Excellent Path For Personal Growth
I could barely move when I hobbled in the door at Master Gohring's Tai' Chi and Kung Fu. I was not certain what to expect my first class. I was immediately greeted by the friendliest and caring person (Ms. Peters) who made me feel right at ease. It turned out that all the people I would meet that night would be just as friendly and caring, both staff and students. As a beginning student I could only participate in class for a few minutes at a time. Due to numerous health problems and a decade of being essentially bed-ridden I had no stamina and could barely stand without a walker. However, the instructor was extremely supportive and accommodating. He and Master Gohring told me to keep coming to class and I would see an improvement over time. Sure enough, after few weeks and with much support and encouragement from Master Gohring and his staff I did see improvement. My ability to stand unaided and my stamina increased.
Soon I traded my walker for a Quad cane. Slowly, as I continued training my balance, strength and flexibility improved to a point where I was able to use a standard cane. It has been over three years since that first class and I continue to improve physically. I now only use a cane when I am tired or in foul weather. I have also lost significant weight, my confidence level has increased and I have been able to stop taking pain medication (I took pain meds for over 10 yrs for chronic back and knee pain). I am also now much calmer and relaxed than previously. I continue to have some health problems but with such a supportive environment I am able to persevere. I now attend classes every day and can not really function normally without them. I have committed to earning my Black Sash in Tai' Chi and continuing to study the art for rest of my life. If you live in the Greater Austin, Texas area and are interested in Tai' Chi and want to improve yourself on all levels I highly recommend that you check out Master Gohring's Tai' Chi and Kung Fu.
Super Instruction, Fun Safe Environment, Great Students
My primary goal to studying T'ai Chi was to find sources of relaxation relief from my high-stress work environment without turning to the most commonly source of medication as some of my coworkers have. Since I started playing T'ai Chi in August of 2004 with Master Gohring's T'ai Chi & Kung Fu, I have been amazed of the impact it has made in my everyday life. I am breathing better, moving more freely and my posture has improved. Overall I am feeling stronger mentally and physically which impacts me spiritually as well. My stress level has continued yet with the practice of T'ai Chi, I feel better equipped to handle most anything thrown in my direction, the ultimate T'ai Chi move, no pun intended. Each class gives me much to look forward to as learning with the other students is fun, safe and always fresh. Master Gohring takes great care in his instruction as to not to overwhelm us and yet keeps us all interested in perfecting each individual move. Mastering T'ai Chi is truly a journey of which I am glad to be a part of and it's comforting in knowing it's something I can continue to do even when I reach 102 years old, unlike some other sports and activities I've been involved in. I recommend Master Gohring's T'ai Chi and Kung Fu to anyone who is looking for a better quality of life whether it's an internal or external martial art, the choice is yours, he has both to offer you.
I've been studying Tai Chi at Master Gohring's school for about 2.5 years. I went in looking for an exercise program because I was getting older and needed something to do on a regular basis. What I ended up discovering was so much more. The ideas of yin/yang and balance were foreign concepts to me, but i began to see them when I would do my Tai Chi. I definitely felt better and healthier. I definitely noticed a change in my body. However, I soon began to realize that the principles of Tai Chi apply in my everyday life as well. That Tai Chi is more than just a martial art or exercise, it's a process of personal transformation. The lessons learned have definitely helped me strike a better balance in my personal and professional life in terms of stress reduction and hours spent working. It was (and still is) a very refreshing change. Master Gohring teaches Tai Chi as a complete martial art -- from the philosophical foundations, to the empty-hand and weapons forms, as well as the applications and sparring exercises. The complete approach to Tai Chi is also what makes it a powerful tool for personal transformation. In response to a couple of the posts below regarding money, I think of it as a personal investment (and one very worth making with tremendous benefits). It's common place to invest in a home, invest in stock, even invest in a car. Investing in an opportunity to improve your health and change your outlook on life should be a no brainer -- no matter the cost. Without a doubt, a short-term investment in yourself now can certainly pay long-term dividends. For me, the experience and decision to take Tai Chi at Master Gohring's has been great. I would highly recommend it for anyone interested in getting the most out of Tai Chi (and life), but understand that willingness, commitment and investment are crucial and necessary to achieve transformation.
I've been a student with Master Gohring's Tai Chi & Kung Fu here in Austin for just about two years, I started out just looking to get rid of some frustration and a few pounds but what I found was much more. The Instructor and his staff were so kind they had and still have great attitudes and are super motivators, never letting me quit or give up when I get frustrated with myself but Master Gohring also does not push and is very serious about knowing your body and knowing when to stop and to pace yourself. I have asthma and for years I have used an inhaler at least four maybe five times a day, but since I have been in Tai Chi doing the breathing excercises and Chi Kung now I use the inhaler maybe once a day. On top of being a relaxing environment and fun the excercises are good for your mind and body,the curriculum can be hard sometimes but I look forward every day to going to class, the friends I have made at the academy are so positive and make being in class even better. I have become so additicted to the martial arts that I am taking Kung Fu as well as Tai chi with Master Gohring.
