Taiji Survey


University of Wales Lampeter

MA in Eastern and Western Approaches to the Body

Tai Chíi Practitioner Questionnaire


I am seeking your views as part of a study into Tai Chíi (Taijiquan) for a dissertation I am carrying out at the University of Wales, Lampeter; your contribution would be extremely valuable, and I would be grateful if you could respond to the questions below by email.


Questionnaires are being sent both to respondents active in the field of Tai Chíi, and to respondents from the medical and scientific community as an exploration of traditional Chinese and modern western views. 


There is obviously potential benefit in increased understanding of tai ch'i, and in realistic assessment of health and martial aspects.  The implications of the study may impinge on the relationship between traditional Chinese explanations and theories, and the world views supporting modern science.


Please note that while the questions specifically mention "tai ch'i", they topic is meant to include tai ch'i ch'uan, pakua, hsing i, i ch'uan, li he ba fa, ch'i kung, or any other similar relevant art.


Thank you,


John Evans


Your Contact Details:- please insert enough details for me to get in contact with you in case any answers need further discussion.

I think the website pretty much covers that

Your personal details:- please list your title, surname, forenames, age and gender(if not obvious from forenames).

Ditto as above  -  they call me "Paul"    thats Mr. Paul and I enjoyed a very pleasant 50th birthday last week

Please state if you are willing to be identified in the dissertation or if you would prefer your anonymity to be protected by a pseudonym.

Ditto as above  

In your replies to the questions below, please just type the question number and your response. 

Q1.  Do you have any qualifications you have in science or medicine?  PLease list your professional and academic qualifications and main sphere of Work or interest, as this may be relevant to understanding your points of view.

my qualifications?

a decent education, a quick brain, sharpened by being lucky enough to work for some genuine world class geniuses in my earlier years and some occasional common sense and luck

A bunch of "O" levels and some water polo medals from the 70's

an HGV licence and over a million miles driven in 20 odd different countries

ten or so years as a Member of the Institute of Sound and Communications Engineers

an entertaining year at the College of Integrated Chinese Medicine in Reading

self employed and self supported since 1983

a Taiji practitioner since 1984

a Taiji teacher since 1989

main interests - helping others to enjoy good health and happiness through the study of Taiji and Qigong, healing, meditation, exorcisms: surviving in good health and being reasonably happy whilst doing so, caring for my loved ones: 

an occasional bit of treework, fencing or landscaping, flying a kite, sword play, watching fish swim or grass grow, making stuff

Q2.  Are you a master, teacher, or student of tai chíi?

I am a Taiji Teacher, a workman and a student - the term Master is only of value when freely given by others, and in my observed experience although many claim it (and I’ve seen most of them) there are very few worthy of it

IMHO the term Master, when claimed, usually indicates that the claimants view of the world is somewhat coloured by the self perceived radiance of their own personal glory

Q3.  Are you mainly interested in tai chíi for health and exercise, martial training, or all aspects of tai chíi? 

Yes - all are required and desireable: however I specialise in Healing

Q4.  How many years have you been practicing tai ch'i?

Since 21st June 1984 - about 24 and a half years

Q5.  How many years have you been teaching tai ch'i?

 I took my first public class in 1989 - very nerve wracking it was too

Q6.  Which style(s) do you practice?  (include other internal and external martial arts).

Cheng Man Ching & Yang Style, Heaven Mountain Style, NanPai Taiji 37, Taijwuxigong, E-Mei Qigong, YiJing Jin, Buqi Healing, Meditation 

Q7.  Do you practice standing ch'i kung, ch'i kung movements, neigong, self-massage, meditation?



Q8.  Do you practice form, fast set or pao ch'ui, pushing hands/tuishou, Sanshou, sparring without gloves, sparring with gloves, Weapons? 

Yes -  I have done all of the above in the past - I no longer spar, I prefer swordplay

Q9.  Have you experience of contest pushing hands, full contact contest with gloves, observing tai chi in a street fight, using tai ch'i in a street fight, sparring injury?

Yes I have experienced all of the above - never had a serious sparring injury though thankfully

Q10.  Have you ever experienced, witnessed, been subjected to, or exerted kong jing/action at a distance?

Yes - I have very extensive experience of all of the above 

Q11.  Has tai ch'i affected your resistance to injury, and your ability to strike effectively?

I have never had a major injury and have virtually never been ill ( well a couple of odd weeks in 50 years ) so I can personally guarantee that Taiji helps in this respect  

Its so long since I hit someone (or even something lol) that I couldn't really say for sure but I reckon so       


Q12.  Do you know of someone who has been healed as a result of practicing tai ch'i?

Very Many 

Q13.  Have you been healed as a result of practicing tai ch'i?


Q14.  Has  tai ch'i affected your personality?

Very Much so - to the good 

Q15.  Has tai ch'i increased your general vitality?



Q16.  Has tai ch'i a spiritual and philosophical meaning for you?

One of the 4 levels of Taiji practice is the Spiritual level; philosophy is sometimes a useful tool so Yes. I used to think of Taiji as essentially Daoist but now I practice in a Buddhist way. The basic difference? Daoists aim to accumulate chi, thereby keeping the negative factors that can lead to illness. Bhuddists give out, thus constantly expelling the stagnant chi and replacing it with new fresh chi (as much as one can in our polluted and overactive society).

Q17.  Is tai ch'i a meditative practice for you?

The meditative aspect of Taiji is one of the foundational practices - if you can't make yourself quiet enough to hear whats happening how will you decide what to do? 

Q18.  Could you accept scientific explanations of tai ch'i?

Sure, but I'm not a scientist. I believe with certainty that there WILL be a scientific explanation one day but I don’t think current technology is up to it yet and so I'm not sure it will emerge in my lifetime. Got any good ones now? 

Q19.  Describe your own particular sensations of what you call chíi, and your experiences of jing and shen.

Chi (in this context) is the kinaesthetically detectable movement of internal body fluids due to the organisation and alignment by the will of cellular vibrations in the body. In plain english, you can feel and direct stuff moving around inside you.

Jing (to me) means the ability and strength to stretch the spine upwards. In TCM this is called Kidney Yang and considered to be a function of Jing.  This stretching resists, slows and even reverses the gravity driven pathological narrowing of the intervertebral spaces that results in what we in the west call aging. From a western perspective people get shorter because they get older: in my view people get older because they get shorter. Again, you can physically feel it.

Shen is mental attention, concentration of the mind, spirit or (most literally) the light that comes from the fire of their spirit and shines from a persons eyes and their ability (or not) to control, direct and and regulate it. It can be cultivated through practice, particularly of the sword. 



Q20.  What would you do, or say to convince a sceptic that it would be worth trying tai chí in order to experience its claimed benefits

Nothing. Why would I try to convince someone of something they weren't interested in? Its their life to do with as they wish and they get to live with the consequences of their choices, just like I do. It would be different if they genuinely asked for help; then in most circumstances I would probably try and help them.

I only teach people who actually want to learn

Please add any other comments you wish to make.

If you want a close insight into some of these things you have a very excellent and genuine local teacher and practitioner with immense experience, Mike Henley, who you could contact here:-


Thank you for taking the trouble to share your views.