Sophia's Peace Work

Friday, June 10, 2005

Teaching Tai Chi Chuan in the Middle East

I've been studying Tai Chi Chuan, an ancient form of Chinese Martial Arts, for about four years now with the Gilman Studio in the Pacific Northwest. When I came to the Middle East, I looked around for a class to join but found few pickin's ... some hard style forms and Akido. I toyed with the idea of taking the Akido class ... the teacher looked good and it would have been good exercise ... but I just didn't feel like a class where I would spend half of my time getting thrown to the ground and having to pick myself up again time after time.

It's hard, especially if you are a woman, to get exercise here in the Middle East. You just don't see alot of women out and about running or playing sports ... it does happen but to just go put on a pair of jogging shorts and hit the streets is king of out of the question ... atleast in my neighborhood ... where I am already a bit of an oddity. I'm generally pretty shy and have no wish to stand out.

After searching, without success, for a Tai Chi class I could join ... I decided to try my luck teaching Tai Chi at one of the hotel health clubs. It just so happens that one of the closest to me (within walking distance) is the health club at the Meridien Hotel ... a very posh joint that was originally built, I'm told, for the Arab Summit (i.e. it was designed for high security). There happens to be alot of Iraqi-related conferences and trainings at the hotels and loads of Iraqis come and go from the place (a few weeks ago, I saw Ayad Allawi, the former PM of Iraq, in the lobby).

Anyway, I happened to meet the man who ran the health club and he was very interested in having me teach. I've taught two classes so far at the club (we are up to Right Push Upwards, Roll Back & Push). It's a bit nerve wracking teaching other people (though I've only had one student who has ever done Tai Chi before ... 20 years ago ... so they really can't be too judgemental of me!) but in the end it will be worth it ... I've finally got a good place to get some exercise and I'll become a much better Tai Chi player by teaching.


  • Hey Seafu Sophie, good going! Whoa, I didn't realize I could post comments on your blog.

    Now, if only we could play push hands this way! Pang.

    By Anonymous Vinny Pollina, at June 13, 2005 9:14 PM  

  • I was looking for blogs about tai chi and came across yours. I have whats referred to as a hard style Karate School and this is something we've been contemplating adding to it. Great blog you have and I've enjoyed reading the posts on it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2005 5:01 AM  

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