I'm Lee Welch, the founder and instructor of Tai Chi Globe Academy. The Tai Chi Globe website is also my creation. As you'll guess, I'm passionate about tai chi and qigong! These amazing arts made a lot of difference in my life. I had already discovered a deep sense of calm from mindfulness. But when I found tai chi and qigong, it took my existing practices deeper. More importantly, I noticed how many solutions tai chi and qigong offer us all, at this critical point in human history. What astounds me is how few people know what tai chi and qigong are. Or how much difference they can make to your life.
My journey with tai chi and qigong began in 2015. I started attending classes with Sifu Keith Fensom, founder of the Yangsheng School of Tai Chi and Qigong. It felt like I'd discovered my own Mr Miyagi (the fictitious teacher in the popular films, "The Karate Kid"). He even talked about wax on and wax off during the first class, another well known reference from the same film! A former karate expert, Sifu Fensom is a black belt in tai chi. You won't see him wear it. He has such a humble and gentle manner, typifying what it is to be a great tai chi master.
Keith's influence on my life went further than bringing me into the world of tai chi and qigong alone. When he discovered my open mind and thirst to soak in knowledge, he pointed me to a variety of information sources that challenged my world views. He became not only my Mr Miyagi but my Morpheus (from one of my favourite films, "The Matrix"). Unlike Morpheus, Keith did not warn me my life was about to change from the information he was giving me (the red pill)! But that's another story. What's important here is, as a result of this knowledge, I no longer wanted to be part of the financial industry.
For 25 years, I had a career in the financial industry. I'd fallen into it at the age of 18, impressed by marble floors and people in suits. I developed a wide range of skills during that time, from world-class customer service to business analysis and project management. But I'd long held the belief the goal of each of us should be to align our skills and passions with our livelihoods. So, at the end of 2018, when the opportunity came along to take voluntary redundancy, I took it with both hands. If I was to practice what I preached, it had to be then or not at all.
When I told Sifu Keith, my intentions to leave the financial industry, I was surprised by his response. "Why don't you teach tai chi?", he said. At that time, writing and my passion for bringing together community was forefront in my mind. After further contemplation, though, I realised he raised a good question. During my previous career, I loved training people, even though the subject matters were usually dry and dull, compared to tai chi. I love people too. It then occurred to me. I didn't need to abandon my ideas around writing and community building, in favour of teaching tai chi and qigong. I could bring all of the aspects together. There is so much to write about when it comes to tai chi and qigong. They go back thousands of years and surprising stories about them are still unfolding everyday. And what better way to bring community together than through the practice of tai chi?
To prepare me for my path as an instructor, I intensified my personal training. I attended a first aid course. I went onto study at the British Health Qigong Association to become a certified instructor for them. It was a huge honour to receive instruction from Professor Wang, Master Tary and Master Faye Yip.
I started to instruct in June 2019, starting solely with one class every Friday (see here for details). They are held in my hometown, Aylesbury. I have a number of regular students, and I always look forward to seeing them.
I love teaching tai chi and qigong. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing students begin their own journeys, witnessing their progress and hearing about the differences tai chi and qigong are already having on their lives.
But I know that for them, even as it is for me, this journey has only just begun.