Workshop Testimonials

Claire Sparks

"The workshop both taught me something new and deepened my understanding of where the practise of Taijiquan can take me - all in a 3 hour session - highly recommended.”

Gill Williams

“I haven't attended Tai Chi for 3 years but found that a lot of things came back to me,The atmosphere was very relaxed and friendly and I will be coming to more Tai Chi weekly sessions and workshops in the future. I felt I learned a great deal and understand more than i did previously, and hope to learn more in the future. Thank you”

Di Duell

“I found much reassurance in that I could follow much of the class and understood its intent.  I also appreciated more of the flow of movement of sequences I have known for a while. So something clicked.

The enthusiasm and buzz generated in the hall was fantastic. Everyone seemed to benefit in one way or another. Lots of smiley faces around. Personally the workshop has given me more encouragement to learn more Taijiquan.”

Jean Tring

“A lot of work and thought went into the booklet. Thorough is the word. Excellent!”

Amanda Holland-Lee

“The Taijiquan Workshop - a week’s holiday in 3 hours”

Bud Stevens

“The Lifestyles Healing & Martial Arts Taijiquan workshop is an excellent way to learn and grow Taijiquan. Sean Barkes has the experience and talent to instruct the beginner through the advanced student at the individual's level.  As a 50 year old beginner, I learned more in the 3 hour workshop than I believed possible.”

Elena Munns

“I had a ball can we do it again next week?”

Class Testimonials

Sarah Coleman

“Several months ago I was bed-ridden for some 10 days, having had the most debilitating back pain and muscle seizures I have experienced in the 8 years of lower back pain since my son was born.  As an independent business consultant and business coach, I tend to work long and irregular hours, spending a lot of time travelling and chair-based.  Once I had recovered to a degree where I was again mobile but with severely restricted movement, I attended several sessions with the osteopath which helped significantly, but meant I still needed to take regular ibuprofen for the pain.  For someone who used to run, play squash and swim regularly, I felt my health and fitness decrease and with it my mental wellbeing. 

 

I felt I needed to increase my mobility and back strength further and decided to attend Sean Barkes’ Tai Chi classes in North Hykeham.  After about a month, I started to experience my first totally pain-free days.  Not only has this enabled me to be pain free almost continuously for the first time in 8 years regardless of driving, sitting or gardening, but the classes give me “me” time and meditation time, with the added benefits of improved posture and graceful movement.  It has been the most enormous relief to have experienced pain-free days, weeks and months, and to be able to stop relying on pain medication.

 

I  have learnt that Tai Chi is a journey, not a destination in itself.  It also needs to be a regular commitment, integrated into your own lifestyle, as my back does tend to let me know when I am not able to get to the classes.  However, I am in no doubt that this has significantly enhanced my core strength and movement range and, at the same time, removed any lingering back pain.” 

 

David Newman

I came to Qi Gong via acupuncture treatment for a bad back, a problem that I have had in various forms for 20 odd years. The acupuncture was helpful in controlling acute symptoms but Qi Gong exercises have helped control the problem almost completely. For the past eighteen months I have been able to remedy any back pain as it occurs with Qi Gong exercises.

 

I attended the classes for a while to learn some of the basic techniques and stances and found both the instructor and the other students friendly and very supportive. Although the classes were helpful I found that my own developing needs were not being fully met. This was because I developed an interest in particular aspects of the art, mainly focussed on internal energy flows. This is more of a minority interest and, of course, in a class with others who have other interests this is impossible to address in depth.

 

I now practice various exercises for at least 20 minutes almost everyday spending up to an hour when the circumstances are right. I am also studying various aspects of the Qi Gong and Taoism in general in a fairly relaxed way.

 

Overall these activities have helped my back and improved my posture. I have also noticed that I feel the cold less and, most importantly for me, am more mentally relaxed and in control. I can take an objective look at my emotional and physical states and often in so doing correct anything that is out of balance. I can feel Qi flow and am beginning to understand how it can be directed.

 

I should point out that I do have a problem with the concept of Qi in that I cannot explain it in traditional scientific terms but I am gradually coming to terms with that.

 

I appreciate that learning Qi Gong is a life’s work and will never be complete but finding the Way is more important than arriving.

 

As I mentioned above the group classes were not fulfilling my needs so I now undertake individual instruction about once a month. I find that the individual attention allows me to ask questions and get answers specific to me. I wouldn’t say that my progress has been that rapid but I do feel that it has been thorough. The lessons also give me the chance to explore the subject and my own experiences more broadly. I don’t have the support of other group members but, for me, the Way is a very personal journey, a self exploration, the private lessons support this.

 

Barrie Moore

I started tai chi with Sean in December 2009 after being recommended this particular form of exercise by both my physio and nutritionist. I had the fortune of starting my tai chi and qi gong sessions with Sean, and have not looked back.

 

In the last eighteen months my improvement of strength, flexibility, and overall well being is nothing short of spectacular. Sean has the Midas touch when it comes to teaching tai chi, and indeed brings to his classes a wealth of knowledge, fun, enthusiasm, passion, and high energy. The classes offer a very wide range of enjoyable practices, and I am always engaged by Sean when it comes to anything specific that needs attention. I used to be in the chiropractor or physio’s at least once a month, but now I only need a deep tissue massage perhaps once every 3-4 months, now that for me is one short of a miracle. I also live life now pain free, if someone had told me this before I started, I like most would probably not of believed it. The engagement that comes from Sean is with a genuine sincerity, and his interests are to your own well being. I continue to practice daily to support the improvement, and also find it a great start to the day, as well as a good stress relief at the end of the day too. Sean I cannot thank you enough, I continue my development daily, and thank you eternally for being such a great guy.

