LYW: How/why did you come to Tai Chi? And how, when, why did you choose to join the LiveYoga Wellness community.
Jonathan: I began practicing Tai Chi around 1995-1996 as a supplement to studying traditional Chinese martial arts, generally referred to as “Kung Fu”. Originally, I was fascinated by esoteric religious philosophy that heavily influenced the development of these fighting and healing arts, particularly Buddhist influence on Kung Fu, and Daoist influence on Tai Chi. Although I explain these concepts in my classes, my approach to teaching is actually more direct and pragmatic
Towards the end of 2017, I found LiveYoga Wellness with an online search. My hope was to introduce another option for health enhancement to anyone interested.
LYW: How has Tai Chi changed your life?
Jonathan: Most broadly, it helped teach me how to learn. The tiny advances, the small victories of a movement working where it never worked before, being cognizant of my own efforts and what follows as a result… those have been hugely influential on the rest of my goals in life.
LYW: Why do you love teaching Tai Chi?
Jonathan: It is satisfying to see students light up when they learn! Also, every teacher knows nothing exposes your own errors like trying to explain to others how to avoid those errors.
LYW: How do you take your Tai Chi into the world?
Jonathan: Without pretense.
LYW: What is your current practice or a recommendation and why?
Jonathan: There are three types of exercises I implement to improve the quality of my Tai Chi. The first is standing meditation (zhan zhuang): a variety of static postures one holds to increase a foundation of strength and mental fortitude. The next is silk-reeling (chan si): this is to integrate your strength with a single, repeated movement while eliminating the stiffness that can result. Finally, there is the practice of Tai Chi routines. These are strings of movements choreographed together and handed down from generation to generation. Most learning environments ONLY teach you Tai Chi routines. In my opinion, one’s progress will be greatly impeded if a person only practices routines without more fundamental tools.