by Helen Holt
A TIMARU man is the first tai chi master to be inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
Dave Thew was inducted at the South Island ceremony in Christchurch on November 6.
Mr Thew said it was humbling to be picked for the hall of fame.
“It was definitely an honour. But also the linage from my late teacher Loo-Chi Hu.
“It was awesome to be the first to represent tai chi, especially as it’s one of the lesser-known martial arts.”
The induction involved everyone performing a 30-minute seminar.
This included demonstrations of his art, such as tai chi sword form, sensitivity training, shunting, and two partner exercises. He also did a performance to music.
“I think the karate people enjoyed the tai chi. They could see similarities but in a slightly different way.”
Since beginning tai chi in 1983, Mr Thew has gone from strength to strength.
He has won two gold and four silver medals at the World Kung Fu Championships.
Nationally he has won four gold and two silver, and 16 gold in Australasian competitions.
He also attempted a world record in 2019 for the longest amount of time doing tai chi to raise money for the Cancer Society.
Mr Thew has participated in martial arts since he was 10.
He began with judo, but after a work injury he moved on to tai chi.
“All that was around back then was judo or karate.
“Shortly after I started working, I had an accident, and after that judo was too hard for me.
“I looked around for a martial art that was kinder to the body.
“I found out about the tai chi master classes in Christchurch and went from there.”
Mr Thew is one of three tai chi teachers in South Canterbury.
He hoped to train teachers to help bring classes to the Mackenzie district.
“We prefer to do tai chi in nature rather than in a dojo. It’s all about energy, thinking of yourself as energy rather than as a physical being. Nature is where there’s the most energy, so you can start resonating with where you are.
“My next project will be training a person to take free classes on Lake Tekapo.”
He said his biggest gain from tai chi was losing a need for control.
“Most of our problems come from trying to control everything. From tai chi I learnt to accept.
“If you can change something, sure. But if you can’t, move on.
“I lose a lot of things in tai chi. I lose the ability to get angry quickly, I don’t struggle.
“You look at life differently because it’s all about balance. “