Wonderful Tai Chi Community
Master Gohring has a very relaxed and approachable style. His school teaches the traditions of martial arts like respect and courtesey, and he has created a very positive community of students that suppot each other in their martial arts journey. Along with Yang style Tai Chi, students learn a Qi Gong system that enhances their mastery of the form. Students learn applications of the postures and several forms of push-hands. Learning Tai Chi with Master Gohring has been a life changing experience for me.
If you are looking to change your life and take lessons in T'ai Chi or Kung Fu, you could look further but not find a better school than Master Gohrings T'ai Chi & Kung Fu of Austin TX. I have been taking lessons in T'ai Chi for more than a year now and it has changed my life, I just received my Green Sash back in December of 2006 (that's about a third of the way to Black Sash) and even though I have only been studying for just over a year, my life, my body, and my spirit has been transformed. I have lost over 20 pounds and have taken 2 inches off my waist with the training I have received under Master Gohring. If you are looking to reduce stress in your life, tone up your body, and just live a healthier life style, Master Gohrings T'ai Chi and Kung Fu is the place where your life can be transformed too.
The road of life is a long one, with twist and turns, numerous crossroads and off shoots where you must make decisions on the direction your life is going to go. Some decisions we make are with the heart, others we contemplate for a while before action is taken. The road of life I was on was coming to an end very quickly (doctor's statement), I was extremely overweight (350 lbs.) and out of shape, smoked two packs' a day, with hypertension, and a diabetic.
On my birthday 2004 I started to change my life and over the next year lost over 70 pounds. In January of 2006, I finally quit smoking but was still on medications for diabetes and high blood pressure. That is when the road I was on took another big turn, I moved to Austin and was out exploring when I went down a road I have never been on before and in the distance saw a sigh post up ahead, and it stated T'ai Chi.
Being in the Martial Arts in my teen years I knew of T'ai Chi Chuan, in later life I did research on the health (and other) benefits. I always wanted to learn but could never find a school. This could not of happen at a better time in my life. I was ready to learn, and had the discipline to practice, with the knowledge that this is going to help me in my life's journey.
I started down this new path, as they say “the one less traveled”, along this path I have meet many other's, on there own life's journey's, and the one who is the Master. Master Gohring you have helped me change my life, with your teaching, guidance, and wisdom, you have showed me a better way for my life. I now live by the Five Hearts and am grateful for what they represent. I practice the Nei Kung Postures and the forms you have taught me daily. I have felt and continue to feel a change in my body, both mentally and physically. I know with your continued encouragement and training that I will not only earn my Black Sash in T'ai Chi but my Black Sash in life.
I have only traveled a few steps down that Thousand Mile trip and am proud that you are my guide and mentor.
Master Gohring you are a Great Teacher!
Dear Master Gohring:
In the past 16 months of learning Tai Chi I have lost weight, gotten a really good handle on stress, & learned some really cool stuff. The Fan Form was a big highlight for me as was participating in the first Tai Chi Classic tournament. Three things I feel I have made improvement in are:
1) Push Hands. I don't really get it yet, but it's getting clearer,
2) feeling rooted & tucked in during the form, &
3) the Nei Kung postures are feeling really good & I feel very energized when I do them.
I need improvement in:
1) feeling so self-concious & fearful of being showcased & doing anything in front of a group all alone;
2) in Push Hands- finding my opponents' center & staying rooted, &
3) it is time I learn about leadership skills.
I wonder how people can feel - or seem to feel - so comfortable about doing the forms in a showcase; but then I know the answer for me--do it a hundred + times & it will get a lot easier. Just gotta jump off that mountain. With Push Hands it must be the same thing--practice. Take every opportunity to experience & learn. There are some things you have to be PATIENT & PERSEVERE for. As for leadership skills, I guess after all the experience & learning I'll be doing, I will be able to share with lower ranked students like some of the wonderful higher ranked students have done for me over the last year+. That's one of the really great things about Master Gohring's School: everyone is so supportive of each other.
With Gratitude & Respect,
My name is Samuel J. and I have been in kung fu for almost 1 year. I like martial arts very much that is why I joined Master Gohrings Kung Fu. I have learned what kung fu is and how it is used for self defense and self discipline. I have really enjoyed kung fu so far and I am looking forward to improving my skills. Kung fu has helped me in many ways. Kung fu helped me improve in many areas such as concentration, staying fit and being a leader at school.
1. My concentration has improved at school and thanks to kung fu. I am a better listener in the classroom and my focus has improved as well.
2.Kung fu helped me stay fit. I feel stronger and more flexible when I perform my moves in class. It also helps me sleep better at night.
3.Kung fu has helped become more of a leader in school. I volunteer to be a helper in my classroom and to help my fellow classmates when needed. There area 3 areas I would like to improve on and I feel kung fu will help me achieve this goal of improvement.
1.I would like to improve on making all of my moves crisp and clean.
2.I would like to become a leader in kung fu class.
3.I would like to improve on my jumping jacks.
The actions I need to take to improve in the areas I mentioned will be to dedicate myself to be in kung fu class at least 2 times a week. I will also listen more in class and observe the higher sashs to see what it takes to become a black sash leader. I will be patient because I know with in time I will reach my goal.
