50 years in Martial Art stories

 

Jean-Louis Brodu

Paris (France)

I'd like to highlight one aspect of Dan's numerous achievements: the creation of the two short handforms. When he made the short handform, he craftily retained the "storyline" of the long handform in an abbreviated format, thus making the introduction to the style more adapted to our feverish day and age. He then made the advanced short handform to be more suitable for competition events in terms of duration and display of more complex techniques, while retaining their “hidden” applicative aspects. Thank you Dan for this and all the rest you’ve done to enhance the dedication of all the teachers and practitioners who have followed in your footsteps.


 

Charles Gorrie

Glasgow Scotland

Beneath trees

I’m thinking now of those days
All that time spent standing still
Those things we’ve shared
Dreams of those acts of will

Of Those three ones and their eight gates
The seven stars slowly turning round
Of four directions and those fates
The treasure hoard we hold inside
The pole star still that fixes us
In stillness on this holy ground
Of whole and broken we are made

Those things we shared beneath the trees
I’m thinking now of those days
When we sheltered from the rain
And the sunshine when the summer came


 

Geert Van Loo

Ostend, Belgium

8/88. Covent Garden was the final destination of a London daytrip that August. I was 18 and had started teaching Yang taijiquan the year before. I also practiced Southern styles but taijiquan had become my favourite art. I initially wanted a quick look at Dan’s Jubilee Hall class. Though I had a train to catch, he invited me to participate. I absorbed a lot that was useful those 45 minutes. I was also impressed with the high level of his students. It called for more! I ran for my train but the Ostend/Dover/London Jetfoil/Train connection brought me back many times!


 

Ladan Niayesh

Paris, France

‘Get fruit. Anything. Just not 4,’ said the inscrutable, laconic taichi master I had heard about for years, but only just met a few hours before. I had rushed in directly from the station in mid-seminar, suitcase in hand and out of breath, apologizing and trying to sum up as fast I could the story of my 6 years of practice with a younger taichi brother of his. He listened a bit, got bored fast, and ended up just pointing: ‘go practice.’ The day went by under his close, silent watch as I kept up with the group, through what I thought I knew, and what I was damn sure I didn’t. An eyebrow finally got raised when I asked if I could stay for the nei-gong, as I had been practicing the full 24 for several years. ‘Did you bai-shi?’ he asked. Did I buy… what? The faintest hint of a smile appeared on the face for the first time, and this is when the order for fruit came. By the time I came back with a big basket of one of each and every fruit available at the shop, the smile had finally turned to a frank laughter. Midway through the ceremony did I realise what a baishi was and only later how generous the offer had been to start his teaching by correcting my nei-gong. For this and so much more over 20 years of practice and friendship, merci Sifu!


 

Timothy Verhaeghe

Belgium - Zwevegem

I first met Dan when we went to the Dutch open in 1993. It has been a long journey with my teacher Geert and Dan. I regularly go to Dan's seminars in London until covid came. Now I try to follow the zoom sessions as much as I can. I'm really glad that Dan came into my training life because he has a profound knowledge of martial arts, tai chi chuan and an 'art de vivre'. The stories he tells of his time in Hong Kong are things I always look forward to in the seminars. He has a way of telling them that intrigues. Dan has done an immense job in martial history for many of us and I want to thank him for the journey. Best regards Timothy.


 

Kristina Martin

Sweden

I’m so thankful for meeting you and all the knowledge I’ve learnt these past 23 years. Tai chi has change my life in so many ways. Gotten me through some really bad times. Thank you for all you’re knowledge and support! I’m forever grateful!
I’m looking forward to many more years
Thank you Dan
From Ängla ang Kristina


 

Jessie Cazalés

Réunion Island

Hi Dan London1990
That afternoon I knocked at the door of a Taichi center. Unfortunately, I did not fit in. I was a visitor.Their terms were strict : annual fees and lessons payable in advance for a 3 month session. Last but not least I could not integrate a class once a session had started.
A week later I tried my luck at Jubilee Sports Hall in Covent Garden where I met you Dan .
Wudang Practical TaiChiChuan has since then been a beautiful journey Thank you Dan for your teachings.
I still have in mind that evening when some outsiders came and one of them asked you if he could punch you …
Voilà.
Ça s’arrose !
Jessie


 

Dov Weisberger

Israel

in august dan will have been practising teaching and writing 50 years of tai chi chuan. seems like a neverending story of the colonial boy from glasgow via hk and back to wake up sleepy europe... a fighter, knight scholer,a friend and a father,being source of inspiration to many by overcome life personal obstacles.
feel lucky to be your disciple more than 33 years.

