Spotlight on:april zvan
In 1993 I first saw Tai Chi Chuan practitioners on the Bill Moyers PBS special "Mind and Body." The peaceful, balanced movements struck a chord. I thought, "I can do that," and the next week I joined Sifu Calph's class.
I'd always heard the terms "being centered" and "getting grounded." But I never had any idea how to become centered or grounded. It turns out that's what Tai Chi is about for me. When I'm practicing my forms, that's all there is. Nothing else matters at that moment. Walt Whitman said, "Happiness...not in another place, but this place...not for another hour, but this hour."
I really enjoy whatever I'm learning at the moment. There will always be something new to learn in Tai Chi. Even after all these years, I don't know everything there is to know. As long as I can move, I'll be doing Tai Chi.
Teaching brings me great joy. I like working with people. Everybody learns differently. The challenge is to figure out how they learn and adjust my teaching to them. I love seeing that "Aha!" look on their faces when they finally get it.
Currently working as a technical writer, I have a combined degree in engineering and psychology from the University of Minnesota. I love jazz, new age, barbershop, and classical music, knitting (mostly socks), tatting, and bobbin lace making. I have seen the "Mask of Zorro" movie (the first one) more than seven times. The swordplay is spectacular,and it doesn't hurt that Antonio Banderas is holding the sword. (Have I mentioned we teach three different sword forms at Chinatown Tai Chi Center?)
I try to teach students at the Chinatown Tai Chi Center with humor. I want my students to relax and enjoy Tai Chi. If it isn't fun, why do it? I learned some time ago that if you are laughing while you are learning, you retain more.
At the same time, Tai Chi for me is more than a good time. Having developed arthritis in some of my joints and having had two shoulder replacements, I use Tai Chi to keep all my joints moving. Tai Chi is the best physical therapy I've had.
I have worked for years to find balance and tranquility. Practicing Tai Chi helps me achieve that goal. Tai Chi has brought me a sense of calm, of rootedness. My goal is to achieve the harmony depicted by two earrings I sometimes wear that, in Chinese, say beauty and tranquility. When Grandmaster Wong saw my earrings, he said the tranquility was like the peace found on the surface of a calm lake. That's what I want my mind to be like.