Dear Master Gohring:
Throughout my attendance and participation of Tai Chi, I have identified many improvements. Out of these positive changes there are three that come to mind, of which I am very proud. The first is commitment. It has been some time since I have devoted my attention towards an activity and maintained a level of focus that is satisfying to me personally. To be committed takes discipline. I have found lessons of discipline in Tai Chi, which have helped me to find that discipline within myself. The second transformation I have observed is to my body as well as my mind. This is my health. I can physically feel the improvements that I have made to my physical health as well as to my mental state of mind. I am feeling improvements to my strength, flexibility, agility, endurance and have composed a stronger state of mind. Another attribute I have noticed improvements in concerns my own self-honor. Specifically keeping my word, not only to others but also to myself. This quality has helped me earn a more reliable reputation with fellow peers, friends and family.
Although I have made positive steps of progress, not only in Tai Chi, but also in my day-to-day life, I intend to continue my focus of self-improvement. I will remain on a steady course of my Tai Chi studies and improve them by attending not just once a week as I have averaged, but twice a week as I had intended. Studying Tai Chi at home will also help me attain a higher skill level, a goal I consider very important. I have also recruited a friend to practice with me when I am not in class. Having a friend to practice with not only helps motivate me to train harder and hone my abilities, it also allows me to show myself what I have learned. Other areas of improvement I wish to advance are my studies concerning meditation and breathing. These exercises and studies I may also practice at my home.
The road to success is clear. How will I take action and pursue a path of higher improvement? I will continue to attend class; I will practice and study at home more often; I will continue to apply what I have learned as I believe it will reciprocate greater knowledge through it's application.
Dear Master Gohring:
I have noticed numerous improvements since I began. For this testimonial I will focus on the following: I remember to breath when I need to control my stress levels and I am aware of what my body feels like when it needs to relax. Most importantly I have learned to make time for myself in attending classes. Albeit at times I am still unable to have the attendance record I strive for, anyone who knows me is impressed with the fact that I am still here and remain committed to receiving my Black Sash. The journey for me has been slower than it has been for others, but I remain positive and engaged as a student of Tai Chi.
Improvements would then definitely fall in the area of attendance and practice. However, when I join the Tuesday/Thursday Advanced Class, I feel my attendance availability for leadership credit will increase greatly. Currently I would need to arrive at class 3 or 4 days a week. This is challenging for a full-time professional as myself. I would like to be practicing more at home. This would definitely strengthen my knowledge of the form and my fluidity in demonstrating it. Lastly I would like to continue to improve my Nei Kung practice. This would accompany my efforts to carve out more time at home to improve my form at home. I look forward to receiving my purple sash! Thanks for the opportunity.
Dear Master Gohring,
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a written affirmation of your character and the value of being a student at Master Gohring's Tai Chi and Kung Fu.
Let me first say that learning and practicing martial arts has many very important benefits to one's physical health and well-being: increased energy and strength; improved posture and bodily control; clarity of mind and focus; ability to defend against a physical attack; etc. However, I would like to talk about some aspects of you and your school that have impacted me on other levels.
First, I would like to comment on your generosity. When my husband and I enrolled our two children in your Little Dragons Kung Fu class, we did not know or expect that we also would be able to take Tai Chi or Kung Fu with your family discount. Because of this generous policy, our family has a common interest that is healthy, active and affordable. Thank you so much for promoting families in this way.
Second, I am impressed with your sincerity. I believe you have the best interests of your students at heart, and you are honest in both your praise and your correction when you teach. You have a natural style and a true desire to help your students discover their inner teacher. I enjoy the way you provide simple analogies and examples to explain certain concepts. Your classes are always constructive and satisfying. Thank you for your wholehearted commitment to what you do. It is inspiring.
Third, I appreciate our Student Creed: “We follow the five hearts: Faith, Respect, Perseverance, Patience and Humility.” Because we recite this creed at the end of every class, our children have it memorized and are learning the meaning behind these very important values. As a family, we aspire to have these kinds of hearts, not only to become a Black Sash in Tai Chi or Kung Fu, but also to achieve any kind of goal in life. Thank you for requiring us to recite these five simple words to remind each of us what it takes to be a successful person.
Finally, I admire your ability to command the respect and attention of your students, from the Little Dragons (4-, 5-, and 6-year-olds) to the most advanced. I like the way you require everyone to say, “Yes, Sir/Ma'am” or “No Sir/Ma'am” to instructors or Black Sashes. Because you create an awareness and healthy respect for authority, I believe your students are open and able to take advantage of the wisdom of experience.
You also remind your young students that they “must do what their parents ask them to do the first time they ask them to do it, every time.” I have quoted you many times at home, and it is clearly understood that this is also our expectation. Your example has made me a better parent, and I thank you for that.
