there is a God in the sky that watches over us and that punishes or rewards us according to our behavior. I want to believe in myself and I want to take responsibility for my own actions. So, I thought religious people as being weak, not standing up for themselves and not taking responsibility at all, just blaming everything on God or turning to God whenever something went wrong (a disease, any setback,…).

When I moved to China, I found it great, finally a country (and one of the few countries in the world) with no major religion! Even though, they have buddhists, muslims, christians, most people don’t believe in anything. The rituals they have is towards their ancestors, not towards a God. They don’t believe in a God in heaven or a God that will punish or reward you. So, it was great to hear people talk about their lives without the knowledge of all these religious fantasies and without any religious rules. Although, Chinese have also their own rules, which are based on mere superstition, on the fact that it will be unlucky or bring a disaster to your family, not because a God punishes you, but life itself will punish you for not doing something. Which the young generations also don’t believe and don’t do anymore as they acknowledge that it’s old folks superstition.

I just traveled to Bali and was in Ubud for 2 weeks and now I am in Thailand, in Chiang Mai. Bali is a Hindu country and Thailand a Buddhist (I will consider Buddhism a religion here, as I know it is not considerate that, but that’s a totally different discussion) country. I had a minor culture shock when I first arrived in Bali. It was marvelous! Everywhere you had the beautifulIMG_6519architecture with 2 statues in front of every entrance, I guess to protect the house. And every morning and afternoon you had a piece of a banana leaf or some sort with flowers on it, a bit of rice an incense stick burning on it, to respect their Gods. It was, again, interesting to see, but too religious to me, too many rituals and believing in external personified forces.

After a couple of days I started to notice other things. Balinese people are very friendly, they smile and say hello in a genuine way, they are very considerate on the road. For instance, they would stop to let you pass, or I was there when it was rainy season and they would slow down, when I was walking alongside the road as to not splash a lot of water on me. Balinese would also be very interested in you personally, they would ask things about you, but nothing too personal, they would respect you in a certain way.

Being in Thailand now, I see the same thing. Thai people are very nice, smile all the time, are very polite in a shops. They giveIMG_6847 you a good service in bars and shops (same in Bali). Of course, traffic all over South-East Asia is a bit crazy, but never as crazy, as I experienced in China.

Back to China: Chinese people are not that considerate, they are selfish in a certain way. They don’t consider other people on the road, they would run over you, if you would be in their way. They also invade too much of your personal space. Even if they don’t know you, their first questions are: How old are you? How much do you earn? Are you married? If you are not, they ask, why not? Too personal to me, even my best friends at home don’t know how much I earn or why I am not married, I don’t even know how to answer that. Also, the service in restaurants and bars is not that good. The waiters, waitresses, don’t know much about hospitality.

I don’t want to make China look bad, because it still has a big attraction on me, even though, I don’t understand much of that culture yet and how people think. So, it’s not a reflection of good and bad. It’s just the difference in attitude and whether this is linked to religion or not.

In any religion, you learn certain values: you learn to respect the others, to always be nice and considerate,…
A friend of mine who lives in Chiang Mai, told me that his motorbike never gets stolen here, as in China he got his bike stolen a couple of times. He also thought it is the buddhist attitude here and no religion in China.
I wonder, if it is religion or it is the mentality of the culture. It is hard to say, because culture is a big part of who you are and who can say how much that religion shaped your culture, because a lot of religions did and do bad things in name of that religion.

Getting ready for the competition

24 October is the World Championship Competition of Tai Chi here in China. And, I am selected in the Belgian team to compete with the Chen Tai Chi form. I am very happy and feel privileged to be able to join such a big competition!!

But, with it comes hard training… I am in Huizhou now, to learn from a different Tai Chi master. I am here 1 week now and have progressed a lot. My first training, she told me that I can’t possibly join the competition, that my Tai Chi is really bad (thanks for the heads up :P). Anyway, that didn’t put me down, because she really has a high level in Tai Chi and I already consider myself a winner just by being able to learn from her and this all in the Chinese language (which sometimes gives a lot of miscommunication as well).

1 week with practicing for more than 4 hours every day and she has given me a lot of exercises to work on, my body is getting stronger, but I am also getting tired, all my joints hurt like hell and I think I pulled a tendon in my hip. But, I am not giving up. I am counting on Chinese medicine to do a little bit of magic. Only 1 more week to get ready and my master is happy about my progress. She told me that I learn fast, which makes me want to try my best more and not to let her down.

