Origins Of Open Palm Tai Chi
Luke Sheperd's Tai Chi Bio
Luke Shepherd (1961–) is the principal instructor and founder of Open Palm Tai Chi. He is a student of internationally renowned teacher Week Kee Jin
1981- 1994 Rising Dragon Tai Chi
1995 - 1999 Dr Shen Hong Xun
1997 - 2018 Patrick Kelly
1997 - 2000 and 2018- present Wee Kee Jin
I started Tai Chi training in the year Prince Charles and Lady Di tied the knot, MTV was launched with “Video Killed the Radio Star” and Ronald Reagan took oath as 40th President. I must have needed something with more meaning! The truth was I hadn’t even heard of Tai Chi when I was offered a course of classes as a gift. I was totally hooked from the first class.
My first teacher for a year was Jay Jones. She was centered, and gave off a quiet calmness. Whatever Tai Chi was I wanted to be like that. Through practicing Tai Chi I began to see that what I needed was to be was myself and that only this would give me the qualities I sought.
Moving to London a year later, I studied with Adrian Murray a lively and enthusiastic teacher who inspired me to look at the mechanics with accuracy and fine tuning. Returning to Cardiff, my 3rd year of Tai Chi was with Jay’s teacher, Richard Farmer of Rising Dragon Tai Chi. I remained with Richard for the next 13 years. Rising Dragon’s teachings emphasised meditation and personal development with a strong focus on connecting Tai Chi principles to every day life. Richard was a maverick with a strong Buddhist practice. He took risks and pared Tai Chi down to its essential essence of letting go and remaining centered, His interest was almost exclusively the spiritual aspect of the art.”
Luke first started teaching in New Zealand in 1991 and also studied under the guidance of HWL Poonja in India over a 7 year period including during 2 years of living in India.
Between 1995 and 1999 Luke ran the Rising Dragon Cardiff Branch becoming one of the schools senior teachers holding 12 classes a week and having over 150 students.
During that period he studied Qigong and BuQi with the late Dr Shen Hong Xun for 4 years.
In 1997 Luke met both Week Kee Jin and Patrick Kelly and everything changed.
“When I met Patrick within 20 minutes, he had answered 5 questions that had been burning in me for years. I was impressed. I was all ready to embark upon a world tour to find a teacher that could show me the true nature of Tai Chi– a spiritual Martial Art that combined a deeper wisdom whilst being truly functional. That teacher had come to the UK! I gave up everything I had learnt with Richard and started from scratch. A renewed investigation of all principles and all movements ensued as I saw a new model of what was possible. Patrick turned a 2-D model into a 3-D model and beyond. This was the insight from a truly inspiring and lineage based teacher I had been looking for”.
Luke left Rising Dragon and moved to Devon where he set up Open Palm Tai Chi in 1999. Since that time he has trained the internal aspects of body and mind, under the guidance of Patrick and more recently with Wee Kee Jin. He formed Open Palm Tai Chi to further his own development and share his passion for Tai Chi with those keen to also gain from this art form.
Luke divides his time between teaching Tai Chi, his personal training and his work as a sculptor and bronze caster. His i-Chi project offers an authentic online Tai Chi training course. He runs classes in Ashburton and workshops throughout the year together with zoom online classes.