Canadian Tai Chi Teacher Offers a Modern Approach to an Ancient Art
– article by Shen Guoxiang (English translation by Shen Guoxiang and Xin Yan)
Ian Sinclair knows that his students could go to China to learn from famous masters there, and he insists that he is no great master himself. Yet students have come to him from every continent except Antarctica. I ask him why he thinks they come to him.
He says,“Not every student is right for every school, and not every teacher is right for every student. Some student do very well with me, while others just aren’t a good fit for this school. Fortunately, there are many great teachers for them to train with.” Some people, for whatever reason, have said they actually prefer my teaching over that of some very famous masters, even though I don’t have their skill, knowledge, pedigree, or experience.
Sinclair laughs to himself and then says, “There is a proverb which points out that a good student can learn from even the worst teacher, while a bad student will be unable to learn from even the best teacher.” He laughs. “Maybe that’s why I get so many good students.”
Sinclair has, over the past few decades, developed an international reputation for a unique understanding and a special way of teaching. His approach seems to be more scientific than many others. He tries to stay away from the archaic terminology that is commonly used in tai chi classes. He has an open mindedness that enables him to go where others fear to tread. This seems to allow him to transcend the boundaries of standard styles and family lineages. He talks about “Making the pedagogy serve the student and not just the teacher.”
Experts and Beginners
Many of his students are instructors themselves, or black belts from other martial arts like karate or jiujitsu. But others are absolute beginners.
Some students are referred by their doctors for help with specific medical problems. Some are professional athletes, musicians, and health care professionals. Police and military personnel also come for their own personal and professional development. Military veterans and trauma survivors come for health and relaxation. Clearly, the principles that he teaches seem to have broad applications in a wide variety of disciplines.
It is also clear that this is not your typical tai chi school, or a typical martial arts school.
For one thing, Sinclair does not have children’s classes like most martial arts schools do. He also does not have special senior citizen classes like most tai chi schools do. But he does teach all ages, and sometimes accepts children for private lessons when there is a particular need to deal with bullying or other issues.
Sinclair is an avid proponent of tai chi as a healing exercise. But he is also one of the few teachers who is thoroughly committed to the martial aspect. He is a player in a broader martial arts community and enjoys training with martial artists of other styles. Even in his 50’s, he is known to mix it up with fighters at other schools. This may come as a surprise to people who share the common misconception about tai chi as a martial art, and about martial arts in general.
“People think tai chi is either a martial art or a healing exercise. But these are really two sides of the same coin. I think people somehow assume that martial artists train to be violent. But that is the exact opposite of what a martial art is about. Violence is what happens when you DO NOT practise a martial art, just as illness is what happens if you do not exercise. To assume that martial artists are training to become violent, is like assuming that doctors are training to promote illness. A martial art is the perpetual search for peace, balance, health, empowerment, and understanding. Violence is the result of NOT practising a martial art.
“To quote Leo Rosten, ‘I learned that it is the weak who are cruel, and that gentleness is to be expected only from the strong.’
“The arts I teach are, first and foremost, about cultivating self-awareness and compassion.”
Globally, Locally, and in Transit
Sinclair teaches online lessons to students around the world. Sometimes he gets invited to travel to other countries. More often his students come to Orillia.
He can also meet his students part way, though. He has been known to drive to Toronto to teach a busy travelling client in their hotel between meetings or performances. He has even taught a couple of private lesson in waiting areas of airports.
Sinclair’s reputation has been growing over the past several years, mostly by word of mouth. There have been celebrity clients visiting his school. I press him to talk about some of his celebrity clients. But he refuses, and insists that I not “drop names.”
“I have a strict policy of confidentiality which applies to all of my students. It is not just for the sake of my students. It is also for the good of the school. It would be a very bad thing for me if people started coming to me because they are fans of a particular celebrity, instead of having a genuine desire to learn from me.
A Misunderstood Art
The real celebrity in his school is the art itself. Tai chi has become quite famous in recent years as a healing exercise. But few people have any idea how deep and profound the art really is.
“Of course, tai chi has been watered down. That is what happens to any popular art. It is what happens when people try too hard to preserve the superficial characteristics of a style and lose the essence. Also, the more famous a thing is, the more people presume a level of understanding that they don’t really have. There is so much to the art that people don’t see. And the deeper you go, the deeper it gets.
Sometimes, half of a teacher’s knowledge gets lost when they pass away, because their are not enough truly dedicated students to absorb the art. Many teachers are only able to teach about five percent of the art. But there are other reasons why tai chi has been watered down.
