Tai Chi beginner or experienced practitioner
Whichever you are you will find much to ponder about Tai Chi here.
This book concerns the arts of Tai Chi, Self Defence and the philosophy out of which they were born. Written without the use of obscure technical terms it will appeal to anyone interested in knowing what is behind those flowing, meditative movements. Howard has been a student and teacher of Tai Chi and self-defence since 1973 and brings a fresh approach to this fascinating subject.
If you are on a mission to discover the true depth of Tai Chi, then you will find much to interest you within these pages. There are no techniques, no strange sounding names, no chest pounding. Instead, you are invited to seek the wisdom within. Howard shares his understanding gleaned from his own experience of practising Tai Chi and related arts since 1973. A collection of thoughts, arising from everyday occurrences that bubbled up from deep within. As he saw, with eyes imbued with knowledge, gained from countless hours of Tai Chi practice.
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By Master Howard Gibbon
Master Howard Gibbon, a practitioner of the Taoist Arts since 1973, was a student of the late Tai Chi Grand Master Chee Soo for twenty-one years. Through dedicated practice and regular personal training with Chee Soo Howard was awarded the highest Tai Chi grade issued by the Chee Soo. Howard has guided Tai Chi many students to Instructor levels and continues the work of his Master in regular classes, weekend seminars and specialised workshops all over the country. Howard has also conducted seminars for the Education Service, Mental Health Authorities, Keep Fit Associations and taught in Jersey and Northern Ireland where he was sponsored by Londonderry County Council.
Howard has had several articles published in newspapers and magazines on aspects of the Taoist Arts. Details of his other available publications are listed at the back of this manual. Howard has made a personal commitment to pass on the teachings he has received in a way that he feels follows the true spirit of the Arts.
This book was born of the realisation that as we move through life our existence changes in ways we could never envisage. I use the metaphor ‘Butterfly Boy’ as a butterfly starts life as a caterpillar becomes a chrysalis and then blossoms into a butterfly. At last having shaken off those past restrictions, it is able to experience a freedom it could never have dreamt of. This first book in the series is of Butterfly Boy’s early years and is based, as are the other forthcoming books, on real life experiences. One that if as a young boy who dreamed of being a train driver like his beloved granddad you had told him what he would grow up to become instead would have said you were insane.
Then again as a young man in the forces who now dreamed of being a successful business man like his other grandfather, less loved than the other but most certainly respected for his achievements. If you told him then what he would become a Tai Chi teacher later in life, he would again have said you were insane.
Student of a Master now retitled: ‘You Me And Tai Chi’
Having read and enjoyed Butterfly Boy I was keen to read more from Howard and learn more about his personal tai chi journey. I knew Student of a Master would be a different kind of book but I was delighted to find the same wonderful and easy style of writing I have come to associate with Howard Gibbon. Howard has a way of explaining things in an interesting and relatable way. He is clearly a very gifted martial artist but also a very clever wordsmith.
Student of a Master is a collection of personal thoughts about the important things in life combined with Taoist philosophy learned from his late master, Chee Soo, and his martial arts practice. Howard uses stories and analogies to explain Yin and Yang, the Tao and the art of Tai Chi. I found the book insightful, interesting and useful, especially Howard’s thoughts on children’s self-defence and raising children. In particular I could appreciate the chapter on Love, fortunate enough to be able to relate to what he was saying. Those who are interested in the history of the Lee Family arts will enjoy the chapter on Chee Soo, although the whole book is imbued with thoughts from the late Grandmaster through snippets of the conversations he and Howard shared. Howard’s clear understanding of the Tao and his balanced, calm way of looking at the world is a fitting tribute and testament to his master, and I believe one day someone will pay homage to Howard in the same way.
