GUIDE TO ZEN..
Local martial arts instructor John Oliver Peel is heading up a new Tai Chi class at Bracebridge's Georgian College campus this week. His book Tai Chi Journey will be the official textbook of the class. (Submitted photo)
Students of a new tai chi class starting at Georgian College this week have a home-grown syllabus from which to study.
Temple Knights martial arts instructor John Oliver Peel will be heading a tai chi instructional class at the school’s Bracebridge campus this Friday, Jan. 11 with his book Tai Chi Journey as the official textbook. Peel, who teaches martial arts in both Muskoka and the Pembroke area, says his book is unique in that it translates information on the martial art into a language that beginners in Canada can understand.
Most books on tai chi, he says, tend to be directly translated from Chinese, which can be confusing for western audiences to follow.
“I simplified a lot of the theories and principles,” he said of his book. “(Traditional books) tend to get a bit poetic and mystical when people read it.”
The concept of “chi”, for instance, is traditionally described as internal energy in original texts. Peel says western audiences, however, get a better grasp on the concept when it is described more empirically as electromagnetic or photo magnetic energy.
“It’s actually scientific,” Peel said of tai chi’s concepts.
Peel says his book was not written to serve as an instructional manual, but rather as a guide that highlights the theory and principles behind tai chi.
He had penned the book a few years ago, but until now only his students at Temple Knights have been studying from it. He says the tai chi has a variety of applications, which include strengthening the body’s immune system from illnesses.
Peel’s class is geared mainly towards entry-level practitioners, and runs for a period of 12 weeks at the college. He said the Bracebridge campus brought him on board after success with a similar program at its Barrie campus.
The class runs from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Friday.