In closing, I feel honored to know you and to call you “Sifu” and would vouch for your integrity and ability as a teacher without reservation. I look forward to walking the path of self-mastery as a student at Master Gohring's Tai Chi and Kung Fu.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Before I started T'ai Chi at your school I did a lot of research on T'ai Chi pertaining to health and established that this style of Martial Art would be very beneficial to my health. I started talking to a co-worker and a student of your school about T'ai Chi and she gave me a guest pass to attend 1 month of classes. The same day I made an appointment to visit your school. I really didn't know what to expect. While I was observing the students doing their postures with the lights dimmed, breathing deeply, and the classical music in the background Sifu was walking among the students explaining the benefits each posture will do for them while making corrections and encouraging them. I could see that some postures were painful and others very relaxing. At that point I made a comment to Ms. Peters “I'm hooked”, this is the school I want to attend. When the students came off the floor, wiping the sweat off their faces, I knew they received an excellent work out.
The three months I've been doing T'ai Chi it has been a vigorous training of my mind as well as my body. The amount of time spent in the postures and focusing on them with my breathing in every class increases my concentration as well as erases my mind of all the uncertainties during the day. Mentally I've become much sharper since starting T'ai Chi and I can concentrate on my job much better during the day when I get stressed I do my breathing exercise, which relaxes me and I'm less likely to become stressed in normal work situations.
The physical and health benefits. holding the postures in T'ai Chi does some very incredible things to my body. It's strengthening my muscles around my shoulders where it increased my flexibility on my left frozen shoulder. It strengthens all the major muscles of the legs, arms, and back. I have seen a great reduction in the amount of joint pain that I have experienced in my shoulders. I've been a diabetic for 34 years and I receive my insulin through an Insulin pump. Before I started T'ai Chi I had lost feelings at the tip of my toes due to nerve damage. After three months I've notice I now have feeling in my toes, my energy has increased tremendously, my blood sugars have come down tremendously and I'm using less insulin and, most important, I'm losing weight and I feel “GREAT”. I can truly say that T'ai Chi is changing my life for the better and would strongly encourage anyone at any age or physical condition to give it a try.
Sifu, thank you for your teachings, you do have a special gift, and thank you for sharing it with us.
C. A. Wright
I am not much of a writer but I will try to explain how your school has changed my life I hope permanently. I first came to you in April 2005 I was stressed out and out of shape tired of the same old everyday grind what I needed was a change of pace what I found was a new way to live my life. I have not been with the school very long but I think I may have a serious addiction to T'ai chi, to which I hope there is no cure. I have notice that even my driving has changed, I don't feel the need to run the person who cut in front of me off the road. Taking a moment to just focus on my breathing has saved my mothers neck a few times this week alone.(she sends her love) Seriously though I really do believe that from here the training that I will and have received will only improve me mentally and physically. I have already stopped using my inhaler so often and I am also no longer having panic attacks. I look forward to your workshops and special events and would recommend that everyone take advantage of as many as they can. I am very glad I found your school and plan to be around along time.
Sonya M. C.
There are days when I drag myself home exhausted, wanting nothing more than to "veg" in front of the TV and go blank. Sometimes I succumb, but if it's T'ai Chi night I'll go to class anyway. Over the years I have learned something about the impact T'ai Chi has on me. When I leave class I am always smiling, bouncing, and energized no matter how tired I was when I arrived. It is astonishing how much better I feel.
I can think of no higher praise than that I return to class again and again for the privilege of learning how little I know, while simultaneously learning about a universe of balance, strength, relaxation, grounding, and continuity. The path we are on is truly infinite and unbounded.
And just in case this all sounds too woo woo mystical, the practical side of this is with me every day. It starts when I get out of bed in the morning, and I mean that literally. The strength and balance I have earned make the transition from lying down to standing up flow easily. The sense of balance while putting on a pair of pants, standing on one leg, is a genuine pleasure. Getting out of a car - no longer struggling to rise but finding the ground and using it to simply stand while never out of balance. I hike a lot. Ask any hiker, going downhill is a LOT harder than going up. But for me going downhill has become MUCH easier because I glide down the steepest slope using my thighs, rather than pounding down the hill as a series of controlled falls battering my knees and back. The same kind of benefits show up while standing in line at the grocery store, walking to the kitchen, tripping over the cat, or bumping into someone accidentally.
A little while back I was sitting at a conference table and the person next to me knocked a pen off the table. Without even thinking, hardly even looking, I just reached out and snatched it out of the air effortlessly, as if it had just dropped into my hand. The person looked at me astonished.
"How did you do that?" Simple answer. T'ai chi.
Thank you for all that you teach, and for creating a school with such a friendly, supportive atmosphere, even though I still drop my own car keys on a regular basis. :)
Thanks for the e-card. It was encouraging. I appreciate your reassurance that you and my classmates will help me catch up.
It may seem strange, but I haven't been in classes because of what I've gained from Tai Chi training. Self-confidence, focus, discipline. All that good stuff in the brochure. :)
I've been amazed at the breakthroughs I've had in the past few months. I'm achieving things I thought I could never do. It's finally beginning to sink in. If I can do things I don't think I can do there would be no stopping me if I started out believing in myself.
Because of my Tai Chi successes I've returned to working on a lifetime goal I had given up on. (And it feels great.) The time to work toward that goal has to come from somewhere. It will have to be from Tai Chi until there's some change in my life that frees up more time.