“Tai chi is very accessible and it can be modified to suit just about anyone. It suits beginners of all ages and fitness levels. Anyone who can move, or imagine moving, can do tai chi. You may have heard the expression, ‘Anyone who can talk can sing, and anyone who can walk can dance’. Tai chi is like that. You don’t have to master the art in order to enjoy it and benefit from it. Since tai chi is very accessible for beginners, it is easy for people to become teachers, and there is little or no regulation over who can be qualified to teach. Some people start teaching as soon as they can remember the basic routine. I don’t actually mind that. I am okay with people sharing what knowledge they have. Get the people dancing and singing, so-to-speak. But we should not forget that there is more to the art.
“It is fine for a second-grade or third-grade student to teach some addition and subtraction to their younger friends. But nowadays we expect a professional teacher have twenty more years of education, and to continue to study throughout their career. Tai chi has a lot of teachers with elementary qualifications, and only a few teachers with Master’s Degrees or a Doctoral Degrees.”
Standardization is a Two-Edged Sword
There has been a movement over the past several decades to standardize the teaching of tai chi. Sinclair thinks the result has been generally positive. Having a standard curriculum and a standard way of practising has helped to raise the general skill level across the board. Standardization, however, can cut both ways.
“One part of standardization is making sure that students are aware of the existence of a curriculum, and that there are certain requirements of regular practice. Within a particular school, style, or lineage, it is good for everyone to be doing the same thing in the same way and in the same order. It helps the teacher to see where the students are, and it helps the students to stay on track.”
But Sinclair points out that there is a another side to standardization, which can be found in many arts and sciences, not just tai chi. He says, “Student are just learning by rote. This can ensure that students learn the basic facts and structures. But it can be very limiting, and can prevent them from developing deeper understanding. It can even give students a completely inaccurate impression of the art.
“When bureaucracy gets involved, and it almost always does, then it can be an impediment to meaningful learning.”
Sinclair teaches the standard forms, and has developed his own pedagogy, which sets a standard for his school, and shares elements with traditional schools. But he is devoted, at least in principle, to ensuring that his students experience meaningful learning. This must be tailored for each student. It focuses on the outcome, encourages deeper understanding, and lets the student become active learners who can relate the lessons to other training that they have already done.
“It is fun when an athlete, musician, or engineer can take a tai chi lesson and see how it relates to what they do.
Liberating the Student from the Teacher
“I want my students to be able to take the ball and run with it. If they only learn what I teach them, then I will have failed. Most teachers only teach a small percentage of what they know. The students need to be able to grasp the essence of the art and make it work for them in the context of their own lives. If and when they become teachers, only part of what they pass on to their students will be what they have learned from me.
Sinclair says that some rote learning is essential for beginners. “In the beginning, there is memorization. When I teach, I usually take it slowly so that we are teaching context and principles as we go, and so that students don’t get bored or overwhelmed with a lot of choreography. But in the end, the external form is just the framework upon which we build the art. It doesn’t really matter so much what the student’s form looks like, as long as they understand the principles.”
But all too often, he says, standardization becomes about control. “Tai chi used to have more variations. Each master of the art would teach his or her own unique version to their students. But nowadays, there is a trend to make everyone do the movements the same way, and some of the variations are going extinct. I understand the need for higher standards. But I hope that it does not inhibit meaningful creativity.
“There is a parable about a teacher who, on his deathbed, realizes that all of his students are doing tai chi exactly the way he showed them. He suddenly sees this as proof that he has failed as a teacher.
“So, is not just the fakers who are threatening the art. It is also the people who cling to hard to tradition. It’s like saying there is only one way to sing a folk-song, or only one way to paint a flower, or only one way to read a soliloquy. Teachers, businesses, recently governments try to define the traditional tai chi styles and to reinforce those standards as if they were a breed of dog. But if you are familiar with dog breeding, you know that pure-breds can have problems that mutts don’t have. In recent centuries, the need to preserve standard dog breeds has created a situation where the best in show might be the worst in health. It is as if people have forgotten why the species existed in the first place. We forget that the four thousand years of selective breeding has involved a lot of creativity and experimentation, and some natural selection. Selective breeding over recent centuries has eliminated natural selection from the process. So breeds that would not survive in the wild, thrive in captivity.
