About me and Lineage
I was born in Famagusta in 1955, my family decided to emigrate to England in 1956. After being away from home for 51 years and having travelled to many places in the world, I decided to return to my homeland and touch my roots once more. Having studied Tai Chi for thirty six years I eventually fulfilled my dream of becoming a Master and to return home to Cyprus to teach the art. I first took up martial arts in the form of Judo after having problems at school. However being small for my age I quickly realised that I was not strong enough to apply this art, and after two years and gaining a yellow belt along the way, I decided to take up Taekwondo which was more dynamic and offered me a real chance of survival. However my teacher left for Australia but before he departed he handed me over to his cousin who was a well known Wing Chung Kung Fu teacher. I studied with Sifu King Chan for five years before deciding to take up Tai Chi and this is where I met my final teacher Grand Master John Kells. I learnt all of my Tai Chi from Grand master John at the school in London along with the other students. I learnt all of my Qigong in China, after studying with a private teacher over a prolonged period. My philosophy was taught to me by my first spiritual teacher at a very young age and I continue to learn from them even though they no longer walk the earth. I am grateful to all of my teachers and stayed and honoured them all along the way of my journey. Mastering something only means to master ones self and that is it. I preferred not to advance in the martial arts after leaving Wing Chung, once I realised that I could find a way to truly grow spiritually and heal my soul through a combination of Tai chi and putting into practice the philosophy I have learnt over many years of living in a spiritual way, I knew that the way of revealing my hearts true nature was what I had to accomplish to become free from the binds and burdens of this life.
Be free, be in love with your life, be addicted to your life and live your life to full. Honour others, be humble and always know the great spirit is with you.
Grand Master John Kells
Grand Master John Kells (born 1940 in Dublin) started Tai Chi in London, 1967, under a student of Liang Tung-tsai (whom John also later studied with) called John Yelenesian. Chi Chang Tao (1919-1994): the top student of Cheng Man Ching (1900-1975) Yang Shou chung (1907-1985): the son of Yang Cheng-fu who taught John much about spirit. Hsieh Chi sheng: a top student of Chen Wei ming with many martial artist friends who also helped John in his Tai Chi studies. Master Hsieh also taught John Pa Gua and Hsing I. Liang Tung tsai (1900-2002): full of mischief and humour whose wife introduced John to Chi Chiang-tao. Wang Yen nien (1913- ): student of Chang Chin lin and of impeccable character with whom John studied power.
John opened the British T'ai Chi Chuan Association in 1970 and started teaching, mainly to train up people to Push Hands with. In 1977, after his principle teacher, Chi Chiang-tao (Dr Chi) had spent over a year in London bringing John up to a high level, he started teaching in a big way, with beginner's classes commencing monthly, until 1993. It is estimated that from 1977 to 1993 John taught over 10,000 students.
Dr Chi Chiang Tao
Dr. Chi was born 15th October 1919 and in 1937, Started studying T'ai Chi Ch'uan. In 1942 - 1944, Continued study under the guidance of Master Chang Teh-Fu whose teacher was Li Ching-Lin, whose teacher was Yang Pan-Hou - the eldest son of Yang Lu-Ch'an (the founder of the Yang school of T'ai Chi Ch'uan). For ten years (1955 - 1965) he Studied under the guidance of T'ai Chi Master Cheng Man-Ching, whose teacher was Yang Chen-Fu (nephew of Yang Pan-Hou). He also studied Chen style T'ai Chi Ch'uan and T'ai Chi sword with other masters in Taiwan, From 1959 - 1988, Taught T'ai Chi Ch'uan and T'ai Chi sword and sadly passed away in 1994, learning to love everyone and this teaching has been passed on to many and practised by few.
Professor Cheng Man Ching
Of all the modern Tai Chi masters, none have had the impact of the late Cheng Man-Ch'ing. As a child growing up in China, Cheng suffered from a chronic lung condition and a local doctor suggested that he take up Tai Chi to remediate his condition. Cheng proved so good a student that he not only learned Tai Chi, he also cured himself of his illness through his practice.
In many ways Cheng was a prodigy. He grew up to become renowned in his own country as a master of the "Five Excellences": painting, poetry, calligraphy, medicine and martial arts. When one considers the vast learning and diligent study it takes to master even one of these disciplines, Cheng's achievement becomes even more remarkable. His skill as a physician was said to be particularly uncanny and it is in this capacity that he was brought the the attention of Yang Ch'eng-Fu, the standard bearer and lineage heir to the great Yang Lu-Chan, founder of the Yang Family Style of Tai Chi. It seems that Yang's wife was extremely ill and the most prominent doctors had had little success trying to find a cure for her illness. Yang had heard of Cheng's reputation as a doctor and he agreed to examine her.
Cheng was able to successfully restore Madame Yang to health and in gratitude, Mrs. Yang persuaded her husband to accept him as a Tai Chi student. Cheng studied daily with Master Yang for years, enduring many hardships to learn the art. Although he later rose to become a great master of Tai Chi himself, Cheng, in typical modesty, always denigrated his own skill with respect to his teacher's. "If Tai Chi was a human body," he was fond of saying, "all I possess is the thumb. My teacher (Master Yang) has the whole body!" No small praise from this highly accomplished individual.
After an illustrious career as a physician, senator and martial artist in Taiwan, Professor Cheng emigrated to the U.S. where he ran a large Tai Chi School in New York's Chinatown section. Much to the detriment of us all, the old master departed this life on March 26th 1975, but his legacy lives on through his poetry, his painting, those he healed and those he taught.
Watch a new documentary about Great Grand Master Professor Cheng-man Ching
A documentary about the great Tai Chi master, Cheng Man-Ching, who brought his profound teachings West in the swinging, turbulent 60s. He is the schools, great, great Grandmaster in our lineage.
The Professor: Tai Chi’s Journey West will be the first feature documentary about the great master, Cheng Man-Ching. The story of a legendary man who brought ancient traditions to the modern world, teaching Westerners how to seek an ethical, open-minded, joyful, natural way of life. We've spent ten years filming, interviewing and gathering archival material in order to tell the fascinating story of how Cheng brought Tai Chi and classic Chinese culture to New York during the tumultuous 1960s.
“It is about time this wonderful teacher’s journey West was documented.” Tony Visconti – Musician, Producer, Tai Chi Practitioner