I'll come to class as often as I feel I can. I'm trying to come to at least one class at my sash level a week to keep getting ideas for home practice and not get too far behind. Being behind is frustrating, but working on overcoming frustration may be the most valuable thing I'm getting from Tai Chi.
I'm very grateful for what I'm learning from your program. I wouldn't have returned to my life goal and be able to make progress toward it if I hadn't trained with you. My Tai Chi goals are intertwined with other personal goals. I feel like I'm not just working toward a black sash in Tai Chi, but a black sash in life. Everything we do in class or I practice at home helps me achieve my goals.
With sincere thanks,
Learning T'ai Chi Chuan has been a journey for me. I've learned the art off and on over the last 10 years or so when Master Gohring was doing it in his backyard and teaching classes out at 3M. That's where I was first introduced to this beautiful martial art.
Then 3M in an effort to boost their bottom line decided to do away with the T'ai Chi classes, which sort of left me out in the cold so to speak. I had just learned the short form all the way through and was starting to work on form correction. So I did without it for about 5 years. Last year, some things in my life really hit me hard and I just sort of lost my will to live. I won't go into what it was here, but I needed something to help me get my mind off of what was hurting me inside. And it just hit me, its time to start T'ai chi again.
You know, some people go to church to renew their spirits. I renew my spirit in T'ai Chi class. I've been at it this time for a year, and I have more energy now than I did before. I overcame a foot injury with the help of an acupuncturist. I've quit smoking and I feel better than I have in a long time. Knowing that I'm actually working my life force and strengthening it has been very empowering. The five hearts that we follow are not just limited to the inside of the school. It's in all aspects of my life and can be applied to anything I wish to accomplish.
In short, I'm healthier, stronger, and more confident and better woman than I have ever been.
As someone who has crossed the 55+ mark in life, I found myself looking for an alternative form of exercise. Having a full schedule I couldn't seem to fit the traditional forms of exercise into my schedule. I knew that I would not follow through because I was already experiencing joint and knee pain. When I found out a good friend of mine was the “poster person” for your school I started asking her questions about Tai Chi. Her encouragement and finding out you had a class I could attend in the middle of my work day, was all the catalyst I needed to give it a try. My apprehensions about the classes were quickly put to rest by the positive spirit that is generated at the school. This of course, is a direct reflection on you as a teacher. Your patience in sharing your knowledge and your ability to teach people, each with their own unique abilities and weaknesses, through explanations of each posture as well as “adjustments” to each individual person's posture, has helped me to feel comfortable with my chosen art. For someone who started simply looking for an alternative form of exercise, I found much more. Not only has my joint pains (shoulder and knees) been alleviated, but I look forward to a lifetime of improvement of my body and mind as I gradually work toward each new level.
I am thoroughly enjoying my experience at the school. My friends are all older, over-weight people who seem to enjoy going to the doctor and taking pills for whatever ails them. I continue to express my view of taking care of the body so as not to need pills or visits to the doctor, but with no success thus far. I believe in leading by example so that I only hope they will one day be willing to try the "ancient ways" along with a better diet to make themselves stronger. I can already feel the difference in my strength and balance returning in the past few weeks. As a former school teacher, I am impressed by your instruction techniques and individual attention in class. My sons are impressed by my willingness to work at Tai Chi and appreciate the difference it makes in me. They are my constant encouragement. Plus, my 5 year old grandson takes Tae Kwon Do down in Houston - I want him to be proud of Grandma, too. Thank you for your guidance.
Yes, I am still enjoying T'ai Chi. It feels different to me this time around ... the only way I can describe how it makes me feel is ... it touches my heart and soul when I am in class doing the postures and by myself at home. I feel very connected to it. And what a coincidence that you included Louis L'Amour's quote of - I am me. I like being me. And I need nobody to make me somebody ... because lately, I have told several of my friends that "I like me!" ... as I learn and study little bits of Thich Nhat Hanh's philosophy or interpretation of Buddha from articles on the internet about 'The Search for the Beautiful, the True, and the Good' ... and it's about 'understanding' and what that really means - I agree with him and I strongly feel that love is not the greatest virtue one can possess ... I believe that 'understanding' is the greatest ... greater than love itself - because I believe that with understanding, comes forgiveness, peace, love, and harmony. When I do T'ai Chi, I feel my in-breath and my out-breath to help me reach Thich Nhat Hanh's state of mindfulness ... and because of your gentle teaching, Sifu, T'ai Chi captures my heart in such a peaceful and healing way.
I thank you for your teaching and respect you very much - you have a gift and I thank you for sharing it with us. T'ai Chi is helping me introspectively in ways I could have never anticipated.
I am hoping that three of my friends will accompany me next Tuesday for T'ai Chi.
From the first moment I stepped into your studio, I noticed the calm and relaxing environment that you have created. It is a fun place and the friendliness of your students reflects that. I had always wanted to learn TaiChi and had read alot of good things about the art. I am very glad to have the opportunity to explore more of my culture, something that is easily lost in today's hectic society.
