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Article by John Singleton

We have asked several practitioners in the UKTQF how they saw the affect of Taiji Qigong and the Internal Arts on their life. This article is written by one of the up and coming internal martial arts practitioners in the UK, John Singleton. He is currently based in London.

The health, martial or religious arts are excellent. Even if only practised for a couple of hours a day, they can bring lots of health benefits and give you the tools to take care of yourself. But there is so much more to the arts than this; once someone starts to really study the arts (taiji-qigong) they don't just go home and forget about what they have just been practising. Whether it was outside in the park, or in a meditation centre, they take their practice outside of the training area and apply it to everyday life. The arts become the principles by which you live your life, so when you start to study the arts, as apposed to train in them, it becomes relevant throughout life, not just when you are in your training area.
Everything one then does aims to evolve around these principles and tries to make the arts relevant to everyday life. So when walking to the shops, driving in the car, or doing the washing up, you are trying to abide by the principles of the arts.

I got involved in the Chinese martial and health arts in my early teens, and it was the depth of the arts that fascinated me. I saw that when footballers, tennis players and rugby players are in their late 20's, they are reaching their "peak" and then that was it for them; but in the Chinese arts, the masters keep on developing and getting stronger till the day they die. It wasn't a 9-5 job for them, it was something that they did all day, everyday. That is what I liked about the arts: it can become every aspect of your life if you want it to be. It did have a large influence on my degree choice as I was interested in how the western perspective on the body coincided with the eastern.

I am now studying osteopathy and the arts have helped in this field of study, not just because of the similarities there are between the principles of the arts and osteopathy, of which there are many, but also in the focus needed to complete the course. It is difficult to explain how this focus comes about through studying the arts, but for me it is easy to see from looking at examples of people with the ability to get things done with seamless effort. This can be seen in lots of different professions, from brick laying to stock broking, and there are people in those professions who get the job done quickly and effortlessly, without breaking a sweat. In the arts this is seen as just one stage of development, of which there are many. This stage of development can be reached in many different ways depending on the student and how they learn. The arts can give you strong foundations on which you can build anything you want, be it studying a degree or working in a shop. With solid foundations it makes it easier to build, and the end product much more secure. So each time I lay down a bit more of my foundation, it makes it that much easier to overcome studying, exams, coursework or what ever else may be thrown at me.

John Singleton UKTQF


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