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Life, Death, Tai Chi and Me-bookcover

By: Jason Riddington

Life, Death, Tai Chi and Me

Pages: 258 Ratings: 5.0
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Picture this: you wake in a hospital bed. Searing pain courses through your body from your toes to your head. On your head, there is a hole where they’ve placed a drain to counter the effects of the terrible subarachnoid haemorrhage you’ve suffered. You open your eyes, and the botched blood still remains in the right eye, as does the appalling double vision. You struggle to pull yourself a little more upright and reach over to the table with trembling hand to get the eye-patch to cover the now weeping eye.

There’s the hustle and bustle of the Intensive Care Unit beyond, and a TV plays in an adjacent bed. Every sound is muffled and distorted, like profound, dismal cathedral bells. This is hell. You struggle to sit up some more, pushing against the paralyzed right foot that slips helplessly against the sheets. You lean over again to hit the button for the bell that summons the nurse; more morphine is needed for the exhausting pain. Tonight, you will suffer a near-fatal catastrophic seizure brought on by blood seeping into the brain.

Life, Death, Tai Chi and Me - My Brain Injury Journey is the incredible true story of an epic struggle to defy the odds and survive the most profound physical and mental trauma.

If you've had a brain injury or know someone who has, if you've ever wondered what a near-death experience is actually like, if you've been intrigued by the power that martial arts can have on one's mental and physical resolve, if you question your own mortality and your place in the universe, or if you want to know what it's like to come back from the dead, then this book is for you.

Jason Riddington is a professional actor and teacher. He began his screen career playing Hareton Earnshaw in Peter Kosminsky's Wuthering Heights opposite Juliette Binoche and Ralph Fiennes. Major television performances followed including Dr Rob Khalefa in the BAFTA award winning series 13 of Casualty; South-African Ashley Davies in Inspector Morse opposite John Thaw and Kevin Whately; further TV appearances include Eastenders, A Touch of Frost, Berlin breaks, Bugs, Second Thoughts, The Bill, Family Affairs, Highlander and most recently, Luther with Idris Elba and Birds of a Feather opposite Pauline Quirke, Lesley Joseph and Linda Robson. Further film credits include Edmund in Brian Blessed's King Lear, Paul in Where There’s Smoke, and The Man in Jason Hreno's Wondering Eyes.

A classically trained actor at LAMDA, London, many major stage roles include the title roles in Hamlet, (the rehearsal process and performances being featured in Tony Lee's BBC2 documentary Playing the Dane) and MacBeth; Geoffrey in The Lion in Winter opposite Brian Blessed, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights, and his first professional role as Peachum in The Beggar’s Opera with Nick Moran; and very recently with Nick Moran again (20 years later!) in Bill Kenwright's West End hit 12 Angry Men, playing a range of parts with, among the incredible cast, Martin Shaw, Jeff Fahey and Robert Vaughn - finishing the run in the leading role Juror 8. Jason wrote the original story for the award-winning short film Motherland, currently on Amazon Prime, in which he plays co-lead, opposite the captivatingly talented Sope Dirisu.

An experienced and highly qualified teacher of acting, until his SAH Jason combined performing with teaching at some of London’s top drama schools, he was also Head of Drama at prestigious Bedford Modern School 2003-2011. He has been a teacher and practitioner of T’ai Chi Qigong for 30 years.


He lives with his wife Faye in the beautiful Buckinghamshire countryside. They currently have four horses and two dogs! He has three grown up children Emily, Mikey and Phoebe and grand-daughter Leila.

On June 29th 2021 he suffered a massive subarachnoid haemorrhage and was admitted to John Radcliffe Hospital for emergency brain surgery. He suffered further life-threatening complications with a seizure on the 10th July 2021. After a total of four bouts of brain surgery he was discharged from hospital on July 29th 2021. He now focuses upon writing, his Personal Training business, T’ai Chi practice and teaching, and recovering from his brain injury. 

Customer Reviews
4 reviews
4 reviews
  • Simon C

    I was sent this book by Jason whom I represent as a voice actor. We were fully aware of the illness he had suffered, but less aware of how he came to recover so effectively. It's a remarkable true story of a wife saving a husband and how T'ai Chi Qigong and the focus it brings to the mind and body helped Jason to recover at an incredible pace, defying the odds.

    It's an easy read, but it's informative, interesting and honest, and if you are intrigued by the power of martial arts, what a near death experience was like for one person, or indeed if you are interested about your own place in the universe, then buy this book, read it, and then read it again.

  • Leanne M

    I have the pleasure of representing Jason as his Theatrical Agent and am so proud to see "published author" added to his extensive list of skills! This is a compelling, brutal, funny and uplifting story, a real page turner depicting an honest account of the battle to recovery post a massive health trauma alongside the continued navigation of life with a brain injury. A must for anyone who has experienced similar or knows someone who has, or for those interested in learning about the healing properties of T'ai Chi Qigong. A heart-warming and humbling read, I couldn't put it down!

  • Rob Bateman

    This a beautifully written and deeply resonating book. You don’t need to have had suffered a life altering brain injury to be captivated by its warmth and love of those that surround Jason’s life. Paradoxically, this is not about what happened to one man but about humankind and how we can negotiate, navigate living life with some attainable and tangible sense of harmony. The interwoven stories and episodes of human experience grip you and make you want to carry the optimism into your own life, right here, right now. A book of renewal, of hope against the jaws of death. An astonishing account; told with humility, love and an integrity that leaves you in a better place. One of those books you want to go back to and pass onto others. Extraordinary.

  • Beth

    I had some time this afternoon to finish it and I must say, I really enjoyed how inspiring it was. I liked the easy-going writing style as it felt like a friend telling me a story/life experience.

    This book is written by Jason Riddington and is about his experience with a brain injury - a very horrific experience!
    I applaud him for being able to relive it while writing this book in order to help others. I love that he has his wife Faye. Everyone needs a Faye.

    I think this book would be ideal for anyone who has suffered something similar, or someone who struggles with mental health. Or maybe even someone who just wants to appreciate life more. This book looks at managing a horrific situation to the best of your ability and not giving in! Not letting it define who you are. Finding something that gives you motivation every day. Whether that be exercising, writing, reading, crafts, etc!

    As well as telling us about his experience (and a chapter from his wife) we also get poetry, a story, and some exercises with pictures! This is one of those keep on the side and come back for more books if you're interested in the Tai Chi exercises.
    Oh, and a chapter about horses!

    I love how accessible this book is too, the font was very large which made for an easier reading experience.

    I recommend this, it's very inspiring and deffo gives an appreciation for life and enjoying all those little moments that can so easily be overlooked.

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