Sinclair says that the standardization of tai chi has, in some ways, liberated the art and allowed it to grow in ways that it couldn’t otherwise grow. But in some ways, it has the potential to be a kind of domestication, preventing the spontaneous development of the art, and artificially protecting tai chi from the processes of natural selection.
“Natural evolution combined with lack of standardization can lead to some strange things. Some of them work and some of them don’t. But only in allowing them to happen and testing them honestly can we learn what is valuable and what is not.
Weird can be Good…or not
“I have seen some really weird-looking tai chi. Some of it was actually pretty bad. But some of those weirdos really knew what they were doing. My inability to see it was my flaw, not theirs.
“Imagine a 19th century music teacher listening to John Coltrane, or think of the early reactions to the paintings of Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh couldn’t sell his paintings when he was alive, and yet he is now considered one of the great popular painters of all time.
“When natural selection and creative development is restricted, then the art becomes a two-dimensional picture of the past, with none of the things that actually made it famous in the first place. This also happens in business, in art, in scholarship, in science, and in any kind of innovation.
“You see it now in places like the aircraft industry, where the people running the company know nothing about flying. A company that used to have board members who had spent their lives building and flying planes, replaces those board members with speculators and marketers. Now we have passenger aircraft construction being overseen by people who have never flown or built a plane. This can have disastrous consequences, as we have recently seen.
“Today there are martial art teachers who have never been in a fight, not even in a ring. Some have never practised self defence and yet they truly think they know all about the martial side of tai chi. There are also people teaching tai chi as a healing exercise with no interest in learning the science of how the body works, or how thought, emotion and posture are interrelated.”
“If you study tai chi, qigong, or martial arts with the lineage holders of the major styles, or with any of their students, you will be learning from centuries of accumulated knowledge and wisdom. You will learn from the highest standard, and have access to an international community of people who are working to develop themselves and their art. But there are also the so-called outliers, who are taking the art in new directions, teaching with unique goals, and applying the art in ways that the old masters might never have thought of. In some cases, it isn’t even called tai chi anymore.
Sinclair considers himself an outlier, in spite of the fact that he himself has trained for years with some of the world’s great masters.
“I don’t teach the way my teachers taught. But they all each taught a little differently. I can’t say that my way of teaching is any better, or even as good as theirs. But it is the most appropriate way for me.”
It also seems to suit Sinclair’s students quite well.
“In any case, there are good teachers and bad teachers. But it is up to the student to find the teacher who is appropriate for them.”
MEDICAL BENEFITS OF TAI CHI, and the Need for Good Science
Many of Sinclair’s students come to him because of specific health concerns. He has many testimonials attesting to improvements health conditions. He even offers specific private programs for hypertension, heart disease, Parkinson’s disease, back pain, joint pain, kidney stones, arthritis, and more. But he makes no promises and insists that his students keep seeking medical attention, even if they seem to be improving. “Anecdotal evidence from my students is encouraging and reassuring. It is not convincing scientific proof, although it does encourage me to keep teaching and to continue researching. But I am not a doctor. I have great respect for the medical profession, and for the challenges of scientific research.”
Sinclair is a bit skeptical about many of the studies. I point out that Tai chi is the subject of increasing medical research in recent years, with new studies frequently being published. The healing aspect of tai chi is the main reason for its popularity, especially with older people. He is aware of the research, and even knows people who been involved in some of the studies, both as participants and as researchers.
“You have to take all of these studies with a grain of salt. There have been some very good studies with reasonable sample sizes and methodology. But I think that too many are poorly done. There are small clinical trials that get too much publicity. Tai chi proponents tend to get excited when they hear about a study that shows certain results for cancer, arthritis, osteoarthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, COPD, heart failure, hypertension, or something else. But clinical trials must be viewed with caution. Many studies use few test subjects, poor methodology, and suspicious analysis. Some of them are blatantly polemical either for or against tai chi. Add to all that the fact that scientific literacy among the general public is very low, and many people don’t understand the difference. Too many people don’t even care that there is a difference. They are just happy to accept whatever support they can get to reinforce their own paradigm.
“Even if the study is done well, I would still care about who the teacher is, who the students were, what the school was, what pedagogy was used, etc. etc. If there are benefits shown in one study, and not in another, then I want to know what the difference was. Were the two studies done with the same school? If not, then they might not even be studying the same thing. There is one particular school with branches all over Canada and around the world. What they teach is a shallow imitation of the art. It appears that the founder of the style took all of the mistakes that beginners make, and made them part of the style. Yet that school is so widespread, and they act so authoritative, that they are sometimes chosen for scientific research. It would be better to use them as a control group, or and example of choreographed yawning. I wouldn’t recommend them to my friends. But even so, if a study shows that their style has some unique benefit not found in other styles, then even if they also wreck their students’ backs and knees, I want to know about it.”
