About Roger Bastick
I learnt Western boxing when I was a teenager and Judo when at university. I studied Yang family T’ai Chi Ch’uan with Master Chu King Hung, the official number three, 5th generation disciple of the Yang family, for 10 years in London from 1980 to 1990. Prior to this I studied T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Traditional Chinese Medicine, Taoism and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhism with Master Liu Hsiu-chi in London, UK (1976-1980). I also dabbled in the other two Chinese internal arts Hsing I Ch’uan (Xingyiquan) and Ba Kua Chang (Baguazhang).
Master Liu was an extremely intelligent and articulate teacher (fluent in English) and I owe much of my philosophical understanding to him. Master Chu, in contrast, was very down-to-earth and did not speak good English but certainly demonstrated the power of the art. So in a sense I had the best of both worlds - a good theoretical understanding from Master Liu, and a good practical education from Master Chu.
I have also maintained contact with Master John Ding, who is now official 6th generation Yang family disciple. John was studying with Master Chu King Hung in London during the same period I was. He then went on to study with the No. 2 disciple Chu Gin Soon in Boston USA, and then become the first ever disciple of Master Ip Tai tak, in Hong Kong, who was the number one disciple of Yang Sau Chung, the son of Yang Chengfu. So he has the distinction of having learned under all three main Yang family disciples and becoming an official disciple himself. He runs a very successful school based in London and produces the magazine Tai Chi and Alternative Health.
When I first saw the graceful, soft and flowing movements of people training in T’ai Chi Ch’uan it was love at first sight! It seemed so much in contrast with the staccato, tense and rigid forms of other approaches to martial arts, like Karate. I had also become disillusioned in my training in Judo, which was supposed to be a soft ‘gentle’ way but has degraded to relying on weight, size, physical strength and leverage as is observable in competitions. The fact that the soft, gentle movements of Tai Chi could be the basis for a highly effective self-defence system, bordering on the miraculous, that did not rely on external strength, also intrigued me. Many years later, I ended up training with Master Chu King-hung, a disciple of the famous Yang family, and was able to experience the art’s awesome power first hand.
Roger Bastick in ‘Send Bird into Tree’ posture from traditional Yang family sword form
My interest in Tai Chi began with a book I read back in the 1970s written by Glen Barclay, entitled Mind Over Matter. One of the chapters used the Asian martial arts to illustrate this theme of mind over matter releasing special powers - in particular it focused on the exploits of the Yang family. Sometimes, when I look back over my now 30 plus year involvement with Yang family Tai Chi and the fact that I studied with a disciple of that family lineage for a decade, and still maintain contact with family disciples, I am amazed, and feel it is perhaps no mere coincidence.
I have also had extensive experience in teaching Eastern philosophy, particularly Taoism and Buddhism, at university level in both the UK and Australia, during an academic career spanning this period in the environmental field. I continue to teach Buddhism and meditation at a centre in Queensland Australia (Toowoomba Buddhist Centre) where I also continue to teach T’ai Chi Ch’uan.