Kate Popplewell – Wakefield
Dear Howard, I recently finished reading your book “Student of a Master” which you were kind enough to let me pick up in person recently. I did enjoy it very much and found your writing style wonderfully straightforward and clear. It gave a nice sense of what to expect from learning Tai Chi in a class as well as starting to understand the principles behind the ancient philosophy of Tao and some sense of the different aspects of the training of which I knew very little. I particularly enjoyed your personal recollections of your own introduction to the training and later interactions with your teacher. Perhaps I am just nosey but I always enjoy reading authentic accounts of a person’s actual experience. Your book gives a flavour of various aspects of the whole and I agree that “You, Me and Tai Chi” would be a good title – less abstract. I also very much liked the way the book is seeded with nuggets of perennial wisdom, such as ‘it is only the heart that can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye’.
I also liked the section on children’s’ self defence which seemed to be right to correct misunderstandings, having seen parents’ behaviour at the sidelines of sporting events myself I can just imagine what you might have to deal with. I was also very struck by the chapter “Together We Can” which is so packed with information and ideas.
All good wishes to you and Gisela.
I had to write to you having read your book. I found it so personal that it humbled me how you could put across your belief in the Tao and Tai Chi so. You covered things that on the one hand opened my eyes and on the other made me realised I already knew! I am reminded of a couple of sayings that help me explain how your book came across to me.
– Learning is being reminded of what you already know – I would add to this, “by a good teacher”
– The best way to learn is to teach.
Thank you very much for your insights. I have a feeling that your book came to me.
Kind Regards, Brian – Harrogate
Very informative and helpful – Peter Howells
Howard skillfully introduces and explains to the reader all the key elements, philosophies and health benefits gained as a result of T’ai Chi Health Arts.
I must admit that my first thought was, ‘what on earth will I find interesting about Tai Chi?’ After reading the first few chapters I was surprised to find my interest growing and wanted to read more about the philosophy of Tai Chi. I liked the way you linked everything to modern living which put things into perspective. Your own experiences of learning the Art and enthusiasm made me want to read on. There were some instances where I disagreed with your philosophy but the style you have written in allows the reader to have their own thoughts without any pressure from yourself that you are ‘right.’ Your final chapter summed everything up beautifully.
I would recommend this book to anyone who would like to become involved in Tai Chi as well as people like myself who have preconceived ideas about Tai Chi, it will give you food for thought.
Anilea – Canada
This book will interest you if you want to find out more about the Lee Family Taoist Arts and the influence these arts have had on the life and teaching of Howard Gibbon. Howard is a Master instructor of Lee Family T’ai Chi and through his Association and the collection of instructional DVD’s he has produced he is the foremost teacher of the style today. “You, Me and T’ai Chi” was first published in 1997 with the title,”Student of a Master”. The original title paid homage to Chee Soo, Howard’s teacher, and the individual through who we have received the Lee Family Taoist Arts. Today, so long after Chee Soo’s death, the original title might be a bit obscure to new readers. Nevertheless, it is Chee Soo as mentor and teacher who helped Howard develop the insights and philosophy that he shares with us in this book. This is a book about one mans exploration of the Lee Family Arts and the Taoist ideas, practices and philosophy from which these Arts spring. It is part biography, part reflection on the Arts, part record of some of Howard’s experience of training with Chee Soo. You won’t learn how to practice Lee Family T’ai Chi in the training hall by reading this book, however, you will gain an insight into how dedicated practice of the Arts can lead to your T’ai Chi reaching beyond the classroom and finding its way into every aspect of your life and what you think is important. You may or may not agree with the insights and conclusions Howard has drawn from his practice of the Arts. If you are interested in T’ai Chi, Chee Soo and the gentle way the Tao has of helping shape our experience of life in the world then you will probably enjoy this book and the stories Howard tells in it.
This Book relates Howard’s personal insights & experiences spanning over 20 years of studying the various “Lee” Arts.
I urge anyone with even a mild interest in T’ai Chi Ch’uan or Taoism to buy this book.
You will not be disappointed.Having met the author, he’s a very humble & likeable individual.
Whose relaxed / laid back manner gives no clue as to his skill in these various Taoist Arts.
Likewise, this Book can be browsed through looking at individual chapters that interest you.
But it’s also a Goldmine of Information for the serious student of T’ai Chi.