Frank Pring has been teaching Chen style Tai Chi for the last 18 years and been studying Martial Arts for more than 25 years.
“I started to do karate because I used to go to Japan. I loved the Eastern approach to life and then I decided it was a bit too aggressive for me, a lot of impact so I looked for something else. I discovered Tai Chi and I’ve been doing it ever since.” said Frank.
Is Tai Chi a more gentle type of exercise and what are the benefits?
“Tai Chi can be everything, that’s the beauty of it. You can be 9 years old or 90 years old and both get an awful lot out of it. Or you can be a budding 20 or 30 year old born to martial arts and that will suit you as well. The Chinese realised a long time ago, probably thousands of years ago, that if you’re going to go to war then you’d better be pretty healthy and fit, so the exercises we do are to improve your balance, your joints, your muscles, muscle tone, ligaments, your posture and a general sense of well-being, a clear head.”
Is it difficult to learn?
“It depends. I would say it’s not difficult to get an awful lot out of Tai Chi. If you want to study it for the full art, it can get quite interesting as opposed to difficult. In the classes I run I love seeing people learn. It depends who you are, quite often people have forgotten the art of learning, but I don’t meant that to be disrespectful as we get to a certain stage in our lives where we accept things the way we are and the thought of learning can be quite difficult. So when I see people break through that barrier, actually see them studying Tai Chi, learning to move differently, I see the posture change, I get a lot out of that.”
'If you are enjoying yourself you're more likely to learn…'
Frank runs several Tai Chi classes with LinkAge across Bristol and his previous career of 20 years as a Personal Development Consultant, has meant that he has been able to transfer some of his skills to his current job. “I believe if you are enjoying yourself you’re more likely to learn. The main class structure is exactly the same but I teach everyone differently, so everyone’s an individual. One of my concepts is that if you want to treat everyone fairly you need to treat them individually. So everyone comes into the class, we get a relationship going and then we’re working independently with each other within the class.”
'My oldest student is 95…'
There is no age limit to Tai Chi and if you have a disability then Frank can adapt things. “My oldest student is 95 years old now and I’ve another guy who is 85. They are fantastic, very flexible. If you have a disability then we’ll have a talk about things. I’m quite happy to see what we can do. If someone is chair bound we can do some exercises and we can try and make things different.” says Frank
Tai Chi classes take place at Shirehampton Public Hall, Station Road on Thursdays from 2pm – 3pm. For more information please contact Laura Burchett at LinkAge on 07930 559 293.