For This Self-Taught Tai Chi Master It Started With A Dream

By on 05/21/2015
tai chi master The Daily Star / Alexis Lei

Tai Chi Master

As many of you may know, this blog started by my desire to learn Tai Chi, but I am limited to attending classes due to time, location and availability.  So I started finding videos, sharing them here and on Facebook, and soaking up the comments, suggestions and knowledge from visitors and followers.  I fully agree the best course is to take one-on-one classes but when that is not possible, I thought a ‘self-taught’ method would be second best.  I also wanted to reach out to others in the same boat as I, and have a place we could gather, learn and share.  My assumptions is that I will never achieve the level of proficiency that I could if I were attending classes.  With that said, I recently saw an article that grabbed my attention because it is a slap-in-the-face of the my assumption; here is the story of a man who  became a (Taijiquan) Tai Chi Master, and did it all as a ‘self-taught’ student!  Meet Avedis Seropian, a young Armenian  man (grandson of a genocide survivor) who at age 12, started watching Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan movies, and started to dream!

Avedis Seropian enrolled in kung fu classes at the age of 12 during the Civil war in Lebanon.  His main inspiration was from numerous Chinese martial arts movie stars including Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee.  He discovered tai chi at the age of 16.  He later on committed himself fully to the practice.  His commitment secured him a place at the most prestigious wushu competition in 2001 and received the highest score among other competitors from Lebanon.  He also won three gold medals in 2011 at the international Wudang Taiji Tournaments.  He also participated in the World Wushu Championships in 2013 where he won two more gold medals.  The Beijing University of Physical Education also granted him the prestigious title of Master of Internal Martial Arts’.

The numerous achievements of this world champion are most remarkable because he is self-taught.  In other words, he is his own master.  When he first enrolled for the martial arts classes, he always felt that his teachers flaunted their authority.  He decided to break off and train on his own after his first major competition organized by the international Wushu Federation.  To perfect his practice, Seropian studied extensively especially on Eastern esoteric traditions.  The first book he bought was “The Art of Meditation’.  Since platforms such as YouTube were unavailable, he used to films performances and observe critically as his friends performed.

His biggest leap was the World Wushu Championship in 2001.  He had not been past the regional levels and mainly participated in the national and local tai chi and kung fu competitions.  Since there were no swords at the time, he practiced bare-hand.  He used a philosophy that involved three intersecting circles representing ascetic paths that embodied and respected all the traditions.  The world champion’s local support remained elusive despite his international recognition.  This is because the Sports and Youth ministry does not recognize individuals or studios but only the Wushu Kung Fu federation.  In addition, participation in major championships in Lebanon is not based on an individual’s merit. Competitors are normally selected from members of the federation. Unlike in other countries, gold medal winners in Lebanon receive very little or no rewards.

According to the world champion, the federation is encountered with biased selection and corruption.  However, his motivation to work harder in martial arts is driven by the life his father and family.  He maintains a busy schedule to provide for his daughter, wife as well as parents.  Besides teaching in wushu and taijiquan classes, Seropian also works as a trans-personal psychotherapist.  He has continued to participate in numerous competitions despite his tired joints and injured knee due to prolonged training without proper gears. During the 2020 Olympics, he hopes that the IWUF will include taijiquan in the competitions to enable him to participate.

His main focus has now turned to his students.  He plans to open his own school and offer free classes to a limited number of committed students.

His main objective is to pass on his tai chi knowledge and technique, substantially.

I encourage you to check out the original story (below) of this remarkaable tai chi Master, at The Daily Star

Reference:

The making of a martial arts master | Life , Lubnan | THE DAILY STARThe making of a martial arts master | Life , Lubnan | THE DAILY STAR
http://www.dailystar.com.lb/Life/Lubnan/2015/May-05/296805-the-making-of-a-martial-arts-master.ashx

 


 

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