I feel fortunate to have found a masterful teacher with such an optimistic outlook on life. It makes for a rewarding journey on the path of self improvement.
Thank you for your email. I am most definitely still as keen about Tai Chi as when I started, even more so. As the routine becomes more familiar and adjustments are made to the different postures, I know that I have chosen the right art and the right school. Being able to attend class in the middle of my work day has been very helpful for me, and a great stress reliever. Your gentle instructions and the overall atmosphere of the school have me looking forward to each session. I also look forward to testing for the White sash and continuing my journey toward the Black Sash.
Thank you for checking with me Sifu : )
I love and I really am enjoying the Tai Chi classes so very much. I am so happy to be here learning and doing the Chinese Tai Chi under your teaching. It is such a beautiful art and so graceful, filled with so much beauty and so many technics, I am looking so forward to learning all that you have to teach me. : 0 )
Yes, it is a wonderful thing to pass the word along to others about the wonderful school with the great teacher at Tom School of Tai Chi and Kung Fu. I am so happy my friend Fran is starting to come and she may be bring one or two other people, just have to see if they would like to come try the class.
Thank you and may you have a most blessed day.
I do have an observation I'd like to share with you. A couple of weeks ago I went to Cirque de Soleil. As I was watching I realized (again) that my perceptions have changed since I stated learning T'ai Chi with you. In the past I've always been astounded at the performer's abilities, and it seemed as though they had skills beyond my comprehension. I was like the lady who sat next to me who kept saying things like "No way!", or "Unbelievable!" as if she was watching a magic show. What occurred to me is that I have less astonishment, but much more respect for what the performers can do, because I've begun to get a taste of the skill and power that it takes to execute the stunts they were showing us. My shift in perceptions is another testament to what I am learning in your school.
On Sunday, after a very satisfying 16 mile trail ride, I was thinking about the parallels between what I've learned from T'ai Chi and how I apply it to mnt biking. I realized that my current level of T'ai Chi practice is like my bicycling before I mastered the mountain bike. I could operate the bicycle, but I didn't have the capabilities that I have now. With T'ai Chi, I feel like I can "operate" the form, but I'm still working toward the level of mastery in T'ai Chi that I have with mnt biking. It will come, and I really look forward to achieving black sash, because that is when I feel that my satisfaction with my T'ai Chi will begin to match my satisfaction with my mnt biking.
Thank you for your guidance and teaching, Sifu.
A friend of mine goes to a church where they were having someone teach Yang style t'ai chi on Wednesday for four weeks. My friend is overweight and to encourage her to go, I offered to go with her.
We've gone for the last two Wednesdays and Sifu, this has given me such a great (greater) appreciation for the way you teach! Wow! You've developed such a fine approach and to get the basics of nei kung and then the first part of the forms is so sensible and easy to learn.
I raised my hand the first time when the teacher asked if anyone had taken before and said that I had for more than a year, but I'm stumbling around like I've never done a minute of t'ai chi before! She starts with a different type of commencement then goes to the left into something called Parting the Horse's Mane. The steps are ankle twisting and awkward, and I'm the only one who knows how to distinguish between substantial and insubstantial. Students ask her about posture and I want to tell them about that lovely string that suspends their heads, but I won't of course.
But it's good for my friend (who has a baby and can't commit to your program) and then when I get home, I go through our forms that are so lyrical and powerful.
Thanks for all you and Connie do!
I started T'ai Chi about six months ago after my brother had emergency triple bypass surgery. He is nearly twenty years older than me, and I know I don't want to be 50+ years old facing the possibility of heart surgery. I've always been interested in T'ai Chi for a variety of reasons but never took the initiative to try it. My brother's unfortunate series of events seemed as good a motivator as any to start. In retrospect, it's easily one of the best decisions I've ever made. What I've discovered in my very short six months is that the T'ai Chi journey is far more intricate than simply a healthy exercise regimen. It's the thinking person's martial art. It is comprised of physical, spiritual, emotional and mental facets that interact with each other in a very dynamic way. At this stage of my journey, I feel like a kid peeking through a pinhole in a cardboard box at a vast world that stretches on for an eternity.
As a white sash, we do the same ten Nei Kung postures every class. As an outside observer, it appears not much is happening. Actually, it was even difficult to discern exactly what was going when I did the first few classes. At the beginning, I felt like I was putting my body into awkward positions that looked and felt funny, yet they made me sweat and shake profusely, so I assumed that was a good thing. But then slowly, gradually the postures felt less awkward and funny and more natural. The postures began to evolve from simply being a form of physical exercise to episodes of physical and mental stimulation, and even sometimes emotional and spiritual stimulation (as I experienced during Shirfu Clarke's seminar). It begins to become clearer, if only opaquely clearer, that T'ai Chi is very much a living art that weaves the complexities of the human essence (physical, spiritual, emotional, physical) into a synchronized unit. T'ai Chi offers me a framework for how to live my life.
Shirfu Clarke mentioned that we only truly begin to learn when we achieve black sash status. I'm beginning to understand why that is. My goal is to not only achieve black sash status, but to practice T'ai Chi for the rest of my life. I want to see where this road goes. And I'm particularly thankful I'm learning T'ai Chi at a school with amazing positive energy and from a Sifu with tremendous dedication and patience. I love T'ai Chi and can't imagine myself not doing it.
