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I began the Tai Chi in 1987 whilst at college for my BA Hons in Social Science. The format was brought to the UK by Lam Kam Cheun and the praxis is known as Zhang Zhung. It took a while to notice it was not standard Tai Chi, I was shown a lot of chi kung so I just practiced it. If I recall the first couple of years were pretty boring. Zhang Zhung, it turns out, is the spiritual home of Tibetan Buddhism.
In this rather dull period tai chi wise we’d practice sword forms, Choi Lee Fut (kung fu form), 2 man forms, push hands, technique sparring, touch sparring, wrestling and massage. The other guys and girls would sometimes also kit up in protective gear and batter each other in full contact sessions. After about four years tai chi is more interesting in itself at a stage called Man or awareness.
It’s easy enough to write about this now but one does become aware of something tangible. From about 1992 I took an interest in both the local spiritualist church and a meditation called Knowledge taught by Prem Rawat (also known as Maharaji). As it turns out our local mediums had strong links with the Silver Birch book and post war mediumship in the UK.
For four years I was taught rather personally by Maharaji and his instructors. I’d stand up in front of thousands of people or in small rooms and ask questions. First time I saw him in Brighton I stood up and said give me Knowledge. He was nice to me even then now I think about it and just said don’t stick it in a box. After lots of travelling around and many questions later I received the techniques of Knowledge at a plush Hotel in Gatwick Airport, conveniently situated for Maharaji to take off to some other part of the world.
No longer an aspirant for Knowledge but a Premie (trad. translates as divine lover) I turned my attention to studying with the Tibetan Lamas. Many are the heads of lineage such as H H Sakya Trizin, Dzogchen Rinpoche and Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche. More extensively with Tenzin Wanyal, and his teacher Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche who taught me Chod, Bardo, dream yoga, Five Elements and an unusual transmission that can be summed up as nothing more than “leave it as it is”.
I am particularly grateful to Khensur Lobsang Tenzin Rinpoche, Lama Doboon Tulka, His Eminance Luding Khen Rinpoche, Khenpo Tsulrim Rinpoche, His Eminance Rizong Rinpoche, Lama Khemsar, Lama Lekshey and Namkai Norbu and Ringu Tulka.
From 2004 - 2006 I went back to college to study media and video production having sold a late 18th century basement flat that my father and I restored. Filming and lounging around a good while with Nik Turner from Hawkwind I also make trippy videos. I like to mention him as he really is a great inspiration for getting up and doing things. That and his lyrics and associated artwork appear to have shaped UK culture to a large extent. Kd