I now have decided to look for a job here next year and learn more from her. She is amazing! And I am glad I found a Tai Chi master who wants to teach me thoroughly (for foreigners it’s difficult to find someone like that, because they don’t put a lot of effort in teaching foreigners properly. Most Tai Chi schools have become very commercialized, unfortunately).

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The square where I practice Tai Chi every morning and evening.

Huizhou is a beautiful city as well, very clean, not so polluted as other Chinese cities and I am staying with a lovely couchsurfer, who gives me more local information.
From here, I can work on my new business idea as well: teach Tai Chi and give workshops. Huizhou is near Shenzhen and Hong Kong, which gives me a chance to go to companies and give workshops as a form of team-building, and work together with travel agencies to teach Western tourists as well. I want Tai Chi to become more popular in the world and want more people to know what it’s all about. A girl may dream, no?

How about you? What dream do you want to fulfill? Did you put your heart and soul in something you are passionate about?

Differences between Chinese and Westerners – according to me

I have been living for 6 years in China now and I am still amazed by some differences there are and that make me smile…

First difference: Chinese love their food and to talk about it.

Chinese just love to talk about food. The first question they ask you is not: How are you doing?, but: have you eaten?
They love to point out the differences in food in different areas in China. Every time I step into a new class I go in with Western expectations. One of my first questions is: What is typical in your hometown? Expecting answers about certain buildings, a famous temple, beautiful natural scenery,… But, no, the only thing they all talk about is the difference in food and what kind of dishes are famous in their area. I once made the mistake of asking about something else that marked their hometown: a famous building, something about the scenery maybe? They were dumbfounded, were silent for a while, the conversation came at a dead-end. And then, I said, ok, lets talk about your food again and the conversation started immediately and they were very enthusiastic again. Really funny that we in the West love to talk about typical buildings or maybe the occasional drink or dish, but not as elaborately as Chinese people.

Second difference: sleep wherever you can.

Something that keeps on amazing me is that Chinese can sleep anywhere, anytime in any position. Throughout the day, you see Chinese sleeping at tables, on the ground, on benches in positions that would feel very uncomfortable to me.

Third difference: Chinese love noise

Chinese supermarkets, shops are very noisy. They have big speakers blaring annoying music all day long. I felt sorry for the employees, but it seems that Chinese love noise. A Chinese friend told me that noise means busy, means that something is interesting enough to go to, otherwise it would feel dead. Westerners like quiet environments, which feel uncomfortable to Chinese.

Fourth difference: you need to be able to drink alcohol in China or you’re not in.

If you want to do business with Chinese, you’d better have a high alcohol tolerance. Chinese like to do business over dinner (where they hardly eat) and with good ricewine (白酒), which you have to drink bottoms up all the time. They toast during the whole dinner and if you don’t drink it bottoms up, you get angry remarks, which can be heated sometimes. The first few dinners I had like that, I was attacking the food, because I wanted to fill my stomach with food before having too many glasses. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work, you get wasted anyway, because, of course everyone want to have a toast with the foreigner and you end up drinking more than everyone else. When you don’t refuse a drink or a toast, you ‘give face’ to your host.

Fifth difference: Chinese don’t require the same amount of privacy as we do

We, in the West, are very private people. We are very sensitive and need our personal space. Chinese have less need of this. Upon meeting you, Chinese will immediately ask you if you are married, have kids, how much you earn each month, your age,… All questions that we avoid, certainly at a first meeting. Chinese can also stand really close to you while they are talking to you and have no problem with it. I always take a step back because I need a lot of personal space around me, but then the Chinese will move closer to me again. Although, in the West we are touchier with friends: we will give them a kiss on the cheek or hug them. With our partner, we will walk hand in hand, or the man will put his arm around the girl. In China, I see less signs of affection. They don’t really touch each other while greeting.

Our culture has a big effect on our lives. Who we are is, for a big part, determined by our culture. Please share your ideas with me about this.
If you want to talk about this, you can book a free skype-session with me on: https://www.sohelpful.me/kathydeleye

Who suffers from stress? This is the cure for it!

Do you have stress? Here is a way to get rid of it!

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