We, israeli wudang people, wish you good health and more years of leading the art.


 

Ohad Weisberger

Israel

Dear Daniel Docherty, I'm so grateful to know you, for more than 33 years- many to come❗ All the best ☯️


 

Barry Glynn

UK

Fond memories of Covent Garden. Remember the first open competition that Dan Organised.


 

Korskrogen TaiChi

Sweden

We just want to say thank you for coming to us and sharing your knowledge. We wish you many good tai chi years ahead


 

matt

manc.

(i went || Dan came || i read Dan || i watched Dan) i learned. Many Thanks Dan.


 

Eddy Bett

Edinburgh

I first came across Dan, Cheng Tin Hung, Ian Cameron and Ton Chi Kin in early 1981 at Dunfermline College of PE [outside Edinburgh] where my Aikido training was taking place in the hall next door. The arrival of CTH coming from Hong Kong and Dan having won the Pugialistic competition the year before was reported in the Scottish Press, not lost on my Aikido Instructor Matt Holland [Slim's protogee] as the presentation of Internal MA. We went in to take a peek at Square Form corrections - at the time it seemed completely alien; but it left an impression on me. Life events [including serious hip injury] took their course before I ventured into Covent Garden in January 2008 to try out "the real stuff." Since then through many life adventures; I have come to know Dan's teaching, enthusiasm and resolute determination in dealing with Parkinsons at many places with many folk. I still reckon that I am barely scratching the surface, but it has been an excellent journey.


 

Kenet Nicholls

British Columbia Canada

I don't have a specific anecdotal story of tai chi and Dan, what I do have is nearly 30 years of relationship and respect. I only had the privilege to training with Dan for 4 years, but he set me on a path of a lifetime. More than technique Dan instilled in me the concept of 'principle'. Around Dan has grown a family of very talented individuals on whose online presents I can 'click' for corrections and inspiration. Sometimes living 'on the edge' of the tai chi world is lonely, at other times it is inspiring. Thank you Dan for being the sun around which many of us revolve and evolve.


 

Bruno Degaille

Montpellier - France

My story is a short one: When I started to learn Tai Chi, in south France, everything was new and magic, mystery, sometimes with a fairytales' flavour. A few years later it wasn't anymore. Stuck and tangled up, and no way to improve myself. Sometimes after training, the name of Dan Docherty was whispered. But what can I do? During several years I did what I could on my own. And a few years ago, I found Ladan Niayesh's email and wrote to her to explain my situation. She was really kind and help me to find THE solution: meet Dan and study with him. It's only 7 years since I study with Dan. So my little story is just at its beginning. Fairytales and magic? Ok, let's Practice and study, correct and improve, discuss and be happy when we are all together or connected. I really thank Dan for all, and all to come. Thanks to all my friends too, from this family.


Paul Silfverstråle 

Sweden

Dear sifu Dan 50 years of teaching. I remember you told us at the first instructor camp in Skövde that the renaissance man is an ideal worthy of the Tai Chi Chuan practicioner. The pen & the sword. You have truly showed that throughout the years. Inspiring, knowledgeable and innovative. There still are a few of us left since the old days and we now tell them about our teacher and our experiences together with you from days past. Thus immortality is achieved. The brother- and sisterhood that is a result from your leadership houses some truly remarkable and wonderful people. What you have structured and made clear to so many people in Europe is unmet I would say. On a personal note I will always be grateful. Meeting you literally changed my life, and that door that you opened up to Asia in my travelling days made all the difference. You also inspired me, pushed me and provided me with tools to overcome life obstacles. For that I will always be in awe and it always touches my heart when I think of it. From the depth of my Heart, Dan – Thank You. Paul Silfverstråle


