Taking a look back inorder to get an understanding where I am going, an appreciation for those who have taught me should be given. I am really indebted in a way to all those who still strive in the practice of Tai ji, and continue lending support and show the subtleties of the way as well as the basics and foundations. There can never be an end to knowing.
Firstly thanking Sterling, my first teacher in Chicago, who through a student of his lead me to my first steps.
One day in a conversation with a friend in Earwax Cafe/Myopic books (the two were together at a time), the waitress and friend of my friend, eavesdropped and gave a few cents of advice during refills of coffee to such overactive minds. We were discussing Yoga, my friend a Hatha yoga practitioner and I was just getting into Kundalini Yoga. I was mentioning to him, the hard time I was having with the practice. How hard it was to stay focused through the quick breaths. How energized I would be after practicing it but then later would completely crash in exhaustion. I felt loopy sometimes. My friend was mentioning the benefits of Hatha, and how it was a lot more gentler, and more enduring than Kundalini. I was uncertain of staying in certain postures for extended periods of time, and was in way trying to mention that I would like to take a break from Yoga.
The waitress, an older woman, strange to see one working at such a little hip spot in swanky Wicker park, had some advice actually. She just went ahead poured our coffee, and said “Have any of you tried Tai chi?” I wasn’t too familiar with it, but I had heard of it. “It seems that since you are so young, and with an active mind, that maybe a meditation with movement would be better for you.” And that’s what she said.
This hit the nail on the head exactly. Finding movement in stillness was too distracting for me being young and so full of ideas, an art that stilled the mind through movement was perfect. She recommended a few books, and mentioned the place that she practiced at, Wu kung Tai chi, under Sterling Levine. I let it sit for about a week and then signed up for classes. I learned under Sterling for about a year until I eventually moved to Boston. I finished the 64 Hsu Yuen Yang form. It has been the building block for every other form that I have learned. It is strange also that recently about 3 years ago after studying about 5 years under Dr. Shi Cun Wu, that I ran across a student of Sterling’s, Rodrigo Trupp, who was able to remember the form ago and tune it a little more. Rodrigo has been a confidant and endless support in the study of Taiji chuan, and has introduced me actually to Choy lee fut, which boggles me to this day.