Michael Watts BSc (Exp. Psych)
Tai Chi/Qigong Instructor
Published author and handwriting analyst
Hobbies: hanggliding and music
Since 1991, I have had eight books published within the fields of existential philosophy, handwriting analysis, and complimentary medicine. My most recent texts were published in 2017, Psychedelic Healing for the 21st Century and Seven Amazing Cutting Edge Therapies.
I was drawn to Tai Chi and Health Qigong after discovering that these practices dramatically alleviated severe neck injury symptoms arising from spinal cord compression and facet joint/disc degeneration. Thanks to my training in this area, I managed to avoid undergoing a complex operation on my spine, in October 2016, which had been recommended by a top orthopaedic surgeon in Cambridge, UK. From the beginning of 2019, I hope to be offering regular two-day workshops in Qigong as well as private classes in Tai Chi, so that others can take advantage of these incredible internal healing arts to help speed up recovery from injury, overcome addictive tendencies, and to improve overall health and wellbeing.
Formal Tai Chi qualifications
Instructor Level Certification to teach Yang-Style Cheng Man-Ch’ing Short Form Tai Chi
Awarded in 2014 by Sifu William C. Phillips, former student of Cheng Man-Ch’ing and Founder of the Patience T’ai Chi Association in New York.
Advanced Level Instructor of Tai Chi Chuan (TCUGB)
Awarded in 2015 by The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain (assessment by Mike Tabrett, vice-president/ Senior Instructor TCUGB).
Although at the end of October 2014, I had achieved instructor certification, and permission from Sifu Phillips to teach Master Cheng Man-Ch'ing's Short Form Tai Chi, I decided I wanted to improve my skills further, prior to taking on any students. With this in mind, I commenced regular private instruction under the guidance of John Linney, an "Advanced Level" teacher of Wee Kee Jin and Senior Instructor in the TCUGB.
However, Johns expertise and excellent mode of instruction gradually inspired me to adapt my Cheng Man-Ch'ing form to Master Wee Kee Jin's version of Huang Sheng Shyan's style of the Short Form, which John preferred to practice and teach. Consequently, over the next three years I made a slow transition to the significantly more complex Huang style. This was because I experienced master Huang's version of the form as being significantly more "internal", and it generated in me, a far more intense sensation of Qi energy and greater physical and psychological equilibrium.
After closely monitoring my progress since 2014, when he first began teaching me, John Linney told me (in 2018), that I was ready to instruct beginner students, in my Huang style version Tai Chi. However, it should be noted that, due to personal preference, my Tai Chi Form is in fact a Huang Sheng Shyan/Cheng-Man Ch'ing "hybrid" since I have chosen to retain Master Cheng Man-Ch'ing's version of movements 6 - 8 ( Press and Push up to single Whip) as well as his version of movements 24 - 28 (Snake Creeps Down, Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Right, Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Left, Separate Right Foot, Separate Left Foot), and finally, I still adhere to Cheng Man-Ch'ing's mode of performing "Fair Lady weaves Shuttle". Aside from these differences, the outer structure of my Form is fundamentally Huang Sheng Shyan's style (as taught by Wee Kee Jin).
More importantly, I have infused throughout my entire Form practice, as effectively as I can, internal elements from the Huang system of Tai Chi, which includes Fajin, for example "load and release" and "release through sinking", and Fang Song - the release throughout the whole body of unnecessary psychological and structural tensions; these internal practices are strongly emphasized in Huang's version of the Short Form, and also applicable in many other forms of Tai Chi.