“Our desire to be helpful is so strong that we will often try to offer whatever tools we have as a remedy. In my case, the main tools are tai chi and qigong. But there are times when the most appropriate tool is the map to the hospital, or a phone for calling 911. I have had to take people to the hospital when they tell me that they they would rather just go home and sleep it off. They think they can just do more tai chi to feel better. You don’t usually sleep off acute appendicitis or a heart attack.
In the past year, two of my students have survived LAD coronary events. One had a heart attack, while the other needed open hearth surgery. While tai chi may have contributed to their survival, so did aspirin and morphine. The main factor was emergency surgery. On the other hand, I have students who have had surgery cancelled by their doctors after training with me. Hernia surgery, and shoulder surgeries have been cancelled. One student was scheduled to have a specialist remove a large stone from a kidney. I taught him some exercises which he did several times per day. The doctor cancelled the operation when ultrasound showed no sign of any stone. It had simply disappeared in that time. Of course, it could be a total coincidence, and I must point out that the recommendation was made by the doctor.
“Recently, a student with severe cellulitis in both legs has astounded this doctors with his rapid recovery. His doctor is contemplating writing a paper about him. My student credits tai chi with helping to restore his circulation and grow his skin back. But still, all we can say with conviction is that it may warrant further study.
“Anecdotal evidence, even first-hand, is not scientific proof.
“My own view, is that tai chi can be helpful for a wide variety of health conditions. This is based on my own logic, my limited knowledge, anecdotal evidence, and some of the better meta-analyses that have been published in recent years. But it is not enough for us to simply believe that it works. We need to understand why it works, and why it sometimes doesn’t work. When I describe the mechanisms and processes of tai chi, as I teach it, my students and I can see how the practice affects mind and body. The postural alignment, efficiency of movement, muscle, fascia, lymph, the relationship between the physical tension and the cerebral cortex, the entire nervous system, breathing, etc. are all involved. I am fortunate in that I teach medical professionals, engineers, designers, dancers etc., all of whom give me feedback. Many of them are quite happy to tell me if I am making sense…or if I am out of my mind. We need to do more than prove whether tai chi works or not. We need to find ways to make it work better, and to improve the art so it can benefit more people.
“I said earlier that no teacher is right for every student. Likewise, no exercise or remedy is perfect for everyone.
“Fortunately, tai chi is all about adaptability and change.”
Ian Sinclair interviewed
after a victory.
ABOUT DIFFERENT STYLES OF TAI CHI
There are many different styles of tai chi, each with its own characteristics. Mr. Sinclair has studied many different styles and has won gold medals in International competition. I asked him if there one style that he prefers. Does he think some styles are in better than others?
“It depends less on the style than it does on the teacher. Even more important is the student. But first, if we are to talk about styles, I need to explain that I think there is a distinction between a style and an art.”
“I explain to people that I practise an art form called tai chi, of which I have learned several styles. Tai chi is a category of martial art, and also a healing exercise. I also study many other martial arts which help me in my tai chi practice. A style is just a particular way of teaching the art.
“But when I teach, I don’t teach an art form. I teach individual people. If my art doesn’t suit my student, I will change the art to suit them. I look at each student as a unique person on a unique path. I don’t tie myself to a particular pedagogy. I have a standard pedagogy, which serves as my foundation. But if the current method is not working, then I look for a new way…or different old way. I think that what people tend to forget is that whatever the benefits of the art may be, they came about as a result of Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED). Whatever attachments people might have to tradition, we must first recognize that all tradition was originally SR&ED. So, I like to fancy myself as an SR&ED man.”
“Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not denigrating tradition. I’m just saying that we need to realize that tradition includes a history of research and innovation. If we abandon research and innovation then we are, in fact, abandoning the tradition.
