Born 20 May 1972
My first introduction to martial arts was at the age of 7, where I briefly did Budo Ryo in Johannesburg. I trained in it for about 6 months.
At 19 I did Shukokai briefly in Fishoek, but left due to transport complications. I dabbled in various other martial arts over the years on and off. I then began doing Go Ju Kai in 1998 for about 2.5 years under the instruction of Sensei Burton Noble and Sensei Carlo Brown. I greatly valued my time in this style and have a great deal of respect for it, but felt that it wasn’t the right style for me.
After doing some soul searching and some research I felt that Tai Chi could be the style best suited to me. I began at Jing Qi Shen under SiFu Stephen Yap and SiSok Stine Yap in Jan 2003. Stephen and Stine are far more than my instructors, they are also close friends and advisors.
Tai chi to me is a way of life with lessons to be learnt every single day. You can improve and develop all the time, even driving in the car on the way to work. Self reflection is a vital part to this martial art. One can notice improvements in ones training largely as a result of this self reflection. Tai Chi is a personal journey one takes, during which you encounter many friends along the way who help guide you along your path. When you first start you cannot even see the path and need to be shown the way. Once on the path the training really begins.
In 2002 I was the Financial Manager of a multi million $ international shipping company, reporting to the ultimate “Boss from Hell” . The stress levels were incredible, and I found myself doing a lot of soul searching. Neil, my husband, had heard about Dr Yap’s classes from a colleague, who had promoted the de-stressing attributes of Tai Chi. I personally had never had any interest in any form of martial arts up to that point, but Tai Chi sounded like the exercise to meet my requirements. Initially I regarded it as just any other exercise class, but after a few month’s of Dr Yap’s patient teaching, I realized that it had so many other benefits and applications, and it truly was an art. After 5 years of training, I have learned to apply Tai Chi principles in daily life, especially the attitude of “invest in loss”. In 2006, out of the blue, I started experiencing debilitating panic attacks. Dr Yap assisted with a few needles and provided me with some meditation skills, but it was Tai Chi that was of the greatest benefit. If I was aware of the oncoming symptoms, I went through the short form again and again, which would induce a state a calmness, and I would not experience the full blown panic attack. I am in awe of it’s power, and hope to continue tapping into its, and my own, full potential in the years of training to come.