My name is Matt Hudd, I am the Chief Instructor and manager of Matt Hudd Martial Arts CIC. I run a not for profit full time martial arts centre in Coningsby Street, Hereford.

We specialise in Chinese Martial Arts and teach Chinese Kickboxing, Kung Fu and Tai Chi.

Tai Chi has become increasingly popular in the west over the last 50 years, mainly due to its many health benefits. So many people that practice it nowadays are not even aware that it is actually a martial art. In fact it's probably one of the oldest martial arts going. However, whether you are training in Tai Chi for the martial art applications or for its many health benefits, it will change your life in more ways than you could think of.

I originally got into Tai Chi because of my martial art experience and I was looking into meditation and mindfulness. Tai Chi was like moving meditation, and at the essence of Tai Chi is learning to be mindful, not just in your movements and actions but learning to control your thoughts as well.

I genuinely believe that Tai Chi can help any issues and conditions. I have many students that have come to our classes after being referred from their doctors, alot of these referrals are because of physical conditions like breathing conditions, stroke victims, people with mobility problems. Then there are so many people that suffer from mental health conditions like depression, PSTD, bi-polar that have literally said that our classes have been a lifeline for them. I myself have had a long history of depression and anxiety and believe that Tai Chi has had a massive impact on my recovery journey.

Before our centre became as busy as it is I was still teaching from community halls all around Herefordshire, I taught in Ledbury for 16 years before realising that I needed to spend more time in Hereford. Ledbury was a great town to teach in and I met some great students there that have become friends. I am very fortunate that a few of the students still travel to Hereford to attend our classes. I Would love to see more qualified Tai Chi teachers operating in the rural areas, especially for the elderly that can not access our classes. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be that many about.

Another thing I would like to address is that there is a general misconception that Tai Chi is just for the elderly. I agree that the majority of students in a typical Tai Chi class are above 50 years old but this should not be the case. I am really excited that we now have students that are in their teens and early 20’s training with us. Without sounding like an old man myself, I believe that so many people nowadays are used to a very fast paced world and looking at a Tai Chi class from the outside, its very slow and graceful, full of people that can not tire themselves out at the gyms anymore! This is so not true, it should be the reason why the younger generation should be getting into it. Actually doing exercises slowly and mindful is better for you than going as fast as you can. For one, it reduces the risk of injury, and 2, you are actually using a lot more muscles when performing things slowly.

Tai Chi does tend to take over your life, in a good way that is, I love how students are a bit anxious and nervous when they arrive for their first lesson and within a few weeks they are excitedly telling me that they can not get enough of Tai Chi, and how they are going through movements when they are walking the dog or waiting for the kettle to boil! You can literally see how the physiology and confidence in themselves has changed for the better.

I like to teach Tai Chi through its principles as I find that once you can remember and understand the principles, Tai Chi gets a lot easier to take into your life. There are too many principles to mention here but for example our first 3 principles are feet, then core first and then head which is basically putting your feet in the right place before moving, moving from your core and then making sure that the crown of your head is pointing to the heavens/sky. This allows you to think about the way that you are moving and to stand tall. Another reason that I believe there will be so many people needing Tai Chi in the future is that mobile phones and laptops are terrible for people's posture.

There are many layers of Tai Chi which makes it a great art that you will never stop learning. If you are already into martial arts, it will enhance the art you are learning or if you want to improve your health, whether that is physical or mentally, then Tai Chi would be a great starting point.

Matt Hudd can be contacted on 079154500663 or email For further information please search Matt Hudd Martial Arts CIC on Facebook or search for