Wudang Clan tai chi expert offering £1 classes in Clapton

Lucia Ring-Watkins is a 16th Generation Disciple of the Wudang Xuan Wu Clan.

Lucia Ring-Watkins is a 16th Generation Disciple of the Wudang Xuan Wu Clan. - Credit: Archant

A 16th generation descendant of the Wudang Clan is teaching tai chi for £1 as part of a Public Health England fitness programme.

Lucia Ring-Watkins’ title means she is an indoor student and lineage holder for the Wudang Clan – the same clan the hip-hop group Wu-Tang clan named their group after.

Lucia has lived in Hackney for 20 years, and been training tai chi for 16 years, including a total of two-years full time training in the Wudang Mountains in China. She has even learned Mandarin in order to get the most out of her teacher, a Taoist Priest called Yuan Li Min.

She told the Gazette how it all started. She said: “I was interested in meditation and stuff like that but I didn’t do much exercise as a teenager.

“My friend was banging on about tai chi for years and I thought it was boring. But I got into it and fell into a bit of a rabbit hole.

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“It was a good way to curtail the hedonistic lifestyle of a 22-year-old Londoner!

“I went to Thailand after the tsunami to teach and then I wanted to branch out further.

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“When I went to Wudang I had to find the right school to train in and I was looking for something authentic. As soon as I saw him I thought: ‘This is the real McCoy’.”

After six months training in the mountains Lucy came back and worked for a publisher writing tai chi books and learnt Mandarin, which she developed on return trips to China.

She has now run a school in Hackney for the last six years and last year began teaching at Core Clapton in Northwold Road, an osteopathy charity which offers a sliding scale of payment for osteopathic treatment to make it accessible for all.

There she trains people of all different abilities and ages, modifying each lesson for their needs.

The new £1 classes are offered in collaboration with Hackney Council through the One You programme, which aims to encourage people to get fitter and healthier through £1 sessions.

Lucia also runs weekly classes in Stoke Newington High Street, where she has been known to base activities on Wu-Tang’s hit Gravel Pit. She is now starting to offer subsidised rates to people on benefits.

“I don’t want money to be an object,” she said. “Any spare places will go to people who are seriously interested in learning.”

See wudang-pai.co.uk.

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