A former engineer has given up his career just for kicks – and is hoping to spark a new craze by offering Tai Chi classes.
Michael Chan, aged 38, from Stourbridge, has launched lessons in the ancient Chinese martial art in association with Coventry Sports Foundation.
The former electronics engineer has returned to the city he grew up in after spending over three years in Beijing and Shanghai, to study the Chinese martial art under the guidance of Tai Chi masters – and now he is looking to share what he has learnt.
“I first started to take an interest in Tai Chi in 1998, but I never really pursued it seriously until 2000 when I went to my Tai Chi teacher after suffering from lower back pain,” Mr Chan said.
“By 2002 I had given up my career and went to China to study Chinese and continued to learn Tai Chi. It is practised on a different scale over there – it really is very inspirational.”
Mr Chan now runs three classes a week at three sites in Coventry for those aged 16 and over. The lessons take place at the Alan Higgs Centre in Allard Way, Xcel Leisure Centre in Mitchell Avenue and Centre AT7 in Bell Green Road.
He added: “Tai Chi has a number of benefits and can assist with general health, posture, memory and self confidence.
“It is low impact, which means anyone can do it and it will not damage joints, but the intensity depends on what you as an individual aim to achieve.
“It’s very much like riding a bicycle in the respect that when you go quickly it is fairly easy, yet the slower you go the more difficult it becomes and the more concentration it requires.”
Nicole Freeman, studio coordinator from Coventry Sports Foundation, said: “We are delighted to have someone of Michael’s experience and knowledge hosting classes across all three of our centres.
“Coventry Sports Foundation is committed to offering a wide range of exercise classes and fitness sessions in order to provide something for everyone and this is the latest step towards achieving that aim.
“We are sure the classes will prove to be popular with new and existing members and we are looking forward to working with Michael over the coming months.”