I discovered the your School through the University of Texas extension classes. I was looking for some way to relieve the physical effects stress was having on my body, and for a life-long practice I could use to prevent further stress damage. I found what I was looking for.
Tai Chi Nei Kung combines the silence and concentration of meditation with gentle (but rigorous) exercise, with the most beneficial results. No matter how stressful a day I have had, I know that I can come to class or practice on my own at home, and I will begin to feel better. The active relaxation that Sifu encourages helps both my mind and body to let go of the knots and tense places that cause damage. The physical exercise invigorates me and lifts my mood.
As a result of my Tai Chi Nei Kung practice, I have successfully lowered my overall stress and have greatly reduced my stress related illnesses. I look forward to continuing my studies here.
My interest in T'ai Chi began years ago when I heard about it as being claimed as the "National exercise of China". I further found that arthritis is low in the elderly in China because of T'ai Chi and it's effects on joints in the body. To me, T'ai Chi was perfect as a low impact type of exercise that I can do anywhere, anytime.
Throughout the years, I have attended T'ai Chi classes through community programs or schools where the instruction was mainly following the leader. I felt that it was very hard to feel that I was practising T'ai Chi correctly, nor was I feeling any benefits from it. As the classes were usually 4-6 weeks at a frequency of once a week, I found myself not re-enrolling to continue. Books and video were even harder to follow.
At that point, I was ready to give up until I found an advertisment for the Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi. I read the information on your website and I did some checking on the internet about schools such as yours. Some things I read gave me pointers on what to look for in a school. I looked at other schools as well as yours, but none could provide the up-front curriculum information as your school does. I came to the school and immediately felt at home, as your website had not misled about the friendly atmosphere of the faculty and students. Everyone was welcoming and cordial, helping me understand the routines and customs of the school.
One of the best points of the school is your approach in using traditional methods of training. The structured aspect of training is what I needed to help me make my T'ai Chi learning more of a life-long endeavor instead of a part-time hobby. After training for months in the Nei Kung postures, I feel more rooted to begin the T'ai Chi forms. As with any sport or physical challenge, knowing and correctly using the fundamentals is key. With Nei Kung, I feel that I have the fundamentals to build upon while continuing to learn T'ai Chi.
Within a few months, I have begun to feel that my leg strength has improved greatly. I have done leg weight workout before, but I have not achieved the strength that I have from your classes. I have found that even just performing Embracing Horse 10-15 minutes a day has kept my legs in excellent shape. And my knees are not as painful as they were before.
I now look forward to my sessions at your school, as much for the training as also for the new "family" of friends that I have found there.
I have been attending class since October of 2004 and I have been surprised and pleased with all that I have learned. I came to the school on a whim with a friend. We saw an advertisement in the Chronicle and were curious. This curiosity has led to something I believe I will continue practicing for the rest of my life.
I was completely hooked after the first class. It seemed so simple and relaxing when I watched people the first day I walked in. Little did I know that the ten “simple” postures of Nei Kung would prove to be anything but simple. Quite often my muscles are quivering and I am sweating before halfway through class. The movements in Nei Kung are beautiful and challenging. Just when I think I have figured out one of the postures Sifu comes along and adjusts something.
The five hearts we follow of Faith, Respect, Perseverance, Patience, and Humility really struck a chord with me. The school is not just about the patches and the sashes you can earn. They are fun and every achievement is exciting, but it's not a competition in that way. It's about so much more.
I have met some wonderful people at the school as well. Sifu and Connie are two or the friendliest people I have known. It's nice to go in and see people smiling and enjoying themselves. I'm glad to see familiar faces whenever I come to class and I enjoy meeting all the new additions as well. Everybody is encouraging and helpful. It's like an extended family.
Tai Chi has helped improve my flexibility in subtle ways. One day I just noticed that I could move easier and stretch more. I have had poor circulation all my life. My hands and feet are constantly cold. Amazingly, this has improved since I started Tai Chi as well.
I have told so many people about the school and the benefits I have found in class. I feel like I'm some sort of unofficial spokesperson. I like to counter the usual impressions they have that Tai Chi is just moving around slowly or that it's just something old people do in the park. I love it. There is something for everyone at Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi , and I hope more people keep discovering it.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
This letter is written as a testimonial to the Tai Chi classes I began taking this past October at Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi. I remember thinking that I wanted an exercise or activity that I could continue into old age. I was looking for something that wasn't too stressful. Never did I imagine that I was really looking for Nei Kung.
My first class began with soft music and soothing instructions. We were encouraged to relax and let go of any tension. I was delighted! Surely 1 had found the perfect exercise plan. And we were about to do something called "embracing horse". Now just how hard could that possibly be? Well I remember trembling and quivering my way through the remainder of the class. I was surprised, confounded and hopelessly hooked. I signed up for classes the same evening and began practicing Nei Kung on a daily basis. Ok ... almost a daily basis. And things started changing.