Peter Ballam

UK

Thank you – for deciding to teach Tai Chi Chuan full time
Thank you – for accepting me as a student all those years ago
Thank you – for having an inquisitive mind and not accepting the status quo
Thank you – for researching and writing so many books that present the facts and principles in a practical format
Thank you – for organising so many camps and workshops throughout Europe
Thank you – for coming to Horsham to run camps and workshops over the years
And a special Thank you – for being a good friend particularly when my life wasn't so great
 
Despite your best efforts, I still prefer whisky and beer to wine so I will be raising a glass (or three) of Fuller's finest to toast all our Wudang Family past and present:
 
"Here's tae us
Wha's like us
Damn few,
And they're a' deid"


 Mattias Nyrell

Sweden

50 years in martial arts - what an achievement! Thanks for everything you have shared with us. We hope you are having a great event! Congratulations from Swedish Wudang TCC Association and all your Swedish students! The long game goes on... Mattias Nyrell on behalf of SWTCCA


 

Ramon Moral-Abad

Spain

I wish I was there, but since I am not , I would like to write a few words as a way of thanking Dan for his part in what the practice of taichi has meant to me all these years. Taichi is for me and, I dare to say, for anyone who decides to take its practice seriously, a whole lot more than a martial art. As a physical activity it caters for and adjust to the needs of the practitioner more than any other sporting activity I know of, providing you with a multilayer of benefits; as a social activity it gets you on the way of meeting many great people with the option of visiting interesting places.

For all the contributions that PTTC has made and continues making to my living, I thank you, Dan, for the crucial part that you have played and still do. ¡Viva sifu!
Best, RMA


 Stephen Wooster

Canvey Island Essex  

I first heard about Mr Docherty in 1986 and having a previous background in Japanese MA, I went along with some friends to learn just the hand form and improve my Karate. Little did I know that this man would change my life as I embarked on my Tai chi chuan journey under his stewardship that would take us around the world to visit some fantastic places and meet interesting people. I have many wonderful memories one of which was in my first lesson I was introduced to a method called pushing hands, let’s just say I thought I knew a few things and was very strong but after being bounced around the church hall and getting to know the floor really well I knew this man had the goods. Lastly from me it is a great testament to Mr Docherty that he has truly created an international family with people from all colours creeds and various religious denominations all working together under his Practical Tai chi chuan clan.


Sue Eagles

UK


Sifu Dan

As a younger member of your tai chi family, I have not had the pleasure of knowing you for very long, so it is an honour to be able to attend the training weekend which celebrates your 50 years of Martial Arts.

It appears that we both started out in martial arts at a similar time, enjoying – and surviving Shotokan Karate in the early 70s. Unlike yourself though, martial arts did not become an important part of my life until many years later.

And all too soon, age creeps up and health problems take their toll for all but the lucky few. The thought that I might have to give up martial arts was a truly depressing one.

Luckily for me, it was a case of ‘Enter the Dragon,’ in the form of PTCCI, and I am very thankful. It exceeds all my expectations of what a martial art should be, brings surprises, challenges and has improved my health for the better. All this in the company of like-minded people who have become my friends.

Have you made a difference to my life? Very much so!

Thank you Sifu Dan and may you continue to light the path for many years to come.


Rosa Horcajada

Aranjuez

El Taichi es un instrumento muy valioso en nuestras vidas: ayuda a mantenernos EQUILIBRADOS en nuestros pensamientos y acciones, CENTRADOS en el ahora, con la INTENCIÓN y la PERSEVERANCIA necesarias. ¡GRACIAS DAN POR COMPARTIRLO!


 Niall Keane

Claremorris, Mayo, Ireland

Insightful and incisive! Beyond the evident martial ability to do and to teach, which is a rare enough ability in any case, I've always been most struck at Dan's ability, when coaching, to deliver the most apt and necessary advice to a student that they need at that precise time. “pure gold dust”, I've often described it to fellow practitioners and students, “Pay attention!” I've advised. I cant count how many times I've received such considered advice from Dan after being evaluated (in performance, ability and motivation), advice that provides months of work, that transforms martial ability to an entirely new level. The advice can be technical, tactical, strategic or motivational.

