MY EARLY TRAINING BIOGRAPHY WITH BRUCE FRANTZIS
WU STYLE TAI CHI
is heavily adapted from the original one on the old site, but it's here
as a number of people in the past mentioned they liked the story...just
re-checked some of these details with Trevor who just did some training
met Bruce Frantzis the first time in 1987 it was a one day course which
introduced the Bagua Zhang rolling step that had been taught by Bruce's
first teacher Wang Shu Chin. I must admit I was suitably impressed not
only by Bruce's skills, which were very clearly on show but also by the
willingness he displayed to give advice and teaching in the Internal
I approached Bruce in one of the breaks to ask for some advice on
something I had been taught by my then Tai Chi teacher-a Japanese woman
who was teaching me the 24 step Beijing Tai Chi set back in my hometown,
Brighton. I won't go into details but this woman was teaching me things
about the Chakras, the energy centres more often associated with Yoga
than Tai Chi and I was a little concerned by the "side effects" of
continuing these practices.
Anyway I explained a bit of this to Bruce and before I got to far he simply asked
"What's your name?"
"Jamie." I replied.
"Well,Jamie don't mess with that s***."
It was brief advice but it summed up what I was feeling from the exercises I was pursuing.
Bruce expanded by telling me to read up more around the topic of Yoga
and its energy work before taking any further steps in practise and
pointed out that such training often requires the regular prescence of a
teacher to fix any potential problems or prevent a small problem from
walked away happy to have got some good advice-especially without
having been made to feel like I was in danger of imminently exploding. I
would not say I was hooked but I definitely made up my mind to see this
teacher again, when he was back in town.
The Second Weekend Seminar
happened about 9 months later in April 1988. This time the course was
to be a general Internal Martial Arts class and again I was impressed by
the sound body knowledge that Bruce displayed. This was of interest for
me because up to that time I had studied Wado Karate and didn't exactly
have a very good awareness of how to develop my health through
training. In fact I had joint problems in my elbows, knees and lower
back. At the time I described my situation as "Eighteen with the body of
an eighty year old!".
wouldn't like to lay the blame purely on Karate training for this state
of affairs but I didn't get better through training-that's why I was
looking for Internal Arts in the first place-I had heard too often about
practitioners using Internal Arts to produce superior health and
Martial Arts skills.
this weekend seminar Julian Abel anounced his intention to start
teaching Bruce's Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form as weekend intensives
starting on 21st and 22nd May 1988(I still have the original photocopied
letter that was sent out to the participants-anorak that I am).
Studying Wu Style Long Form with Julian Abel
So I started the classes that were to continue under Julian for the next year and a half.
first reaction was to do what I had done in training Karate. I
practised the few exercises like mad, in the first few months I spent
about 5 hours per day practising Cloud Hands, the Swings and the Wu Long
Form. In the beginning my joints popped so much it sounded like someone
bursting bubble wrap-a phenomena I shared with the other Karate people
who were in the group.
a while the group stabilised down to about 12 regular attendees. Trevor
Barry and his wife Sue, Ewan Stewart, Dave Klug, Bryson Gore, Derek
Spearman, Martin Tait, Maj(sorry no surname)Inigo(again no surname,sorry
guys)Glen Jenkins,Chris Chappel and myself.
often met in various places throughout London to practise between
classes and often used Regent's Park as a practise place and in Winter I
remember using the roof above Inigo's father's shop which was hell for
me as I do not like heights!
Trevor Barry Second Head of FITCA
after the first year or so was over the group continued without the
instruction of Julian as he had decided to concentrate on other aspects
of his healing skills and Trevor Barry took over as the new Head of the
Frantzis International Tai Chi Association.
He opened several classes in and around London. It was in September 1989 that Trevor Barry and myself learnt the Wu Short Form from Bruce in private lessons and it was after
this that we started to promote this form in the U.K.-having received
Bruce's permission to teach it. I still have a Certificate signed by
Trevor Barry which covered me for Wu Tai Chi and Core Exercises, the
then name for the Chi gungs we were learning from Bruce. I don't think
this Certificate was much more than a way I could get insurance
cover-even then an essential item for an Instructor.
was around this time that I started to assist Trevor, teaching weekend
seminars in London.This association continued for the next few years
until Trevor left the running of the Association in my (then) incapable
My time as Head of FITCA
head of F.I.T.C.A. in Europe I continued to teach small classes in
London at the Balham and Tooting Conservative Association Headquarters
which always caused amusement amongst the participants as most of them
were staunch Labour supporters! That class went on for 3 years and
eventually transferred to Imperial College Sports Centre which was in
part taught by Dave Klug a Senior Student in Bruce's system and good
My last class in London was held in the Streatham Swimming Pool and was taken over by two friends after I had left the U.K.
I moved away to Hamburg in Germany and the Association passed on to its present European Head Brian Cooper in 1995.
Wu Style Energy Mechanics Retreat 1991
spent two weeks in 1991 in California,learning in the first week Wu Tai
Chi Short Form Energy Mechanics and in the second Spiralling Energy
Body Nei Gung.
was to be a great learning experience for me-I got to meet Bill Ryan,
Eric Peters, Bernie Langan and a number of Bruce's other longer term
students. Most important for me, at least, was meeting David Barbero,
who at the time was in his late fifties-it was the way he easily handled
me in Push Hands that convinced me that Tai Chi could provide realistic
martial training past the age of fifty.
1999 Wu Style Short Form Teacher Training
about 1995 to 1998 I disappeared somewhat from the scene in the U.K.
After attending Bruce's two weekend workshops, in 1998, I received an
invitation to the Instructor Training for Wu Tai Chi Short Form in 1999.
I successfully took the Senior Instructor, Level 2, test at the end of
I returned home,it wasn't to Hamburg but to Frankfurt Am Main in the
middle of Germany. It was there that I chose to live and to start
spreading Bruce's teachings of Tai Chi and Chi gung.
What I Teach And How
1999 I have taught only small groups of students preferring to develop
practioners who can use the health,fighting and meditative aspects of Wu
Tai Chi and Ba Gua Zhang.
fact the approach I take when I teach Tai Chi or Ba Gua is to try to
give equal emphasis to the three aspects of health,fighting and
meditative practice-especially as the founder of this Association is
famous as a martial artist/healer and meditation master.