“I am also not an advocate of any particular style of tai chi…and not even of tai chi itself as a style of martial art or a style of exercise. I have learned eight different versions of Yang style, five different versions of Chen style, plus Wu style, Sun style, Hao style, and other internal martial arts like xingyiquan, baguazhang, etc. I’ve also tried to learn from many different martial arts around the world. What we call a style is really just a name for a kind of pedagogy. It is the way the art is taught. But good teachers are always researching and learning. So even the best student will never learn all that the teacher has to teach. If the student is attached to a style, then the art will fade out. One of my own teachers said years ago that he has never taught half of what he knows. Think of that. He has taught tens of thousands of students, including world champions, masters, and grandmasters, and all of them combined have not learned half of what he knows. This is because he is always learning, and his learning accelerates over time. The students will never catch up to him. If we are attached to a style or a pedagogy, then the art will die. This is something you see happening with many art forms. People learn what they can from the teacher, which is never exactly what the teacher intended to teach, and the student doesn’t learn anymore.
I know people who studied for twenty years under a particularly famous master during the 1970s and 1980s. Then they went to start their own schools, and spent the rest of their time just teaching what they learned. That same master has other students who have only studied with him for a few years in this century. But many of these younger students are more skilled than some of the old students who learned for two decades. This may be partly because their teacher has spent the intervening years improving and developing his art and teaching methods, whereas the older students did not.
“Teachers need to be willing to move beyond what they have learned, and students need to accept their responsibility for research and analysis. Critical thinking is not cynicism, and accepting that you have the capacity to understand something is not the same as assuming that you already understand it completely. You are not insulting your teacher when you admit that you need to do your own research. In fact, what you are really doing in such a case is admitting that you cannot learn all that the teacher knows. So, you have to learn how to learn by yourself.
THE CHALLENGE OF ANCIENT WISDOM
“Consider this. Tai chi has a list of old books which are referred to as the classics. They are a sort of unofficial canon. I spoke to one famous teacher who said that when he first read them, he was a 20-year-old student of one of the most famous tai chi masters of his time. He was also University-educated and had trained in martial arts for more than 40 hours per week for the previous fifteen years in other martial arts and was heir to more than one esoteric martial art. His credentials were already extraordinary. He said that when he read the classics the first time, he felt that he understood them. With his excellent background, we might expect him to.
But when he read them again at the age of 30, he lamented the arrogance of his 20-year-old self. Then he read them again when he turned 40 years of age, and was surprised to think how shallow his understanding was at the age of thirty. But then, when he turned 50, he returned to the classics and was amused to see how different his view of their meaning had become.
This happens to everyone who is serious about learning. Our point of view, our experience, our understanding, will change over time. Sometimes our understanding will be opposite of what it had been ten years earlier.”
Sinclair pauses and shakes his head. He down at his hands, and then turns his sardonic expression to the sky. “I used to find this story depressing. I thought that if someone of his calibre, with his level of experience, education and expertise can be so challenged by these old texts. What hope can a person like me have. I don’t read Chinese, and he could read both modern and ancient Chinese. I don’t really even speak the language, but he was fluent in multiple dialects. I don’t understand the culture, but he grew up in it. I didn’t have a grandmaster teaching me 6 hours per day from childhood like he did.”
Sinclair straightens up, closes his eyes, and takes a slow deep breath that seems to fill his legs, and pour into the ground beneath him, taking his mind with it. Then he opens his eyes and smiles peacefully.
“But now I accept this as a admonition to leave all doors and windows open to new perspectives, and look to the cracks in my ego and my ignorance for the sands of truth to swirl around and find their way in… over time. If my understanding of the art…or anything…has not changed in the past ten years, I should assume that I have been far too lazy. If my view of the Universe is not regularly overturned, then my inertia should be proof enough of my ignorance.”
He pauses again and then adds,
“… and of my cowardice.
“How can I hope to enlighten my students if I cannot regularly let go of my own stupidity. How can I hold the necessary compassion and awareness if I am incapacitated by the kind of fear that perpetuates ignorance.
Love is a Martial Art
This reminded me of something that Mr. Sinclair said to me earlier. It is one of the reasons why I like him as a teacher. We had been discussing the relationship between healing arts, martial arts, spiritual practices, and politics. He had said that “The true spirit of a successful practitioner of any of these is love.”
When I reminded him of this earlier comment, he referred to The Art of War.
“The Chinese general, Sunzi, mentioned a famous old military maxim. ‘It is often said that if you know your enemy and know yourself, then you will not be defeated, even if you face one hundred battles.’ This is a principle that has been advocated by military leaders throughout the centuries. It may be the most famous quote from the Art of War.
“What most people fail to point out, however, is that you can never understand anyone by hating them. Failure to recognize this is one of the greatest failures of martial artists. Actually, you might think of it as part of society’s general pathology. Students think they can harness their fear and anger to develop high level skill. But that only entrenches them in predictable behaviour. Fear and hatred are self-perpetuating, and when we become attached to them we become self-destructive.