 

Elena Munns

 

20 odd years ago I not only lost the use of my right hand but all feeling in it, to add insult to injury I was in terrible pain and every movement was a white hot agony.  As you can imagine this was quite devastating and was the second in a series of events that were to mark the beginning of a very dark time in my life.

 

As days turned to weeks and weeks to months the outlook became bleaker and bleaker, eventually I lost a job I loved and my life shrank to four walls and I became steadily more and more depressed, my life was in free fall and I felt utterly powerless.

 

Nearly two years after the initial onset I was to have two operations which largely mitigated but did not completely cure my symptoms, it did not, however, alleviate the pain and I continued to need strong medication to control the pain.  I regained a degree of use of my hand but lost almost all my dexterity and fine motor skills, indeed I couldn’t actually hold a pen or type, I also regained, although altered, feeling in the back of my hand and my fingers, but the palm of my hand remained completely numb.

 

The first major hurdle I encountered was trying to get back to work, my doctors were adamant that it would be a grave risk and would jeopardise what use I had in my hand, I eventually badgered my surgeon into letting me take on a few hours a week as a volunteer at a local wildlife hospital.  I was doing data inputting with a pencil wound between my fingers, the very act of holding the pencil started to strengthen my fingers and as time passed I slowly switched to two finger typing then slowly to using both hands to type.  To someone who blithely typed at a 100+ words a minute it felt terribly, frustratingly, slow, but it was progress and planted the seeds of an idea of how I could begin to regain some dexterity.

 

I began using the typing drills that I had learned so many years previously, patiently re-training my hand, I used the finger stretches and tucks to stretch taught muscles and stiff joints a process that was exhausting and excruciatingly painful.  I spent hours in the garden re-learning how to hold and grip things, adapting to my weakness but never giving in.  One thing I had to learn was how to judge pressure, without feeling in my hands it took many accidents before I was confident even holding an empty glass and needless to say quite a few injuries.

 

After 6 months I was offered a part time job at the hospital and after ‘negotiating’ with my doctor I returned to work 2 mornings a week, I can’t express just how wonderful it felt, like I had scaled a mountain and was standing on top looking at the world with fresh eyes.

 

Over the years I adapted to having no feeling in my palm and altered sensation in the rest of my hand.  As for the lack of dexterity well mule stubbornness at first helped me to adapt and learn new ways of doing things, including writing, badly, with my left hand: as the years have gone by simple refusal to give in has brought back much of the use that my doctors told me was gone for ever.

 

However, no amount of stubbornness or hard work was ever going to fix the damaged nerves and I have been repeatedly told that the range of feeling I have is all that I will ever have.

 

Thanks to my T’ai Chi Chuan, as other conditions have resolved, I have become more able to manage and alleviate my pain naturally, which has allowed me to cease taking pain medication.  I thought that life really was about as good as it gets pain free and in better physical condition than I have been in so very long.

 

Yes I knew that my physical condition would continue to improve and that I would get stronger but I did not expect the events of two weeks ago; I was doing some ironing when I put my right hand palm down on the ironing board and yanked it back as a blast of overwhelming sensation hit me.  Somewhat tentatively I touched my right palm with the index finger of my left hand, and sat down very abruptly, I could feel, impossibly and against all expectation I COULD FEEL.

 

I sat crying and laughing stroking my palm with my hands, cotton wool, feathers and gently rubbing it on soft material; anything that I could think of.  At first the feelings were almost painful and I was easily overwhelmed by sensation, the intensity of feeling is gradually normalising and I have spent the last two weeks in a state of wonder and incredulous joy.

 

To have suddenly regained my sense of touch is an intensely, amazingly miraculous event, I honestly expected it to not last and if I’ve been reticent in speaking out that’s why, also very, very few people knew that I had no feeling in my right palm, partially because it’s not the sort of thing that we talk about but mostly because after more than 20 years it was normal for me.

 

I’m still getting used to the new situation and can’t help but wonder how this miracle has happened; my thought is that the last four years of T’ai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung and regular acupuncture have created this miracle.

 

It is, as miracles go, a very small miracle but it is one that is born out of hard work and dedication.  I have so many reasons to be forever thankful for my practice and this adds another brilliantly, amazingly, wonderful fillip.

Testimonials from Organisations that have used Our Services

The Dystonia Society

At the meeting of the Lincolnshire Dystonia Support Group in April 2010 Sean Barkes gave a presentation on the benefits to both mind and body which can be gained through the regular practice of Chi Kung or Qigong. He explained the importance of the ‘Chi life forces’  flowing within the body and how the stresses and strains of daily life can cause the flow of Chi to stagnate, thus causing problems with our physical and mental well-being.

Following his presentation our group members participated in a few gentle exercises and breathing routines to give us a ‘taster’ session. The exercises were very calming and relaxing and our members were very enthusiastic that Chi Kung could be very beneficial in helping them to cope with the painful and debilitating effects of dystonia.

Sean’s depth of knowledge, belief and passion for what he does is a great inspiration.


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