Dave Thew is the first Tai Chi Master to be inducted into the New Zealand Martial Arts Hall of Fame. He was inducted at an event at the Russley Golf Club on Saturday 6th November 2021.
Dave said it was definitely an honour to be selected, not only for himself, but for his lineage back to his late teacher Master Hu Loo Chi.
“It was awesome to be the first to represent tai chi, especially as it is one of the lesser known martial arts.”
The induction involved each recipient having to do a 30 minute seminar in the morning. Dave’s seminar involved demonstrations of his art, such as tai chi sword forms, sensitivity training, shunting and two partner exercises. He also performed to music.
“I think the karate people enjoyed the tai chi. They could see similarities but in a different way”.
Since beginning tai chi in 1983, Dave has gone from strength to strength. He has won two gold and four silver medals at the world Kung Fu championships. Nationally, he has won four gold and two silver, and sixteen gold medals at Australasian competitions.
He attempted a world record in 2019 for the longest time doing tai chi to raise money for the Cancer Society. His astonishing performance lasted 30 hours and 15 minutes.
Dave has performed martial arts since he was 10. “All that was around back then was judo or karate. Shortly after I started working, I had an accident and after that, judo was too hard for me. I looked around for a martial art that was kinder to the body. I found out about tai chi master classes in Christchurch and went from there.”
Dave is one of three tai chi teachers ( sifu ) in South Canterbury. He now hopes to train teachers to help bring classes to the Mackenzie District.
“We prefer to do classes in nature rather than in a dojo. Tai chi is all about energy, thinking about yourself as energy rather than as a physical being”.
He said his biggest gain from practising tai chi was losing the need for control.
“Most of our problems come from trying to control everything. From tai chi, I learned to accept that if you can control things, fine, but if you can’t, move on. I have lost a lot of faults through tai chi. I have lost the ability to get angry quickly, I don’t struggle. You look at life differently because it is all about balance”.