Ven Geshe Damcho: I had known Alan since 1976 when I taught at John Kells’ classes in London. Alan was a quietly spoken, kind, gentle, and talented man with an engaging smile and a dry sense of humour. Alan always made time to spend with you, he would listen carefully, reflect, then offer helpful advice. He bore many responsibilities of husband, father, son, brother, friend, therapist, Tai Chi teacher, dharma student and Trustee of Lam Rim Bristol Buddhist Centre. His life was full of engagement, full of promise, and suddenly…….gone.
We need to recognise with the passing of dear friends and loved ones that we have the opportunity to make an increased effort with our spiritual practice as we have the experience of closeness, together with the keen awareness of suddenly being without them. However, they have given us an amazing opportunity, the gift of practice. Buddha gave us Teachings which are based on experience – so we need to help Alan through this journey to his next rebirth. So practice with sincere heart. Then our karma will be re-connected again in his next life time. With my love and prayers to Paula and family, Alan’s family and all Alan’s friends and colleagues. Thank You
Christina Hamati: Alan touched so many people in such a significant way and I am filled with love, inspiration and joy to have been able to spend time with him and receive a little of his wisdom and beautiful teachings. He will be greatly missed. But not forgotten.
Sarah Thorne: I really just wanted to share my shock, sadness and grief with fellow students. I have been filled with thoughts and memories about Alan since I found out. I think his death feels so shocking to me because he felt so very alive, so very much the embodiment of life energy. And also because he was filled with so much wisdom and it feels like such loss a that he is no longer here to pass this on. He was such a beautiful presence, and I feel a great sense of loss of this in the world, and hugely grateful and privileged to have known and learnt from him.
To have known Alan was a huge privilege for which I will always be grateful. I am thinking so much of Alan, you, and all of the people whose lives he touched with his beauty, wisdom and kindness. I know that none of us will ever forget him. I hope that knowing what an incredibly positive and magical effect Alan had on so many peoples' lives may bring you comfort in your grief.
Alison Smith: I have just received the sad news of Alan's passing. The Tai Chi teaching I received from him, from 1979 for many years both in London and in Bristol, has been central to my life and each year I uncover more gems from the lineage which he passed on with such care and love. It is with great gratitude, respect and love that I remember him. It is hard to understand that we will not see him again.
Phil Vickery: I know that what I say here will be echoed by all, but Alan definitely touched our lives deeply and so positively with kindness, wisdom, humour and inspiration. I am so proud to have been a student of his, because he meant everything he taught in class. He inspired us to search out the truth ourselves in our own practice, whilst benefitting massively from the realization of his. He looked after all of us, and guided us individually with corrections and refinements, and motivated us with recognition of our successes. Just like all his students, I miss him so very much, and will always love him as my most important teacher.
Christina Hamati: I'd really like to share with all of you, some of my heart felt thoughts of love, joy and sorrow for our dear dear friend Alan. I will miss Alan greatly as a friend, as a teacher, as a practitioner of acupuncture and as a presence in my life. It is such a loss that his students will no longer be able to continue learning from his invaluable experience. I feel though that I almost miss him as a person more so than as a teacher - for many of his teachings are little seeds inside me... and I now will have to take responsibility for my own practice and ensure that these seeds grow over time.
I will however miss deeply his little Taoist sayings, his beautiful and inspirational outlook on life and his stories of his studies with Dr Chi... all these things made his classes uniquely his and nothing could possibly replace that. Alan was always so caring... and so giving with his teachings - he would hold nothing back. Alan was an invaluable teacher, and his wisdom, love and beautiful teachings of Taoism and of the Natural Way of Tai Chi movement will be greatly missed. But not forgotten
It brings me so much joy to have known such an amazing man and to have spent a little time with him and it brings me comfort to know that he truly lived every moment of his days and awoke each morning with a wonder of beauty and amazement at life. He really lived much more deeply than anyone else I have ever known.
Jene Feder: Like all of Alan's student I am stunned by his sudden death. I will miss his compassionate, humorous and precise teaching.
