In Memoriam

Steve Wright (19/02/1952 - 19/04/2020)

Don Spargo, Chief Instructor at Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy, Archway, wrote:

In this time of loss and sadness for so many, it was my painful and sorrowful duty to report the death of one of our dearest Instructor Members – Steve Wright.

I knew Steve for about 24 years, and was responsible along with others for his initial training in Tai Chi Chuan when I was an instructor at The Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy in Osnaburgh street, London. His enthusiasm and dedication soon marked him out as a potential instructor and he went on to fulfil that role with talent and dedication both in the Osnaburgh street Academy and from 2004 at the Archway Academy.

Steve was one of the founder members and instructors of Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy, Archway. He was also a disciple member of the Wu family. When he helped set up the Academy in 2004 he had been practicing Tai Chi for about 8 years. He taught with clarity, precision and good humour and was much liked by students who attended his classes. He was a popular and enthusiastic member of the Academy and an excellent teacher who contributed to the day-to-day life of the organisation through his enthusiasm and passion for Tai Chi Chuan. He was particularly fond of the applications of the form and push hands and had a practical no nonsense approach to the subject. He retired from teaching at the Academy in 2017 due to recurrent flare ups of old knee and leg injuries sustained in his 20’s when he played Rugby.

Although generally a man of few words, Steve was a man with a great generosity of spirit and good humour. He embodied the qualities of a good teacher, succinctness, thoroughness, directness, with detailed and diligent teaching and concern for his student's learning, all of which was put over in a light hearted, humorous way that drew respect and affection from his students. He was also a thoroughly decent and likeable human being and is a great loss both personally and to the Academy.

I remember his fondness for a pint and often shared a post-training drink with him on the way home, quite often accompanied by Pat Saults. We would chat mainly about Tai Chi but also all sorts of other things as well and generally put the world to rights. He was always good company and a good sounding board for ideas I might have about The Academy. I valued his insight and comments.

I also remember his fondness for food and recall one occasion where we had driven to the West Country together for a Tai Chi residential weekend. The food at the residential was all vegetarian, and by the Sunday evening Steve was beginning to show meat withdrawal symptoms; so much so that on the return journey we had barely gone 20 miles from the venue before we had to stop so he could have a bacon sandwich, which he ate whilst issuing deep sighs of satisfaction.

Published below are some of the many tributes paid to him and memories of him, either through Facebook or by e mail to me. I think they show the high regard and affection in which he was held, but sadly are no substitute for the man.

He will be sorely missed.

Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy, Bethnal Green: Heartfelt condolences from Sifu Gary and all of us at Wu's Academy Bethnal Green. We are shocked and saddened to learn of his loss. On behalf of all of us, and especially those who were taught by, and trained with, him, we will miss you Steve.

Sifu Gary Wragg: It is very, very sad news that Steve passed away recently due to this terrible Covid 19. He will be missed by many people, his family, the students and Wu’s disciples.

Steve was a good man, and so likeable. He took discipleship along with my sons Ben and Toby, who both had a high regard for him, as did members of my family who remember him at Ben’s wedding.

As a former disciple of mine, I only have positive memories of Steve as a big hearted person and a loyal dedicated Disciple, who brought much joy to training sessions at Diorama.

The respect for each other was lasting, even though from 2003 onwards I saw much less of him, as he trained at the Archway Academy with Don and fellow disciples. It was mostly at regular Wu seminars or a few competitions consequently that we enjoyed a robust exchange.

Steve had a modest genial nature and was very motivated in practicing and teaching Tai Chi. He was a pleasant, caring, trustworthy and kind man, who was always one to step up and say hello, and make conversation. I remember fondly his smile and a good many of his unique range of, and often humorous chirpy and convivial expressions.

A lovely man, who will be remembered. Many good memories Steve. RIP.

Eileen Ford-Price: Incredibly sad news. The way I remember Steve is somebody who was never scared to "give it a go". Bad back? No problem, I'll just enter a pushing hands competition. And he didn't care about being knocked over again and again. He just got up and had another go - with a smile.

Tim Price: So sad - I just remember that he always had a smile on his face.

Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy, Fredericton, NB, Canada: On behalf of Sifu Martin, and the entire membership of the Fredericton Academy, please accept our deepest condolences on the passing of your friend.

Toby Wragg: I’m so sad to hear this awful news. Steve was a gentle giant with a heart of gold. So many years of training together week in week out, I will never forget our special time together in the early 2000’s. Travelling the country from tournament to tournament with Jae, Pete and many other great guys. My thoughts are with his family and friends. So sad.

Jae Willis: Still getting my head around this awful news. Steve was one of my original training partners from the early days when he, Pete Carey, Toby Wragg and myself were sparring regularly. We called Steve 'The Crusher' because of his sparring style. He had a mode of attack he could access where a mere punch in the face was unlikely to stop him. Invariably he would have a bleeding nose almost every session, but he would always laugh it off. What a legend he was. With a big smile and a hug to greet me, he would always make me feel welcome back at Archway no matter how long it had been since the last time. I'll miss you Crusher. Bigup my brother.. I have appreciated having you in my life. With tears, in this crazy time.

Just as enjoyable company on or off the mats. Practicing an application or having a pint... A lovely man with a heart of gold.

Gillian Goodchild:Very sad news. Steve was one of my first teachers and I valued his patience, humour and constructive advice - particularly the weary reminder "you do know where your nose is?" (anyone seeing my early Play Guitar form would understand). He was good company at numerous tai chi social events - parties, barbecues and visits to the pub.