One final point, relevant to anyone who might in the future consider taking instruction from me in Tai Chi Chuan: I do not instruct students in how the movements of the form are applicable in actual combat, nor do I teach push hands or weapons training. In other words, I am concerned only with the meditative and health-giving aspects of the Tai Chi Chuan form, which arise from a deep proprioceptive awareness of Qi energy combined with knowledge of how to intensify, store and direct this energy. So my practice of Tai Chi Chuan is in fact an advanced form of Qigong and not a martial art in the combative sense. Those interested in the martial principles of Tai Chi Chuan, should contact my instructor John Linney www.taichilab-cambridge.co.uk
Formal Qigong qualifications
Instructor Level Certification to teach:
- Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Set 1 (Awarded by Sifu Wing Cheung)
- Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Set 2 (Awarded by Sifu Wing Cheung)
- Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Set 3 (Awarded by Sifu Wing Cheung)
- Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi Sets 4 & 8 (Awarded by Professor Lin Housheng) - Also attended in 2018, the Shibashi 4 Medical Qigong workshop with Sifu Wing Cheung
- Ba Duan Jin – Eight Pieces of Brocade (Awarded by BHQA)
- Yi Jin Jing – Muscle Tendon Strengthening Qigong (Awarded by BHQA)
Tai Chi & Qigong – personal history
- 1994, London, UK: individual instruction in Cheng Man Ch’ing Short Form with Master John Eastman
- 2009, Hertfordshire, UK: Cheng Man-Ch’ing Tai Chi Intensive with Glyn Williams (TCUGB Senior Instructor)
- 2012, Malaysia: one-month individual instruction in Qigong and Huang’s ‘Five Loosening Exercises’ (Master Len Lee Nam and Alvina Lai)
- 2012, Taipei, Taiwan: one-week instruction from Chief Cheng Man Ch’ing Instructor, Master Zuen Wei-Ming
- 2014, New York, USA: Omega Institute, 14-day, 72-hour intensive workshop in ‘Qigong Healing’ with Qigong Master Robert Peng
- 2014, October, New York, USA: one-month intensive individual Cheng Man-Ch'ing Form-Revision instruction from Sifu William C. Phillips
- 2014–2018, Cambridge, UK: Four years of individual instruction in the Huang Sheng Shyan Style Short Form, with John Linney (TCUGB Advanced Instructor)
- 2015, Nov 2, Sheffield, UK: three-day workshop in Huang Style with Master Wee Kee Jin
- 2015, November 10, Cambridge, UK: TCUGB Instructor Certification Assessment by Mike Tabrett, Vice-President/Senior Instructor for Tai Chi Union of Great Britain
- 2016, May 13–22, Hastings, UK: Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi 1 & 3 instructor training and certification workshops and five-day semi-private Meditation/Shibashi Retreat with Sifu Wing Cheung (Tai Chi Division Champion of the 2005 Canada Kung Fu and Wushu Championships)
- 2016, May 26 – June 2, Telford, UK: Ba Duan Jin and Yi Jin Jing Health Qigong instructor training and certification workshops with the British Health Qigong Association (BHQA)
- 2016, Sep 24–25, Baden-Baden, Germany: Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi sets 4 & 8, instructor training and certification workshops with Professor Lin Housheng (pioneer and creator of Shibashi)
- 2017, Mar 27–Apr 2, Hastings, UK: Tai Chi Qigong Shibashi 2 instructor training and certification workshop and five-day semi-private Meditation/Shibashi Retreat with Sifu Wing Cheung
- 2018, April 20-21, Bonn, Germany: Comprehensive (refresher/repeat) Tai Chi Qigong (Instructor) Training Workshop with Sifu Wing Cheung – Shibashi Level 2
- 2018, April 28-29, Hastings UK: Comprehensive (referesher/repeat)Tai Chi Qigong (Instructor) Training Workshop with Sifu Wing Cheung - Shibashi Level 3
- 2018 May 30-31, Hastings UK: Shibashi 4 Medical Qigong Workshop with Sifu Wing Cheung
- 2018 Total 4 hours private instruction with Sifu Wing Cheung (one hour in Bonn and three hours in Hastings)
Some Tai Chi/Qigong organisations certifying my qualifications
I graduated with honours in 1980 with a BSc in Experimental Psychology (Sussex University). Following three years of post-graduate research within the field of handwriting analysis under the guidance of Charles Cole, an eminent graphologist and Questioned Document Examiner, I began a career as a professional handwriting analyst.
An independent scholar and writer, I speak four languages – German, Swedish, French and to some extent Spanish – and have researched widely in philosophy, my specialist interest being in the affinity between East Asian non-dualist philosophy and existentialism and the implications this has for everyday existence.
I have written eight books and contributed articles and analyses to numerous magazines and national newspapers in the UK, USA, Australia and Sweden; these have included USA Today, Fitness Magazine, Toronto Sun, The Sunday Times Magazine, Sunday Telegraph, Daily Mirror and Bella. And in Australia: New Idea, Cosmopolitan and Woman’s Day.
A frequent guest on radio and television in the UK and USA, my appearances have included ITV, BBC1’s ‘Artifax’ and Sky News (Live at Five), ‘UK Living’, ‘Live TV’ (interviewed by Simon Bates) and ‘What’s New’ (New York). BBC Radio Five (Simon Bates Show), London Newstalk Radio, and nine regional BBC radio stations. I am now regarded as one of Europe’s most experienced handwriting analysts.
My philosophy publications have been extremely well received by my peers in the academic community worldwide – see Jonathan Derbyshire’s review of Heidegger: A Beginner’s Guide, which appeared in The Philosopher’s Magazine (UK), and Professor Roy Martinez’ review of Kierkegaard in Review of Metaphysics (USA), and numerous reviews of my latest philosophy work, The Philosophy of Heidegger.
Over the years, I have maintained a passionate interest in Qigong and Tai Chi and am a certified instructor of both disciplines and I intend to expand my knowledge and skills in both of these areas throughout the rest of my life.