PROMOTING AUTHENTIC TAI CHI AROUND THE WORLD
The International Shen Long Tai Chi Association
The International Shen Long Tai Chi Association was founded by Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung (吳國忠) with its headquarters in Taiwan and schools in several parts of the world, including mainland China, the USA, Canada, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand and, of course, the United Kingdom. The Association seeks to promote the true art of Traditional Tai Chi around the world, as a jewel of Chinese culture and philosophy, for improved health, as a martial art, for spiritual enlightenment and application of its principles in everyday life. World Shen Long teaches Tai Chi based on the heritage of Grandmaster Cheng Man Ching as handed down in his latter years and continued by Wu Kuo Chung.
Since 2002, World Shen Long headquarters has been located in the mountainous areas of central Taiwan (see picture). Every year members from all over the world gather here for the annual International Shen Long Day, which is an opportunity to meet and make new friends, and partake in intensive Tai Chi practice over the course of a week. The climax of the week is a banquet of Chinese cuisine and performances by participants, and usually some time is allocated to sightseeing in Taiwan.
The Shen Long Tai Chi Association UK was formed in 2005 with permission from Master Wu Kuo Chung to spread the art, skills, and philosophies of Traditional Taoist Tai Chi based on the teachings of Cheng Man Ching. Since 2012, the UK chapter has been located in its full time headquarters at the Brighton Wellness Centre in Brighton, probably one of the few Tai Chi schools to have its own facility.
In 2015, the 12th annual World Shen Long Day and conference was held at the University of Sussex, Brighton, England. This was the first time it has been held outside the Far East.
Born and bred in Brighton, England, Toni Amato started to learn martial arts in 1973 beginning with Shotokan Karate and then Shaolin Boxing. For a time he was a member of the Professional Karate Association, which began the promotion of kick boxing as it is known today.
In 1981, a year after graduating from Leeds University with a degree in Chinese Studies, he travelled to Hong Kong and then Taiwan. While in Taiwan he learnt Northern Shaolin Longfist (北少林長拳) with Master Zhang Chang Gen (章長根), Southern Shaolin White Crane (南少林白鹤拳) with Guo Jia Cai (郭家財), a student of Master Zeng Jin Zao (曾金灶), Pakua (Bagua) (柔身連環八卦掌) with Lu Shao Dong（呂紹棟), a student of Wu Jin Yuan (吳錦園), Yong Chun Quan, or Wing Chun (詠春拳) and Taoist Qigong (武當派乾坤門陰陽二斬氣功) with Master Lian Guang Quan（廉廣全). During a two-year break back in the UK in the eighties, he taught Shaolin Longfist and Qigong and opened the Chien Kun Institute of martial arts in Brighton. After that, he returned to Taiwan and only returned to the UK in 2002. He still travels regularly to Taiwan.
Since 1994, he has been studying Taoist Traditional Tai Chi Chuan and is a member of the Taiwan Shen Long Tai Chi Chuan Association (中華神龍太極拳學會). He has since been formally accepted as a "closed door" student of both Yang and Zuo (Tso) schools by his teacher, Master Wu Kuo Chung. He is an officially qualified instructor for the International Shen Long Association in the UK. During his time in Taiwan he also studied Chinese Medicine and became a licensed Tui Na (massage) practitioner. He is also a fully qualified practitioner of Complementary Medicine with a BSc Honours degree in nutritional medicine and post-graduate studies in nutrigenomics research.
Pearl was born in Taiwan and is married to Toni Amato. She has been studying Tai Chi since 2003 and is also a formal student of Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung. Apart from assisting with the teaching of Tai Chi classes, she is involved with arranging social events such as the annual dinner.
George (a.k.a. György) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He started studying Shotokan Karate in 1981 in Hungary and also trained with a number of schools in the UK and US before moving to the UK in 1990 to carry on studying Shotokan as a member of the Shotokan Karate Association of Great Britain until 1997. He has been studying Taoist Traditional Tai Chi Chuan since 2005 when he joined Toni Amato’s first class in the UK. He became a formal student of Toni Amato’s in 2018 during an initiation ceremony held at the Shen Long headquarters in Taiwan. He is a founding member of the Shen Long Tai Chi Association UK (appointed President in 2007). He completed the 2014 Instructor Training Program in Taiwan led by Grandmaster Wu Kuo Chung and took part in the 2015 World Shen Long Day and conference in the UK, also led by Grandmaster Wu. In 2017 he attained the requirements of the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts in coaching competence at Coach Level 2. Since 2005, George has been Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Sussex.