“Something had to change…”
From a very young age I was asking myself big questions. Who am I? What is this mystery I am living in? Am I the only one seeing this? It seemed so. I was really present and very awake.
During my school years it started to occur to me that something was off. I was very aware that I was slowly being pushed into a mold. I silently rebelled against it. I decided to follow my heart, no matter what. That didn’t prevent unconscious programming though. And later in life this conditioning resulted in a contraction, feeling so bad, that at a certain point I woke up, and realized there was no choice but to turn myself around.
My Journey starts
Three important things happened within the next month..
Someone gave me a copy of “The power of now” by Eckhart Tolle, I met my wife Didi and Tai Chi came into my life.
That summer, I visited my mother who lived in York, England at the time. Her then partner, Graham Barrie, taught Tai Chi classes around the city, and took me with him a couple of times. It got me completely fascinated.
Graham told me that Tai Chi was an internal martial art. But finding a teacher who taught it as such, proved hard to find when I arrived back home in Holland.
That changed when Didi and I moved to The Hague and found Roel Jansen. He taught Tai Chi coming from a Kuntao background. I trained intensively with him for over a period of 11 years. He not only gave me a strong foundation in internal martial arts, but our conversations about Taoism influenced me greatly.
The insight that people had been training self transformation methods for millennia, filled me with a sense of awe.
The intensive training exposed weaknesses in my lifestyle and diet. As my sensitivity grew I reacted much stronger to what I ate. My energy was all over the place. Didi and I started a search that resulted in Didi studying nutrition, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine. We implemented what she learned and that restored our vitality. It gave us the clear insight and experience that building a strong foundation in Chi Kung needs good digestion.
Roel advised me to start training with Sifu Mark Rasmus in Thailand, to further hone my skills. Mark’s Elastic Force Chi Kung system, cantered around building fascia and developing internal power, took my understanding and practice of Chi Kung and Tai Chi to the next level. But his Hermetic teachings, and especially internal alchemy, blew my mind. It was clear that my search, and all my training so far, had led me to this teaching. Hermetics felt like coming home. Big questions got answered, and my purpose became very clear.
Demystifying the Chi Kung process is what it’s all about. Most of what I have learned and now teach myself, is considered ‘closed door’ information. That shouldn’t be so. Like my teachers I have made it my goal to openly teach the internal principles that make Chi Kung and Tai Chi the transformational arts they are. In that way I offer anybody who is sincere and dedicated the chance to build internal skill and move forward in life.
Nienke T. - Zoetermeer, Netherlands
Through Didi I got acquainted with the five-element food, after her own enthusiastic experiences, I also tried it, to see what it would do to my body. Although changes always take some getting used to, Didi gives you enough ideas to put the advice into practice.
Thanks to Didi’s advice, I notice that I have more energy, I am more aware of my diet and have fewer “cravings”.
Kourosh Zand - Watford, UK
Training with Armand has been fantastic. He is very knowledgeable, patient and skilled at explaining the techniques and concepts of arts like Taiji, Hermetics and Qi Gong.
Working with him has been very beneficial. He is very approachable and easy to talk to. He breaks down the internal qualities needed into easy to comprehend and learnable practices.
Unlike a lot of teachers in arts like Tantra or Qi gong, his approach is direct and easy to understand, I felt the results very quickly. Did I mention he’s an awesome guy?
“It all started
with the promise
to a dog…”
Growing up I had a very strong connection with nature. My grandfather had a big part in this. When I was just five years old, he allowed me a spot in his vegetable garden. And as a teenager I had my first job helping him on an estate, where he was a gardener. I was outside all the time, filled with wonder.
The connection with nature and myself got lost step by step when I went to college and from there started to work in offices. My lifestyle and especially my diet at that time was not serving me, and the hormones from the birthcontrol pill turned me colder and colder.
The big wake up happened when we adopted Troton, a spanish greyhound. We wanted to take care of him the best we could, but regular dog foods were not working for him at all. He had poor digestion and low energy. Someone recommended a book that was called: give your dog a bone. It described what actual food should be for a dog, and warned against the processed dog foods out there. This made me question my own diet as well.
Food is the absolute
foundation for our vital energy
Through Armands Tai Chi teacher Roel Jansen, I got my hands on a couple of books about nutrition based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
There was nothing in there about nutrients, quick fixes, smoothies or the latest dieting trend. No, they simply described a system that categorized foods in the 5 elements and their effects on the 5 elements in the human energy system. By first determining the imbalances, foods could be used to restore the balance of the 5 elements. So, no ‘one size fits all’ here, but a method of optimizing the digestion of the individual. I was intrigued, and wanted to know more.
Armand and I started to implement what I had learned right away. After every meal we would ask ourselves, how do we feel? Is this giving or taking energy? How did we feel the next day? We made how we felt the deciding factor for what we ate. It did not take long for my system to warm up again, getting more vital energy and getting more trust in what my body wisdom was telling me.
After I got my degree in nutrition based on TCM, I studied Herbs according to TCM, but using western herbs. Connecting with herbs and what they can tell about us, made me see how perfectly clever nature is. And I reconnected in a deep profound way.
I started teaching workshops, and helping clients one on one. Also some of Armand’s students had begun asking me for advice on how to improve their vitality, and then the natural blending with Chi Skills and Armand’s teaching started to happen.
Food is the absolute foundation for our vital energy. It is where we can have the greatest effect. Herbs help to fine tune our emotions, and help remove blockages there. My experiences with food, herbs and the chi kung training with Armand have completly changed my life. The biggest change is that I can feel, trust and follow my own instincts again. Through Chi Skills I love to share my knowledge and experiences, so that others can benefit from my transformation as well.
When we saw what our combined expertises did for us and our students, it was a natural progression to start working together.