When I first entered a TCC class in UCD, it took a while for them to warm to me, I wasn't entirely blameless, it took me a while to, in turn, warm to college life, this gentle, almost effete world of veneered respect and respectability... Finally after a couple of years, and throwing a few of their veterans around the mats, and watching those I encouraged to join get to baishi before me, I got through the required recommendation off the bureaucrats (Don't worry I love ye guys!) and so introduced to, and baishi with Dan. The following day he pauses long before my early attempts at form, and says: “I know you can intellectually understand this, but can you physically apply it?”
I don't know if anything more motivating could have been said to me at that time? I was deaf to the acknowledgement of my intelligence, platitudes mean little and are rarely sincere in the world I came from, I heard the challenge to my persistence, resilience and intent though (the fundamental survival tools), through a menacing Glaswegian accent (does it have another tone? ) and even worse, beside all these happy Costa Del Dalkey students, to whom hardship is a foreign country. Challenge accepted! And of course, commitment to myself undertaken... that's significant, but perhaps it takes certain experiences to understand that?

What can I say? Practical Tai Chi Chuan changed the trajectory of my life at that point, and it was Dan who introduced me to and presented the challenge of the renaissance man ideal, it made a lot of sense! ( and a challenge I still set before me, and strive to achieve.) I'd lost many good friends back in the day, lives cut short, Life is precious! I guess I hold myself to high standards, perhaps attempting to make up for the lives they didn't get to live. My martial achievements are respectable and acknowledged on a national and international level, my architectural work has been exhibited by my national institute, I've been on stage recently to commemorate an old pal, playing his tunes on guitar and vocals with his old band mates on front of several hundred people, It was an honour to be able to do that. My library consists of over two thousand books, all hopelessly devalued with highlighting and annotation... I guess I've a thirst for knowledge, a hunger for experience and consequent understanding, a lust for life as Iggy said?

Musashi tells us: “think lightly of yourself and deeply upon the world”. But the first time I encountered a similar sentiment was back at the beginning when Dan advised a number of us:
“Aim for the stars and you might reach the moon”

At the core of all this personally adopted “dao” is the inspiration of Dan and his martial arts, the foundation that has allowed me to integrate many aspects of my life with an “approach”, an intent, and a method to extract meaning and purpose from seemingly disparate elements, indeed to unify them. A willingness to sacrifice, to see the distant horizons, and accept the difficult terrain between such points, to put in the time and effort to whatever requires such. To understand its value, to understand “meaning”. To understand gung fu!

And I look around, I see quite a few who likewise received, or continue to receive the oral instruction, and walk the path, and who can likewise point to personal achievement beyond the martial. The martial art of Practical Tai Chi Chuan has, I suspect, become a frame for many? a model on achieving the desired result, or at least of reaching the moon!

I have kept away form the personal relationship beyond martial arts between Dan and I, its not the theme of this page, I'll just say his support has been there at a time and in a way that will not be forgotten and always be valued. Clearly, I'm not alone, when one reads the posts here, and reflects upon the number of people from so many cultures and places that this weekend wish to celebrate Dan's journey through martial arts, its evident that his dao has intersected with and benefited and inspired many!

So thank you Sifu! May you enjoy the celebration and many more years of Tai Chi Chuan! As they say over here, may you escape the gallows, avoid distress, and be healthy as a trout!

Seo sláinte do naimhde do naimhde

Niall


Stephen Chisholm

Madrid

I have been a student of Practical Tai Chi Chuan on and off since 1988. First with one of Dan’s students, Chun, and then with Dan himself at the jubilee halls in Covent Gardens and at different seminars.

I have learnt so much about tai chi, martial arts and life to in general from Dan. For me his knowledge of the system both theoretical and practical far surpasses that of other sifus. I am honoured and proud to be a part of his family and wouldn’t change it for any other.

Thanks Dan.


Nick Revell

London

Dan makes me think that Mencius was not always right.