Tuesday, June 14, 2011


A series of Tai Chi lessons began last week at the Carnegie Library in Newnan.
Known as "Sifu" or "Teacher of Life" in his classes, Cliff Williams Jr. has studied martial arts since 1959. He found Tai Chi when he was at a demonstration and a Chinese man offered to teach him. He agreed, and has been studying Tai Chi since 1965.
"I learned hard energy through my many martial arts masters," he said. "When I was introduced to Tai Chi and I talked to my masters, they all told me to learn it."
Tai Chi dates its origins back 6,000 years. It was developed by priests who wanted to form a way to meditate through movement. What they developed was based off of Yoga and their observation of animals. Thus, Tai Chi was born.
"It's a way to stay active as age came," Williams Jr. adds. "Longevity is the key to Tai Chi. It's a sort of continuation of life through movement. People do it to stay active, young, and independent."
Tai Chi is also a way for people to stay in harmony with nature, he said. The art has always been about balance and the flow of life.
"It's like a sailboat and the wind," Williams explained, "Even if the wind is going against the boat, the boat can still move forward because it adjusts itself to be in harmony with the wind. That is what Tai Chi is all about. It brings balance, harmony, and longevity."
Williams was born and raised in Florida, where he first began his martial arts training when he was 9. He moved to California to continue his training. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Vietnam War, then moved back to Florida to go to college for business. He traveled to continue his martial arts teachings and eventually opened a business in Florida. After selling his business, he moved to Georgia. Today, he lives in Moreland where he raises and breeds horses.
"I came to Newnan because it was the first place I found. I work with horses and teach Tai Chi. But the art isn't a hobby. To me, it's a way of life. I believe in the art and its principles and philosophy and discipline. I want to teach it because I want to share my knowledge with others if it helps them to flow the natural way."
Williams held an Introduction to Yoga class on June 9 at the Carnegie Library. On June 23, he will have a follow-up class.

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