"My name is Tim Swarbrick and i've been at the Lancaster School of Tai Chi Chuan for about a year and a half now. My background is in Black Tiger Claw Kung Fu and Jiu Jitsu in which I still train.
A friend had recommended Paul's club to me as a good place to train in Lancaster and on meeting Paul by chance, I decided to go down and give it a go although i'd no knowledge of Tai Chi.
I realise looking back that for some time due to some changes in my martial arts system, i'd been looking for something else to add to my general training, something deeper. A lot of the way i'd been used to training relied on me going all out. It wasn't necessarily how i'd been trained, my teachers previously had been highly regarded, skilled instructors in their systems, it's just that "crash, bang, wallop" had worked for me and I still think sometimes there's a place for that.
On starting the first class at Paul's I found it was just what i'd been looking for: great warm up, then on to applications of techniques and forms with lots of emphasis on correct balance, footwork, body mechanics and above all, basics. Doing slow, deliberate practice showed up faults i'd probably had for years and helped to address them. I found from week to week something more to work on, particularly in the bouncy, elastic energy Paul referred to as "peng".
It's hard to describe but during martial arts practice, or real life come to that, there's a way of doing a block or strike just right while staying relaxed with no brute strength involved. Suddenly your training partner goes spinning off or crashes to the mat and you seem to have done next to nothing! That's the use of "peng". This is central to the training in Tai Chi at Paul's club.
We all have days when no matter how we try a particular technique it doesn't go right. The harder you try the worse it gets. Then on another lesson you almost seem to disengage your brain, relax and... "pow" it works! "Peng" again.
Training at Paul's isn't easy but it's very rewarding. Practicing Tai Chi forms without training in the full on application would be hollow practice. You get the full deal at this club. The attention to detail he shows his students is second to none. As a result your improved balance and well rooted stances help you achieve, or get closer to, the correct use of peng energy. This i'm sure is a lifetime journey and you find the practice at Tai Chi seeps into your everyday life.
Finally I would recommend anyone from any school of martial arts to train with Paul. I'm sure you would find it improves the practice of your own style and your quality of life."