Mary Ann Kennedy
When I began my practice, I was looking for relaxation and something that I could become “invested” in- something that was worth my time. Other exercise programs, though sometimes challenging physically, never seemed to hold my attention.
Wu style Tai Chi Chu’an, as taught by Sifu Martin Kennedy and Si Kung Wu Kwong Yu, has proved to be challenging, both physically and mentally. And yet, at the same time it is relaxing and rewarding. In order to improve and progress, one must practice as much as possible, but it must be focused practice. There is no room for anything else while practicing and this focus enables/causes you to “let go” of all of your other cares and worries and when you end your practice session, you are more centered and focused and better able to deal with the ups and downs of everyday life.
From a physical point of view, there are so many benefits… For me, the most obvious and beneficial is the improvement I have experienced in the condition of my lower back. I am tall. I have a congenital birth defect in my lower back. I have, as many people do, degenerative disc disease. My back had been in spasm most of the time since 1984. Before I started to practice tai chi, I had to seriously think about how I was going to tie my own shoes! I was 29 years old. It is not that tai chi chu’an cured my back. I still have the birth defect and the joints are not what they were when I was 12, but the body awareness that I have developed thru my practice has helped me to recognize and change the detrimental, habitual patterns of movement and posture which were contributing to my back “problems/pain” in the 1st place. The whole practice is about paying attention to your own body and thru proper body alignment and extension, to get the body/joints to open up, allowing for both greater range of motion as well as ease of movement.
As rewarding as all of this is (ie not being in almost constant pain), I am finding it even more rewarding to be able to share what has been given to me with others who are seeking to improve their quality of life. I can’t do the work for you, but I love to teach. I have had to “struggle” with many things to get to this point, and I can use the information gained in my journey to help others with theirs. And the journey has only begun. When I first began, my body awareness was almost nil, and this after years of playing different sports, basketball, volleyball, running, swimming, etc.
As each layer of tension is discarded, I am able to move so much more freely than before I started this process of “letting go”. Between the lower back pain and the headaches (caused by tension in my jaw, neck, shoulders, etc), I am amazed that I could move/function at all. It is not an easy road, but it is well worth the effort! I don’t want to discourage anyone from trying it. It is simple, but it is not easy. We usually appreciate most what we have had to work the hardest to achieve. As one of our senior age beginners said just recently, “It’s tough, but I love it!” Me too!
And I haven’t even mentioned how much fun the martial side is. It is just as much work and the results are even more amazing. As you learn to control yourself, you can then begin to learn how to control your opponent. Not enough time to go into that now, just trust me, it is really amazing… Come and see for yourself.
None of the above would have been/is possible without the amazing understanding of Wu style Tai Chi Chu’an, the ability to teach and inspire that has been shared with me by my teachers. I am in great debt to both Sifu Martin Kennedy, my first teacher and since 1999, my husband, and to Si Kung Wu Kwong Yu, head of the Wu Family, who’s amazing art this is. Had he not come to Toronto, where Martin became his student, and had Martin not come to Fredericton, I have no idea where I would be. I am sure that my life has been greatly enriched by both of these amazing men. To say “Thank you” doesn’t even come close to the gratitude and appreciation that I feel.
Deputy Chief Instructor - Fredericton Academy, New Brunswick
July 1996- Began to practice Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan as a student of Martin Kennedy.
Sept 1997- Began to assist Sifu Kennedy in his beginners level classes at U.N.B., Bodylines, and O'Dell Lodge.
May 1998- Learned Wu Style Sabre Form with Si Heng Nicholas Langrick
May 1998 to present - Teaching beginners level classes at Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Fredericton
2000- Taught winter session beginners level classes at UNB & STU.
April 2001 to spring 2004- Taught a series of 6 week introductory classes for seniors at the Stepping Stone Centre.
January 2001- Learned the Wu Style International "54 Competition Round Form" with Si Kung Wu Kwong Yu.
June 2002- Became Disciple of Sifu Eddie Wu Kwong Yu.
Summer 2002- Learned Wu Style Sword Form with Sifu Martin Kennedy
Sept 2002- Began teaching intermediate level classes as well as two set of morning senior age classes at the Fredericton Academy.
March 2003- Began Saturday morning "Health Class" at the Fredericton Academy.
Spring 2004- Learned 14 Form Spear form with Si Heng Jonathan Krehm February 2005- Became Certified Instructor in Wu Style Tai Chi Chu’an, certified by Si Kung Wu Kwong Yu.
TEACHING LOCATION: for class information, please visit the Learning Centre Page from the Menu Bar
Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy:
328 King St.
Fredericton, New Brunswick
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