“Thanks to t'ai chi, Marsha Clarke has not had a cold in eight years.
The former school teacher says the martial art has not only helped her fend off illness, it also keeps her fit, active and de-stressed. She wants to be part of the Courier's Join Our Club to highlight the benefits of the ancient art. Her students range in age from four to 84. ‘T'ai chi is a bit different. It's a martial art but there's no fighting to it.’ ‘People have pre-conceived ideas about it being for the older generation because it helps with balance and co-ordination but it can be for all ages.’ T'ai chi consists of gentle exercises designed to improve memory and concentration, co-ordination and balance, as well as health and fitness. Marsha started practising it 20 years ago as an evening class and has never looked back. She started teaching and now shows her students – the ‘t'ai chi tigers’ – how to relax and keep supple. Some of her most successful classes are in schools where she helps youngsters improve their concentration. ‘The results I'm getting in schools are remarkable. The children love it and a lot are telling their parents about it.’ Marsha has several classes across Calderdale. One of her students at the Mytholmroyd Methodist Church class is Joyce Green-wood, from Mytholmroyd, who has been attending for three years. She said: ‘It's good exercise without jumping about. I've also been practising with other members of my family.’ Another student, Rose Green, of Luddenden Foot, added: "I fancied doing something different. I enjoy t'ai chi and feel good after each class.’”