Mirilee Pearl: Steve was one of my teachers when I started tai chi in 2001. You couldn’t ever meet a nicer guy. His kindness shone through in his approach to students, as did a sly wit that appeared when you least expected it. Our tai chi paths diverged in 2005 but I thought of him often, and enjoyed seeing him at Wu Style events. So sad to learn of his passing.

Patrick Saults: Sad news. I knew Steve from the 90s and he was always good company at tai chi events, competitions, seminars, instructors' and first aid courses.. often bringing his own sense of humour to the proceedings. A very good and real awareness of the martial side of Wu style tai chi and a clear and confident instructor .. Had a few pints with him over time too. RIP Steve and my condolences to your family for their sad loss.

Sean Lapham: Steve was one of my first teachers, in the early 2000s. He was a lovely, good humoured guy who wore his considerable knowledge lightly, and had a knack of putting across complicated subjects in a straightforward way. Above all, he made sure it never got too serious! As well as competing himself, Steve was often the go-to person to referee push-hands or sparring practices. His calmness, good humour, and physical presence made him ideal in this role where the unexpected could, and sometimes did, happen. So sorry to hear this sad news; condolences to his family. RIP Steve.

Brian Cook: I am greatly saddened by the news we have feared since hearing he was in hospital.

Steve was one of the great characters at Archway. My ‘eldest youngest brother’ was a gentleman of rich personality and noble spirit. His greetings always gave a warm welcome back. In training he was sharing and supportive and embodied ‘to bear and forebear’. I shall remember him with great fondness.

Roy & Angela Constantine: Just seen this sad news. I am shocked. R.I.P. Steve.

Roy Constantine: I find it difficult to put anything into words correctly. If anything I could say that... I have known Steve for the last 24 years. We both started off in the Beginners Tai Chi Class in 1996 although Steve was 6 months ahead of me. Over the years we went through the stages of Beginners, Intermediates, Seniors and became Certified Instructors together. We were also in the original group who transitioned from the London Wu Style Tai Chi Academy to the Archway Academy in 2004. Steve was always helping me along our Tai Chi journey, as he did with everyone else in the Academy. I still cannot believe that he has left us. Rest in Peace my Friend.

David Mighall: Shocked and sad that Steve is no longer with us. I have many good memories of times spent training and chatting with Steve. He will be sorely missed. My condolences to Steve's family and friends.

Andy Jones: Steve always made training fun. Very sad to hear the news; sending my condolences to his family.

Ana Frechoso: Very sad news, hadn't seen Steve for sometime but I remember training with him with fondness. His patience, humour, support ... very sad. My condolences to his family and friends.

John Wilsher: I remember Steve's classes being good fun. One had to be held in a small hallway for some reason and was a particularly good humoured and hard workout. My condolences to his family.

Marcos Patchett: Very sad news. Steve was a great teacher to me when I was starting out, always welcoming and friendly. I'll miss having a friendly grumble with him at tai chi dinners too. RIP

Dionisis Tsetselis: Very sad news... Please accept the deep condolences of all the Athen's Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy members and me personally... RIP Steve...

Warren Gavin: In my time in London I met some great people and Steve was no exception. He was serious when it was needed, but a cheeky bloke with a great sense of humour. I loved training with him, even if I could barely move him, but for all that he was a gentle giant.

As others have said Steve was great to be around in or out of the academy, I have plenty of great memories of both. A common love of beer, rugby and golf, as well as Tai Chi Chuan, meant we were always going to get along.

Steve was a true bridge builder; he wasn't happy seeing people in conflict and always worked to find common ground. I think that set him apart from many people. I'll miss him.

Susie Collins: I trained with Steve from 1998 onwards and will greatly miss him and his good hearted but also serious and professional approach to practice. He helped me in many ways with his keen eye for detail and ability to make corrections and with the support and encouragement that he always offered.

Richard Docksey:This is terribly sad news - and somehow shocking. He is a large part of my memories of training in London, it's hard to imagine him gone. It's been a long time since I was in Steve's company, but as everyone has said - a very likeable character and one of the first people I think of when I think back to London tai chi.

Cath Farr: This is such sad news. I liked Steve very much. He was a decent bloke and a terrific teacher. I send those close to him my sincere condolences.

Michael Ashmore: Please accept our condolences from the Detroit Wu's Tai Chi Chuan Academy. RIP.

Donetta Pedroza: Sending condolences from Asheville, North Carolina. Sending condolences from Asheville, North Carolina.

Dan O'Grady: I did not know Steve personally but my sympathies go out to you in your loss Dan of South Wales.

Helen Guinnard-Jones: Very sorry to hear this, condolences to the family x

David Brown: I am very sad to hear this news.

Greg Stroud: All my condolences.

Awais Mian: Very sad to hear the news.

Olive Constantine: Very sad news.

Neville Côté: Very sad news

Marianne Johansson: Sad news

Jennifer Chung: RIP

Deo-Marie Santos: RIP

Steve with Brian Cook at one of our First aid Courses

Steve and Sean Lapham playing about with locks

Steve publicity shot - posing with Spear

Steve with Susie Collins at one of our Christmas dinners

Steve in action being tutored in Elbow strike by Grandmaster Wu Kwong Yu

Steve with Dionisis Tsetselis practicing an elbow lock

Steve the pirate, wearing his silly Santa present at one of our Christmas dinners




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