British Pioneer of "Practical" Tai Chi Passes Away

Dan Docherty
It's been reported that Dan Docherty, one of the best known and most controversial instructors of tai chi chuan in Europe, passed away last week.

Born in Scotland, Docherty practiced karate before moving to Hong Kong in the 1970s to join the Royal Hong Kong Police Force with an eye on learning Chinese martial arts. He began training with Cheng Tin-hung in what was termed "practical tai chi chuan." Cheng's wudang style emphasized sparring and technique applications more than most versions of tai chi did and Docherty would compete in several full-contact competitions as a representative of the school.

On returning to Great Britain he began teaching and became a founding member of The Tai Chi & Qigong Union for Great Britain, an umbrella organization that oversees most of the tai chi practiced there. He'd go on to author the book Complete Tai Chi Chuan. Though it's said his direct manner, views on tai chi history and no-nonsense approach to martial arts brought Docherty into disfavor with some in the internal martial arts community, he continued to work with tai chi organizations throughout Europe to promote the art.

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