The Te Awamutu Taoist Tai Chi Arts organisation is celebrating five years of providing the town with the Chinese martial art and the health benefits that come along with the practise.

The organisation was introduced to Te Awamutu by local woman Kathy Keighley, who has been practising Taoist Tai Chi for 16 years.

She says she found her interest for the martial art after heading along to a class in Arapuni with a friend and has never looked back.

"I thought it'd be better than going to the gym, so I went to my first Taoist Tai Chi class with my friend and after that I was absolutely hooked," says Kathy.

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Her passion for the martial art and the health benefits is why she decided to offer it in Te Awamutu.

"Nowadays there is an increasing amount of anxiety and I think this is where Taoist Tai Chi can help," says Kathy.

On July 22 she has invited past and present members, local physios and Sports Waikato workers along to a special afternoon tea celebration in recognition of five years of Taoist Tai Chi in Te Awamutu.

She hopes the milestone will encourage more people to show an interest in the martial arts, encouraging them to give it a go and come along.

They will celebrate with a birthday cake and speeches at the Methodist Church Hall on Bank St.

When she first began teaching Taoist Tai Chi, Kathy had 24 members.

Today the group is made up of over 50 members, with a handful of them being people who joined on day one five years ago and are still practising the martial art today.

Kathy says the most important thing for her is making Taoist Tai Chi available even if it means she is the only instructor managing all members.

Every Wednesday Kathy volunteers her time to teach four classes — two for beginners and two for those of more knowledge.

"I do it to encourage people and because I love it."

For more information contact Kathy Keighly on 872 2852.