“Martial skill is a process for seeking peace in an inherently violent world. Skilled martial artists don’t seek violence any more than skilled doctors try to make their patients sick. Finding peace is dependent on love. It depends on love for oneself and for other people. The awareness that results from love and compassion is a powerful weapon against violence. Even in the heat of combat, when all else has failed, the person who has the best relationship with themselves, and functional love of the enemy, will have the best chance of avoiding defeat. This is not mere philosophical idealism. It is a stark reality. Love is key to preventing violence. But it is also crucial to succeeding in a fight.
“I sometimes joke that, if you want to be able to effectively conquer someone (or some thing), you need to start by loving them unconditionally.”
Ian Sinclair teaches in Orillia, Ontario, Canada, and accepts invitations to teach around the world.
Shen Guoxiang is a long-time tai chi player, currently living in Canada and Europe. (English translation by Shen Guoxiang and Xin Yan)
‘We heard about him years ago. But we said, “He is in Orillia. How good can he be?”Brian Irving Orillia, Ontario
“Ian has got the good stuff and has taken it in new directions. Its a privilege to study with progressive, forward thinking instructors, solidly rooted in the traditional fundamentals. Ian’s hard work in both directions makes him a great teacher and guide.”Sam Masich (International martial arts champion, teacher, and ﬁlm-maker) Berlin, Germany
“Tai Chi and Qigong, as predicted and promoted, have given a whole new meaning to relaxation, meditation, and proper breathing, as well as a whole new way to understand, manage, and use my energy for improved health and well-being, for myself and others. Among the numerous changes and improvement over a period of 12 months was the disappearance of a rotator cuff problem. Where I had limited range of motion with pain and the prospect of continuing limitations without surgery, I now have full range of motion with no pain…a very grateful 68 year old.Thanks Ian!!” – Gord (Educator, Newmarket, Ontario)
It is very easy for me to say good things about my instructor, Ian Sinclair. Previous to my two years of Tai chi training, I suffered with joint pain and lack of energy. At 48 years of age I felt like 68. After a few months the stiffness in my joints was gone, my balance improved as well as my outlook on life. I wish I had more time to practise, but even a half hour per day makes me feel good. Ian knows his stuff and is a dedicated teacher with the proper philosophy.John Lebarr (Singer songwriter, carpenter) Washago, Canada
We’ve studied with Ian on and off for the past decade. Due to our own time constraints and travel restrictions, we’re not able to take advantage of Ian’s considerable skill as an instructor as often as we’d like. Having met and worked with many martial arts instructors over the years, I can say without hesitation that Ian Sinclair is one of the best we’ve encountered. The reason for this, I feel, is his ability to communicate clearly and thoroughly the wealth of knowledge he’s accumulated over the years to a wide array of people. He’s able to cater instruction to each individual in the class without taking away from the collective experience of the group. He lives his art, and his calm presence and sharp wit make for an enjoyable learning experience. We look forward to working with Ian in the future both for our own study and to consult with our actors on future film projects. He offers amazing value, is a trustworthy resource and an excellent human being.Roben Goodfellow (Writer, researcher, film maker)Toronto
Ian was the Sifu that appeared when this student was ready. He has always been a patient and supportive instructor with a compassionate, relaxed disposition and a willingness to go the extra distance for people who demonstrate their commitment to Wushu. May the universe bring you great success and joy.Jay Fletcher (Practitioner of Tai-Chi Chuan since 2002)
Ian Sinclair is amazing. In my opinion he is one of the few modern tai chi stylists who understands and researches the martial side of tai chi. His push hands skills is amazing and he can extend this ability to applications .Adam Chan (Martial artist since 1986. Author of Climbing Mountains and Eating Punches. Chief instructor of Pragmatic Martial Arts, Vancouver, BC, Canada)
I was first introduced to Master Ian Sinclair several years ago, and immediately I was impressed with his knowledge and skill of the Chinese Martial Arts. In my experience there are only a small handful of individuals in Canada who can teach Tai Chi at the level of Master Sinclair. Even fewer can teach Tai Chi with the same level of humility that he represents. If you were to pick the top 5 instructors of Tai Chi in Canada, your list would have to include Master Ian Sinclair.Jason Ward (Martial Arts Instructor: International Chinese Martial Arts Research Society, International Genkidokai
I wish I could find another tai chi instructor like him here.F. Hamaguchi ( Software Developer – Vancouver )