Ray Hopley: As a teacher Alan touched hundreds of lives with his kind, gentle personality, his original sense of humour, his passion and commitment shone through his teaching. I always felt Alan was talking just to me, no matter how large the class.
Barbara: Alan has been in my life for so many years. He was there at the starting point of our journey in search of the truth. It seemed inconceivable there would ever be a time when he wouldn't be there so woven into the fabric of my life as he was.
Liz Tunks and family: Alan treated me with acupuncture for the past 5 years at Lam Rim and helped me so much to get well again after an illness, not just with acupuncture but Tai Chi, exercises, diet, etc. He was the most amazingly talented person - he is such a huge loss to me personally as he was a great therapist but also to the world as a whole - there cannot be many people out there who knew as much as he did in his field. I think that is why everyone who knew him is so shocked. [...] I will never forget Alan and the things he has taught me I will always remember - there's not much better accolade that I could give him - he was one of the few people who "walked his talk"!
Ann McIlraith: I never got to meet him but often heard John speak fondly of him as a student. I feel a deep connection and gratitude to him. It was in his " Introduction To T'ai Chi " that I first read about John Kells and decided that I had to meet and study with him. Some choices change one's life for ever. Alan's book opened an challenging exciting and continuing journey for me.
Scott: Everyone who studied with Alan will have been touched by his gentleness and sensitive awareness. He opened the door and pointed the way to a genuine style of tai chi that can be traced back through the ages. Anyone privileged enough to have practised with him had no doubt of the depth of his teaching, his practice and his understanding of tai chi.
Charlie Beaton: I've been attending your classes since 1997 and, although it's sometimes been hard to find the energy to get there, I have never once left regretting it. Every class over 11 years has been a joy and a benefit. Thank you most sincerely for your excellent tuition.
Diane: Alan sparkled like a dewdrop. May we all hold a little of that in our hearts.
Jill Collett: I was never a particularly gifted Tai Chi student but what kept me coming back to class was Alan. Alan and his kindness, patience, sense of humour and numerous funny anecdotes. And not just his words - also his gestures, facial expressions and hilarious re-enactments of funny events. Everyone loved him. He will be sorely missed and the world a slightly less bright place to be without him.
Sue Hander: Alan was a very special man and will be greatly missed.
Maggie, a patient and student: I think of Alan. A man of love and compassion who heard without judging.
Dr. Shen Hongxun: In the Taiji sky a great star has fallen.
Patrick: There was something very special about Alan that has always stayed with me, and despite not having seen him for at least a year, I feel an overwhelming sense of loss that I cannot rationalise, both personally and for the world. Bristol as a community will most surely miss this gentle and humorous soul with his great charm and innate wisdom and compassion. His absence will be felt for a long time.
I still think of his teachings as a reference point for being in the world and I find it upsetting to think I will never see him again or experience his company that was always such a great panacea to the everyday stresses and strains of the world. What a lovely man and teacher. I feel privileged to have known him and will always remember him.
Francesca: His kindness, gentleness and wisdom will remain a gift.
Andy Fagg: He was a great teacher, an inspiration to many... Attending his classes in the late 80's and early 90's had a profound effect upon the way in which my massage practice and teaching developed. I still pay tribute to his example, the principles he shared and his emphasis on effortless ease and wisdom, when I am working with students.
Jon: Alan Peck was an amazingly kind and generous man. I feel I have benefited enormously from his classes and being in his presence. His life is an inspiration to others. [...] I will remember him in my prayers and wish him a fortunate rebirth.
James: Alan was a fantastic influence in my life and of so many people. Tai Chi has helped me deal with the stresses that life has thrown at me and that is a gift words can't express.
Jan & Tim Parsons: Alan, your life has been an inspiration; your death a great teaching.
Jon Lee: I first met Alan and his teaching indirectly through one of his students - the wonderful John Allman whose Taiji class I went to when I was at Bristol University in the late 80s. I only realised what I had found when I tried to find further taiji teaching when I moved away from Bristol. Some years later I decided to return to the city and learn from Alan himself. It was Alan that opened me up to the beauty and power of taiji and the appreciation and philosophy of qi which set me rolling on the journey that I've been making ever since. There aren't that many really good teachers out there, and I feel grateful and lucky to have met Alan. His dedication to the art, steadfast presence and acquired gung continue to be a great lesson to me.
