It is with great sadness that we have to report that Dan Docherty passed away on 9th December 2021. His memory lives on through this website, his articles, videos, podcasts and in the hearts, minds and teaching of his many students and friends throughout the world.If you are looking for a teacher in this style, then please visit “Where to Learn” “Instructor Listings” page as although this is not being kept up to date it will provide contact details for a number of his main students. The PTCCI practitioners Facebook page is useful should you have questions.
(Source of TEXT ABOVE: Events & Competitions of the Tai Chi Chuan Website, that I sadly stumbled upon in the hope of booking a training week under Dan at some point in the future. Only in the UK, rather than France, where I trained last time for a solid week - and in the Winter, rather than summer - as I know how hot I get training all day every day for a week solid, lol.)(Click this link to learn all about Tai Chi Chuan in a new tab)
The Tai Chi Chuan community lost an irreplaceable gem when Dan Docherty passed away in December 2021. This article aims to celebrate the man and the martial art he so passionately championed. Drawing from his teachings, his writings, and the experiences of those who knew him, we explore the multi-faceted world of Tai Chi Chuan and the indelible mark left by Master Docherty.
The Man Behind the Movements
Dan Docherty wasn't just a Tai Chi Chuan master; he was a poet of movement, a philosopher of the body and mind. He took the centuries-old Chinese martial art and moulded it into a holistic practice that resonated with people from all walks of life.
Understanding Tai Chi Chuan
Before delving into the life of the man, it is crucial to understand the martial art he so expertly represented. Tai Chi Chuan is not merely a form of self-defence; it's a meditative discipline that cultivates both physical and mental well-being. Rooted in Taoist philosophy, it aims for the balance of yin and yang — a concept that Docherty often emphasized.
The mystical, paradoxical journey to understand the natural order of the cosmos! To give you a taste:
Taoism is a philosophical and religious tradition originating in ancient China. At its core is the concept of the "Tao," which is often described as the "way" or the "path."
Now, the Tao isn't a well-trodden road with signposts; it's more like a river, constantly flowing, ever-changing but always true to its nature.
The Yin and the YangIn Taoist philosophy, the principles of Yin and Yang are fundamental. They represent the dualistic nature of existence—light and dark, male and female, strong and weak. The aim isn't to pick a side but to find a balance, just like a perfect chess game where every move is in harmony with the board.
A significant character in Taoism is the "Sage," someone who understands the Tao and therefore lives in harmony with the world. The Sage practices "Wu Wei," or "non-action," not in the sense of doing nothing, but acting in a way that flows naturally from the situation, like the effortless flipping of a pancake when it's just ready to be flipped.
The primary texts are the "Tao Te Ching" by Laozi and the "Zhuangzi." While the former is more poetic and focuses on how to live a good life, the latter is filled with stories and paradoxes to shake up your conventional thinking, offering you the freedom of viewing the world like an intricate dish, full of surprising flavours and combinations.
Imagine you're in the kitchen, and instead of following a recipe to the letter, you let yourself go with the flow, improvising with spices and ingredients. That's a Taoist approach—being in sync with your actions and surroundings, not forcing but allowing things to develop naturally.
So, want to live like a Taoist? Don't try too hard. Just be like water—taking the shape of whatever container you're in, flowing effortlessly and nourishing all things without trying to. And in doing so, you might just find the Tao, or at least a really good stew!
A Life Well-Lived
Born in Glasgow, Dan Docherty took to martial arts at a young age. It wasn't until he ventured into the Orient that he discovered Tai Chi Chuan. He trained rigorously and won championships, but his true achievement lay in the dissemination of his knowledge. He was a prolific writer and teacher, spreading the essence of Tai Chi across continents.
Many who met Dan Docherty, even briefly, felt the weight of his expertise and the pull of his charisma. Whether or not he took a particular liking to an individual (he was, after all, a man of strong opinions), his dedication to Tai Chi Chuan was evident in every interaction. His lasting influence on people is proof of a life spent in meaningful endeavour.
Learning from the Master: Resources and Legacy
Dan Docherty has left behind a treasure trove of resources for anyone interested in Tai Chi Chuan. His articles, videos, and books offer in-depth perspectives on the art's various facets. For those interested in learning the discipline, his website and network of trained instructors serve as a great starting point.
A Farewell, Not a Goodbye
Although the master has left us, his teachings continue to guide and inspire. His memory is etched not just in the movements of his Tai Chi forms, but in the very philosophy he so ardently espoused. As we continue to practice, let's take a moment to remember Dan Docherty — a man who reminded us that in the dance of yin and yang, there is beauty, balance, and the eternal flow of life.
Thai Chi Chuan