This interview with Alan Winner was recorded live on the launch party of DVD’s volume 1 and 2. interviewer: Marie Martens, location: Overijse, Belgium, date: 19/9/2010.
Marie: First I would like to ask you how long you have been involved in sports?
Alan: I have been involved in sports from the age of 8 and I am now 54.
Marie: What kind of sports did you do when you were a child?
Alan: I started with swimming. I really didn’t have much choice. I was pushed into it by my parents. And this is for the kids here, I really didn’t like it but now I am so grateful that I listened to them and that I was pushed into it.
Marie: Then how did you become a teacher?
Alan: I was always interested in sports and I wanted to teach so I went to the university of physical education with the intention that once I was qualified was going to teach.
Marie: You have school. What kind of students take your classes?
Alan: In The Academy, which has been established in the UK for the last 27 years, I have all different age groups. I take from 4 years old but sometimes they bring their brother or sister who are 2 years old, they are the youngest. And the oldest is I would say 68 years old
Marie: What is your main purpose in teaching?
Alan: It’s very important to enjoy life to the full. And to enjoy life to the full you need to have a strong mind, a strong body and a strong spirit. Exercise and sports will provide that for you and that is my main task in teaching.
Marie: What are the reasons for your pupils to come and train?
Alan: The Academy provides to each person according to the need of the individual. It’s like when you go to a restaurant or you go to any shop and when you find that you have gained exactly what you were looking for you will return back to that same shop again.
Marie: Not being an athlete like me and also not interested in martial arts or sports like me, why should I practice Qigong?
Alan: Well, Qigong will help you to awaken your internal energy and a lot of people are not aware of this. Everyone you see, they wake up in the morning they look at their hair, look at their face, put on make up, making sure they’re dressed nice. Everybody is really looking at the outside. And the most important is the inside because the beauty and the health is more internal. And once you awaken it, or discover it, or you become aware of it you are there.
Marie: Your first DVD is called “The Power of Relaxation”, can you tell us a little bit more about the content?
Alan: Yes definitely, with great pleasure. It is important to understand different cultures. In the West we have our own culture, in the Far East they have their own culture. And it is really very beautiful to have an open mind and to try to understand other cultures. And I was very much like everybody here, Qigong sounded very strange, I didn’t know exactly what it was. And when I met with my teachers in China and they explained Qigong to me it has become one of the most important things in my life. Because, as Qigong means internal energy, I was able to awaken and discover my internal energy. And once I discovered this, again it became like the example I gave earlier, when you go to a restaurant and you eat something very nice you go and tell your friends. And Qigong has completely transformed my life and therefore I decided I wanted to pass it on to the people. So when I became qualified I took it as a job.
Marie: Your second DVD is also out and is called “The Way”. It is about Qigong and Tai Chi, I want to ask you is it first things first or can we start with the second DVD?
Alan: It’s definitely first things first. And as they say in the Far East; A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step in the right direction. Also the first DVD does not really have any movement, almost everything is sitting down or standing. That is the first step: to become aware of your internal energy. The second DVD has more depth in understanding it but also has motion, it’s more dynamic and that is why it has become the second.
Marie: Is there still something else you want to share with the public?
Alan: I would like very much to indicate that everything in life is really very complicated and difficult but we have the choice to either look at life that way or look at life as simple. And for anybody to be able to see the simple side of life, you will need to equipped with two points: knowledge and experience.
And one last thing I would like to say about the history and origin of Qigong. In the old time there was an emperor who had everything and everyone involved in Qigong destroyed, and had all the schools closed. But then one day he became very ill and none of the doctors could help him. And when his adviser told him there is one Qigong master still alive, you have run out of options, why don’t you try him out, the emperor was healed by this master. And from that time Qigong has spread widely across the Far East.
Marie: I would like to thank you also for being here and sharing your way of life with us.
Alan: And I would like to thank everyone for your effort to be here and I am so glad and proud to be part of it.
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