Although in later years my practice moved away from taiji, more towards qi gung, I was always aware of how much the root owed to Alan. Knowing he was around, seeing him and other students from time to time was and is such an important pillar in my life. His passing is a great, sad teaching. May his rebirth be auspicious.
Edward: Alan was an amazing man who touched the lives of many people through his T'ai Chi and gentle way. Most of all I shall remember Alan as a Bodhisattva and will offer prayers for a fortunate rebirth.
Joanna: I was very moved by being with you all last Wednesday and our practice together in the quiet of Lam Rim where I first met our precious and funny teacher and friend, Alan, whose kindness and welcoming spirit made us all feel like we had come home.
Rachael: Alan was a remarkable man and someone who saw beauty in all reality of life... I am overwhelmed by the feeling of love around you all at the moment, this feels like a time of great sadness but also a time of amazing transformation, love and life.
Russell: Alan showed me how to live a good life and I'll always be grateful to him for that, he was an amazing man and I'll miss him a lot.
Jackie: A truly special man who has deeply touched me.
Mike: He is an inspiration to me and so many people and passed on the gift of knowing oneself more deeply.
Pete: I feel deeply privileged to have been a student of Alan's. For 17 years he has been a constant figure of calm, gentle, sustaining, authoritative spirituality (and physicality). An hour-an-a-half in his presence on a weekday evening was always a wholehearted restorative, with an impact far beyond that time. His warm humour and astute outlook have been quietly, continually, enriching: I often have his wry aphorisms running through my head - as I'm sure they will continue to do. He leaves an extraordinary legacy of students who have been touched by his philosophies and practice.
Lindsey: Such a big man, larger than life. The extent of what he has given me will only be seen as my journey unfolds. A precious experience; the knowing of the smiling man - Alan. I have gratitude to you Alan for being a part of my life. Thank you.
Jan Copley: Thank you for your wisdom and insight and for helping me keep the door open to the Spirit and healing of Tao when life was tough and distracting. Thank you for being my t'ai chi teacher and showing so wonderfully the power of lightness. I feel blessed to have known you.
Simon: Alan was a very lovely man and a wonderful presence.
From Angus to Alan
We first met in autumn 82, or was it 83?
I can't remember.
I was nervous - coming to the Chalk Farm class for the first time. An introduction from my house mate Jack who was a regular with you
And familiar with the Saturday morning commute from Norwich to learn with you.
But I didn't have time to be nervous,
It was the way you approached me, immediately.
Those eyes - so alive, bursting with spirit;
your outstretched hand
and that soft hand shake.
"Hi", you said
And I was immediately welcome.
Those classes were filled with such energy and magic...
Then it was Bristol
Tai Chi on the Downs
Rice and veg (and sometimes tofu)
One to one
or two. Sometimes 3.
Da Lu, long form, short form, the sword, white crane chi kung;
Energy medicine with all that stuff from Bob Moore.
You taught me so much Alan
The excitment of learning with Dr Chi...
Tai Chi weekends at Lam Rim in Wales
Tibetan Buddhism and meetings with remarkable people.
And now it seems that your teaching continues, in such an unforeseen way;
From a place I hadn't expected
(I'd had put a fiver on you going further.
Much further. Any day.)
But the stark truth of this day
Is that I'm left pondering the fragility, beauty and preciousness
Of my own life
Bless you on your way Alan
And thanks indeed for all you have given me.
Richard Farmer: Yes, Alan and I go way back, before we got into Tai Chi even probably 1975 maybe earlier. When he was a school teacher we used to live in the same house together in London. A man called Mike Spink got us into TC with John Kells where we were part of a group who studied together. There were roughly five of us, Nan, Gary Wragg (now of Wu Academy in London), Mike Spink (sadly Mike has since died, Sue Russell and myself and for us it was 7 days a week at the British Tai Chi Chuan Association centre in London. Each day after work we would go to class from 6 to sometimes 11pm On the weekends, Saturday and Sunday we would often spend all day or half the day learning and studying together. Eventually Alan and I assisted John and then became full time teachers at the BTCCA. This went on for 3 years, maybe more but all of us gave ourselves to Tai Chi and became teachers one way or another. It was a very powerful time.
