Why is our school called "Bamboo Grove Tai Chi School"?
First, there is a lot of bamboo in China and it has a very strong set of meanings in Chinese culture. Bamboo is known as the "gentleman" among plants and symbolises virtue. It has been used as a construction and craft material for centuries and is still used as a scaffolding material (instead of steel) on the many building sites which have shot up in China in recent years.
Bamboo is one of the most important subjects for Chinese brush paintings, with the depiction of the bamboo undertaken almost as a form of spiritual contemplation.
"Bamboo is a symbol of longevity and vitality because it can survive the hardest natural conditions
and remains green all year round. It also represents the qualities of durability, strength, flexibility and resilience since it will bend in a storm but does not break."
As such, it is a perfect representation of the qualities which we seek to cultivate when we practise tai chi.
Andrew Howard is a Chen-style Tai Chi Instructor teaching in West Dorset, UK.