Tai Chi Comes to Rye

Stuart Innes first became aware of Tai Chi when he was involved with oil exploration in China in the early 80s.

On his return to London he studied the Chen Man Ch’ing style of Tai Chi with a pupil of Nigel Sutton the world-renowned teacher. He was soon invited to join Nigel’s own association; Zhong-Ding and has studied various Tai Chi subjects; Broad Sword, Push hands, Short Staff, Da Lu, etc.,

Now based in East Sussex. Stuart runs classes in Hastings and in Rye.

                      What is Tai Chi Ch’uan?

To most people Tai Chi is a slow moving form of gentle exercise that has become associated with relaxation, stress relief and health improvement.

Some people will also have heard that it is a martial art. All of this is true.

Tai Chi promotes natural correct posture. Throughout the exercise the cardiovascular system is gently exercised. Because of the positions the student adopts throughout the movements, strength is gradually increased, especially in the legs. By holding the spine in correct alignment and turning and moving the waist, the student stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that results in a decrease in heart rate and dilation of the blood vessels resulting in improvement in the circulation. This is the body’s restraint on the flight or fight syndrome and is of vital importance in lessoning the effects of negative stress.

The practise of Tai Chi not only benefits the body, but also the mind. The form that is learnt consists of many different movements. The mind is so absorbed by this that day-to-day worries are left aside. This results in a perceptible increase in mental sharpness and self-confidence as the student becomes more proficient.

Every posture that is learnt by the student has martial application. Those students who wish to learn the selfdefence aspect of the art will learn how to apply the principle of the art in order to divert an aggressor’s attack and counter attack.

When asked “What is the most important reason to study Tai Chi?”, Master Cheng Man Ch’ing replied, “The most important reason is that when you finally reach the place where you understand what life is about, you’ll have the health to enjoy it.”

You can learn the Cheng Man Ch’ing style of Tai Chi here in Rye on Thursday evenings at the Rye Sports Centre, Grove Road (7:15 – 8.45). It is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness.

                         The Herald of Rye

Over 100 years ago “The Herald of Rye”, a magazine very similar in it’s aims to “Rye Own”, was published by Harry Davis who lived at ‘Watlands’ Udimore Road. Harry was involved in many Rye Clubs and Committees. He was Secretary of Rye Cycling Club and Rye Sports Day Committee, so was the ideal chap to edit the local magazine. The following competitions were announced in an 1897 issue of The Herald.

The Herald of Rye offers a Prize, Value 10/- (winners choice from the stock of any local tradesman advertising in these pages for the best Street Snap-Shot of M– —– —-, whose name will only be furnished (in confidence) to Competitors who intimate in writing their desire to compete, and who above their signature write the words: “I agree not to divulge the name given me to any other person.” Coupon No.3 must be attached to the communication.

It must have been quite a puzzle to the ‘victim’ having all these photographers taking snap-shooting him in the street. I don’t think “Rye’s Own” will want to copy this particular idea of Harry Davis, in this day and age there might be arrests for ‘stalking’ if we did!

Another competition Harry organised in The Herald of Rye was for :-

                         “Window Gardening”

To encourage the extension of this most important item in the town’s attractiveness The Herald offers a prize, value one guinea, (winners choice from advertisers stock) for the best pot plant (flowering) shown at the August Show of the Rye & District Gardeners Society on condition that the plant shown has been for a month previously in the window of the competitor’s home and visible to the public passing. The winner of this competition will get a copy of The Herald of Rye Free for Six Months.

Now this is an event that “Rye’s Own” could revive, especially in this year of 2004 when Rye has qualified for “Britain in Bloom”. We will have words with Lorna Hall the Rye in Bloom Chairman and find out in what form the competition should take but it will be open to anyone within the Rye boundary. “Rye’s Own” will put up the prize and full details will appear the March Issue.

Rye’s Own February 2004

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