Ven. Geshe Damcho used to come and give some talks once a month in London and we all were inspired by him and his teachings.
After about 4 years we all went our own ways. I went to live at Lam Rim with Geshe La, Alan continued to teach in London with John. When I stopped teaching in Bristol I invited Alan to leave London and come to take my place as I was going to concentrate my teaching in Cardiff. Not really clear when this was but very early 80's.
The rest is history, as they say. We continued to stay in touch for quite a while, the ties of Lam Rim and Tai Chi keeping us in contact. We would push hands together and share our teaching experience, supporting one another. After I went to see Dr Chi Alan followed and probably because we got such different things from him, we gradually saw less of each other. I last heard from him about a year ago. However he always has a special place in my heart. Our paths entwined over such a long time, kind of parallel lives, he lived something I didn't and visa versa. A mystery - yes? I hope this helps put together some flesh on the early years. We felt like pioneers! I still do.
Tessa King: I am casting my mind back but it is rather a long way to go! The bits and pieces I can recall are. Alan met Geshe Damcho when Geshe-la was living in Croydon with the two Ani-las who brought him over to the UK (mother and daughter who took ordination in India and met Geshe-la there and then set up Lam Rim Wales with Margaret, Edita and co). I think Geshe-la used to teach at John Kells (Alan's Tai Chi teacher) somewhere in London. Adrian, Richard Farmer or John should remember more. Alan was a primary school teacher, married to Jane and they had Lucy. Then when Alan and Jane separated he came to Bristol. I think I must have met him at Lam Rim Wales. Anyway at that time, I lived in Devonshire Road and had people on a house share basis and Alan joined the merry throng. Must have been around 1982/3. Lucy used to come and stay, she could only have been 2 or so, still in a pushchair as I recall! After a few months Alan moved round the corner to another house share. I think he started teaching Tai Chi straight away, with Richard Farmer's school as far as I recall and then he started up his own school.
Geshe-la started to come to Bristol around that time and initially taught at Sheila Yeger's house one evening a week and then we moved to Jackie? and then my house. Eventually we set up Lam Rim Bristol and bought Victoria Place and Alan was one of the original Trustees, along with myself and Campbell Shaw.
Sorry that is all a bit woolly - rather a long time ago. Though thinking back, Alan never really seemed to age - just went grey but that was all.
He and Adrian used to practice sword form in my garden. I was not really into Tai Chi in those days and used to mutter away at them - I used to tell them if they were going to be out there waving those swords around they may as well do something useful and prune the roses at the same time!
Sarah Maude: I was volunteering at Sarah College when the news of Alan's death reached me. I didn't know Alan very well but had worked on reception at the Centre for Whole Health and was also in Bristol Tibet Group. I lit butterlamps for Alan in the Tsuklakhang (main temple) in McLeod Ganj. That took a bit of time, as at first it was not possible to enter as His Holiness the Dalai Lama was giving Guhyasamaja teachings for tantric initiations to previous attendees. Before that, I did the circular prayer path around where His Holiness lives and also presented a Khatak in the Kalachakra Temple in recognition and respect for Alan. He helped to keep the Bristol Lam Rim going, which has benefitted many many people - I'm just one!
Emma Davis & Family: Alan has had an enormously positive effect on my life, wellbeing and health - from the very first time he told me to relax my shoulders and I listened. I often found that his tai chi teachings resonated with broader aspects of my life and whilst he was teaching a particular posture, he was also helping me to resolve bigger issues in my daily life.
Above all I don't think my journey to motherhood would have been possible without Alan's care and support. His recent help with the birth of our son Francis has been immeasurable.
