AL DORAN - MARTIAL ARTS COMMANDO
I last played rugby when I was 16. I quit because in a game with fellow students, I ended up at...
1. How (and when) did you start?
My first encounter with Tai Chi came in the form of one of Linda Chase Broda’s students who was doing a Tai Chi demonstration at the school near Manchester where I was teaching. That day , a whole new culture and philosophy combined with physical activity opened before me. I quickly realised that it was not possible to learn Tai Chi from a book. I found a teacher, Steve Ford, one of Dan’s students, who was teaching close to my home. After a few years with Steve I was introduced to Dan and martial Tai Chi at one of Dan’s workshops in Stockport.
2. Why Practical Tai Chi Chuan?
I started with Practical Tai Chi Chuan but had no desire to change despite attending many local seminars and events such as Tai Chi Caledonia where I met several distinguished teachers from other styles and gained insight into other arts such as Bagua. I preferred the emphasis on practical applications of the forms to what for me were the less challenging health aspects of the art.
Having met Dan there was no looking back. . I liked having a Head of School who was constantly researching and revising techniques. He introduced me to the sabre. The weapons were a particular interest moving me on from a brief encounter with European fencing. Goaded by my youngest son I found my way to London workshops. When my son’s interests changed I continued following Dan to a number of UK and European locations. I rather reluctantly accepted a teaching certificate from him, but I soon realised that in the absence of a local teacher teaching was my way forward. My young students were keen to compete, not wishing to subject them to something I hadn’t done myself I entered competition with a moderate amount of success gaining medals in hand and sabre form. I am now involved with judging.
3. What is your favourite technique - and why? (in 50 words)
My favourite technique has to be beginning style. It encompasses philosophy, health and martial and it is the start of everyone’s unique journey through Tai Chi. It starts to develop potential.
4. One piece of advice or knowledge you would like to give to fellow practitioners:
I encourage students to do what they can when they can and to ‘go to the source’ whenever possible.
5. How do you train now?
My personal practice focuses on the nei kung and I train with Dan whenever possible. The past support from other local martial arts instructors particularly Karate, Kendo and Aikido teachers together with Carl Burgess and his willingness to include me in his monthly fight club sessions, not to underestimate Dan’s ongoing patience have provided me with the insight to guide more martial students towards suitable training and workshops. My professional background and tuition from a number of meditation instructors has equipped me to address the softer side of Tai Chi