An old guys view of training at the Zhong Ding Centre.
Although arriving in the middle of a heat wave I still appreciated the warmth of the welcome from Nigel and his family.
That first cup of tea and a chat with Nigel and my fellow students will last.
There were of course many breaks with tea and talk, and from these I learnt a lot.
The training was hard but not beyond my capabilities, and because of my background of rugby and karate ( many years ago) I sometimes have a tendency to over do things.
However this was not allowed to happen as I was often ordered to take a break and rehydrate, as they say in Yorkshire “ee it wure ot”.
The training centre has an atmosphere that exudes calm over a layer of hard work and study. I am not that good with words but this is the nearest I can get to describe my feelings.
Whilst there I had a birthday with cards smuggled out from England finished off with Tiger Beer at the Nags Head
If you are serious about your tai chi, then I wholeheartedly recommend spending time training in Penang with Nigel and Fong. Age, fitness level and experience are immaterial, as Nigel tailors your training accordingly. It is hot, but not unbearable. Staying in the village at the Training Hall is a wonderful experience, particularly if you like quiet and peaceful surroundings. Provided you are prepared to listen to advice and train hard, you will learn an enormous amount in a short space of time. I would not have missed this experience for the world.
I have been impelled since my youth to live the dream; the dream of studying Martial Arts in Asia full time. I never believed it possible until I grew to understand of the facility in Malaysia and the teachings of Mr Nigel Sutton.
The Training Centre encapsulates for me the totality of what I sought. It has passion and purpose drenched into its foundations; equipment and space one dreams of, the soft creak of worn wooden floors, the weapons, the excellent generous teaching. The camaraderie of fellow artists, the air conditioned bedroom and sacred showers. The peace and seclusion of the mountains, the eagles that soar with the thermals at dawn. The hard tropical rains and the golden sun, the humidity that rolls down the bamboo stalks and the flowers that bloom. You can be exhilarated and exhausted simultaneously and watch all this as you sip hot tea in the Pondok smiling and sighing at the luxury of rest and the sweet grip of appreciation at finding finally, a place where you can spread your wings.
Books and fruit punctuate your day, laughter and song. Friendships made to last a lifetime and practical teachings and theory that will forever etch itself through your heart-mind.
You can find a stillness, you can begin to unravel and cast off.
From the stunning fragrant ocean road that leads you to the Training Centre to the excellence and generosity that await you, I can but only fiercely recommend that you delay no longer and seek out this experience that will fulfil and excite in every way the path you long to pursue.