He was there at the start of this journey by helping me regain my strength after a post viral illness. Thanks to his deep understanding of chi and acupuncture skills I became well enough to get pregnant. He kept me healthy during my pregnancy with further acupuncture and by tailoring his tai chi instruction to accommodate a big bump! He also helped me prepare for the birth itself by recommending simple breath meditation which I used extensively when the time came.
At the end of the pregnancy when Francis was taking his time to emerge, Alan was there to help again using acupuncture to encourage him into the world. We will always be grateful.
Thank you Alan, Bon Voyage from all your Buqi and Taiji Colleagues.
Hello Alan ,
For the first time in my life I have lost someone close to my heart... it hurts... I only knew you for three or four years... I have had no contact with you for more than 20 years... Still , for all of those 20 years , your words of wisdom still echo around my head. I remember a weekend retreat at the Buddhist monastery in Wales. We were practicing T'ai Chi on the lawn. One of the resident monks came to sit and watch us play. You went and sat at his feet and held hands... no words were spoken , you were both content and happy with just that simple physical contact...
After a failed attempt a couple of years ago to contact you [find you on the internet], I decided last week to try again. I found you...
I wanted to thank you. You changed my life for ever. I wanted to tell you of my joy at having found the Golden Flower T'ai Chi school. For some reason I always thought I would see you again.
Why did I decide to contact you in August 2010 and not August 2009? I like to think it is because our paths will cross again in the future and I can thank you personally .
As I said at the beginning , this is a first for me, mourning the passing of another human being... The pain, the tears, am I finally starting to become a human being myself? even in your death you are still teaching me... I wish you peace and a speedy return [if that is what you want] .
Love Pete Watson
"Hi”, said Alan, "Good to meet you".
It was the Autumn of 1988 and I had arrived in Bristol during the previous week, collocated for a month with Colleagues to work on a tender to capture funding for a 5 year research programme.
My reason for spending a month in Bristol was not entirely work motivated however. I had studied T'ai Chi for two years with John Kells at the British T'ai Chi Chuan association in Upper Wimpole street London and with another one of his students Keith Graham for some years before that. It was during my time with John in London that I heard several people talk about Alan Peck, a gifted senior student and teacher who had move to Bristol to start a school some years before.
I was curious, and I started trying to make contact with Alan shortly after I arrived in Bristol. It wasn't easy however. I didn't have contact details (there were no Internet in them days) and Alan didn't seem to be advertising widely! However, I remember walking down a dark street one damp evening in late autumn, glancing in shop windows for any of Alan's adverts (it had become my habit by now) and suddenly there it was, a small flyer for The "Natural Way School of T'ai Chi". I jotted down the telephone number, rang him and arranged to attend the next available in Redland. Looking back on my T'ai Chi notes from that time, I remember thinking that I had learned more about the internal aspects of T'ai Chi in that one month than I had in my previous six years of study.
At work, the bid to become involved with the five year research programme was successful, and the opportunity of an interesting Job arose in Bristol. It was a natural decision for me to move to Bristol, and so began my full time study with Alan the following year at the Lam Rim Centre in Bedminster. The first years were very intense, being personally free then to study with him on almost every possible opportunity.
I remember one early event particularly clearly; it was very much one of those "pivotal points" in my life and it occurred the first time I was invited to push hands with Alan. There he was, directly in front of me, quite a substantial fellow with an affable smile and I was invited to push towards his chest. What happened after that was quite, quite extraordinary, I simply felt absolutely nothing.
My eyes told me there was someone very substantial to push directly in front of me, but however I tried to push, fast, slow, strongly, weakly, directly, or with sneaky curves, I simply felt nothing, and I couldn’t understand why I felt nothing. If there was no resistance and no running away, why couldn’t I feel anything? Why couldn’t I understand what was happening? It was such an intense emotional experience and I felt like a ghost was in front of me.
It was only over the following years of practice that I began to learn a little about the listening, joining, sticking, neutralising, turning, leading and following energies in which Alan was so deeply interested, and which he had developed to such an accomplished level.
I am just back from a 5 week Dharma pilgrimmage in Nepal, mostly at a nunnery up in the hills.