It had been a dream of mine to go to China since I was a young boy, and a few years ago, I was fortunate enough to fulfil that dream. I have a keen interest in Tai Chi, Bagua and Qi Gong, which are all Chinese Internal Arts, and found the ideal academy in Yantai; Kunyu Mountain Shaolin Martial Arts Academy, located in the northeast of the Sandong Province, surrounded by a beautiful mountain range. It was a fabulous opportunity to indulge in Chinese culture and I trained with authentic Chinese Martial Art Masters for a year. During my first few days of arriving at the Academy, I found the training to be very intense and hard on my joints, so suffered when doing flexibility work as my body didn’t have a chance to rest properly causing constantly tight and sore muscles. I went from having the ability to touch the floor with my hands, with straight legs, to barely being able to stretch below the knees. Old rugby injuries began to raise their ugly head and I was in horrific pain for 3 months whilst doing Tai Chi and Bagua. I realised that being 48 years old and weighing 17.5 stones wasn’t at all healthy and went on to lose 4 stone whilst fasting. I felt great and my flexibility and stability improved tremendously so Tai Chi subsequently became so much easier. During my final four months in China, I refined my forms and passed my grading for the 74 Chen-style Tai Chi to become a qualified Tai Chi instructor.