T. Allen Culpepper
T. Allen Culpepper
Bird! But water!
T. Allen Culpepper
Today, our very own Kat Tai-Dai Mau, feline tai chi master, sits down on the table with journalist Russ Bleu for an exclusive interview with Kat Kicks magazine.
Russ Bleu: Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come down and talk with me, Tai!
Kat Tai-Dai Mau: You’re welcome, Russ. It’s always a pleasure.
RB: So, Tai, I guess you have been doing tai chi for a pretty long time now?
KTDM: Yeah, pretty much my whole life–since I was just a kitten, anyway.
RB: Your parents encouraged you then?
KTDM: Well, you know how it is: Dad wasn’t around much, and Mom encouraged me…hmmm, how to put it?–to become independent quickly, let’s say.
RB: And do you enjoy doing tai chi every day?
KTDM: Come on, Russ, I’m a cat! I don’t do anything unless I’m enjoying it. I’m totally a live-for-the-moment kind of guy.
RB: For our readers who aren’t knowledgeable about tai chi, can you tell us basically what it is?
KTDM: Sure. Tai chi is a martial art, but it is also a form of focused meditation through breath and movement.
RB: Is feline tai chi significantly different from human forms of tai chi, do you think?
KTDM: Well, yes and no. The principles are basically the same, of course. But there are some differences. For example, the names of some of the movements are rather figurative, and cats see things differently than humans do sometimes, so different figures of speech appeal to them. Also, feline and human anatomy and physiology are different; cats’ leg joints work differently from those of humans, just for example.
RB: I see from your blog that you also do some yoga and go to the gym occasionally. What impact do you think those activities have on your tai chi practice?
KTDM: Well, yoga definitely helps with breath and maybe a little with flexibility, although most cats are pretty flexible to begin with. And a little strength training and cardio is good for almost everyone, I think. But time is limited, and tai chi has to be my main focus, obviously.
RB: Besides being a master of the tai chi practice, you are also known as an exemplary teacher. How did that come about?
KTDM: I do have to give my mom most of the credit for that I suppose; she wasn’t a professional teacher or anything, but she did teach me well when I was a kitten. When I got to be an adolescent, of course, she grabbed me by the scruff and threw me out of the house, but that’s a different topic altogether.
RB: Besides learning tai chi from you, your students and disciples have come to rely on you for wisdom on a variety of topics. With that in mind, would you be willing to share with our readers your thoughts on some current social issues:
KTDM: Yes, but with one important caveat: Please make it clear that they are merely my personal opinions, and I certainly would never want to try to impose them on anyone else in any way.
RB: Not a problem. So, how about I just mention some issues and you give us a quick comment about each?
KTDM: Works for me.
RB: The Confederate flag.
KTDM: I’d rip it to shreds. But that is my approach to pretty much any large piece of fabric. The colors are irrelevant.
RB: Gay marriage.
KTDM: Whatever fluffs your tail, dude, but I’d rather just F around myself.
RB: Gun control.
KTDM: I can’t speak for humans, but I don’t think cats need guns unless they have been declawed. Totally infeline, by the way; don’t even get me started.
KTDM: Oooh, that’s a tough one. I admit that I have kind of a love/hate relationship with water. I do like to drink it fresh and cool from the toilet, but don’t get it on my fur!
RB: Climate change.
KTDM: Humans aren’t especially intelligent, but they can’t help it really; it’s a genetic defect, I think.
KTDM: Ouch. I suppose there are some extreme cases in which it is appropriate–when someone is in terrible pain because of severe illness or injury–but, on the whole, I think it’s much better just to find a good home for everyone.
RB: Separation of church and state.
RB: Freedom of speech.
KTDM: Have you ever tried to silence a cat who has something to say?
RB: Well, Tai, I’m afraid we’re out of time, and I know you have to get back to your tai chi regimen anyway. Thanks so much for your candor, and thanks again for talking with me.
KTDM: And thank you, Russ.