A number of years ago, I caused a stress injury to my back and have been suffering with a bad back ever since. During the first week or two of classes, I noticed how tight I was while doing the "compass". Once or twice I could have sworn I heard things popping. Today I write this letter free from back pain. This is something I had been trying to accomplish for years.
I realize now that I had been looking for Nei Kung all along. The wellness I enjoy today would not be possible without the encouragement of sifu, the kindness of fellow students and the practice of Nei Kung.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
As of the date of this letter I have been a student of Tom Gohring 's School of Tai Chi for over four months. Just prior to enrolling in the school I had relocated from North Carolina to Austin and a goal I had was to get involved in the martial arts for personal and physical development, self defense, wellness, and more.
Being new to Austin I opened the yellow pages and set out to meet and interview the martial arts schools in the area. I visited schools, attended intro classes in several martial art styles; I did my research because it was important for me to find the right school and the right style for me to achieve long term success.
Below are seven questions I had as a checklist while I visited and spoke with 10 martial art schools in the area:
1. Who would be my teacher and is the instructor knowledgeable?
2. Would the school be a fun place to go practice and learn?
3. Are the students and school staff friendly?
4. Will the experience be fun and challenging?
5. Is there a system of instruction in place for the beginner to advance?
6. Is the schedule convenient so I can attend a minimum of twice a week?
7. Is there a set of values/ethics that the school follows
I knew there was something special about Torn Gohring's School from the moment I called to make an appointment. After the intro class, I immediately knew I had found the right school for me.
All my questions were answered and the high standard I had set out to find in a martial arts school was not only met but Tom Gohring 's School had exceeded all my expectations
I am having a great time and fun experience at the school. The Nei Kung exercises these past months have rejuvenated my body and mind beyond description. It's really hard to describe how "anti-aging" feels as my body is more youthful in my thirties than I ever felt in my twenties.
It's funny how the moment one sets a worthwhile goal, obstacles and challenges get in the way, almost as a test to see if you really want something. I am considered a lifetime disabled veteran from the U.S. Army with a slight problematic right knee and flat feet that caused much pain in the military. Thanks to the teachings of Sifu Tom Gohring , the physical obstacles are not a problem for me to practice Tai Chi. Learning the mechanics of my body has allowed me to rehabilitate my whole body and work with what I have. I walk now with better posture, my knee and feet do not hurt and they have become very strong. Stress reduction thanks to Tai Chi has improved my people skills as I interact with everyone with an improved positive attitude.
I have committed to attaining a Black Sash in Tai Chi and no matter what obstacles come my way, with the five hearts/values I have learned at the school of Faith, Respect, Perseverance, Patience, and Humility I will attain my goal with consistent practice and a sincere interest in Tai Chi.
Thank you,Sifu, for all your hard work and lifetime dedication.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Accompanying my son to his Kung Fu classes at Tom Gohring's School introduced me to martial arts. I have never had experience practicing any type of martial arts, but watching people go through their Tai Chi routine made me feel relaxed and definitely made me want to join in.
Responsibilities such as school, jobs, family and even traffic are bound to make one feel stressed a great deal of time. I have found that by practicing Tai Chi, the stress levels go down not only during class time, but also outside of school. Tai Chi is something that you bring with you everywhere you go; it is relaxation, extra energy, higher self-esteem and a greater sense of confidence. These are just but a few of the internal changes that have become part of my life; however, there are physical changes worth noting. My knees, once thought to be worthless, are now able to support a whole hour of exercise, and even if it seems a hit doubtful my blood pressure has gone down as well.
I am so thankful that I decided to join the Tai Chi classes that I can't wait to learn more routines and gain a deeper understanding of Tai Chi. Fortunately Sifu Gohring has a very special way to demonstrate his knowledge in a way that is easy to visualize, understand and, ultimately, learn.
I just wanted to drop a quick note and say how much I'm enjoying the program so far. I'm glad I made the decision to attend a class, and I'm certainly glad you agreed to accept me into the program (I'm kicking myself for not having done it sooner). This is my third week of attendance, and I've definitely noticed a marked difference in the way I feel and the way I breathe – it's amazing. It's exciting to think I haven't even yet begun to scratch the surface. I tell my wife each evening after class that it feels like the time simply flies by – it goes so quickly.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to learn and grow spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Two years ago I was quoting Garfield the Cat: "I am in shape. Round is a shape." I started classes and was glad to have the stamina for two classes a week - Tuesday evening and Saturday morning. Over the previous 20 years I had gained 50 pounds.
Last year at this time I was preparing for my Green Sash test. I started volunteering at Reading Is FUNdamental of Austin (RIF) after I retired. One of the things I have done is check in the book orders and compare the box contents with the inventory list. The boxes average 25 pounds each; the heaviest were just over 40 pounds. I considered the 30+ pound boxes heavy. This year I regularly attend three consecutive classes on Tuesday and another three consecutive on Thursday. I have had short-term jobs that have had me on my feet all day and have been able to handle that without much trouble.
This year, I'm slinging the 30 pound boxes at RIF almost as easily as I do the 20 pound boxes; the 40 pound boxes are about as heavy as the 30 pound boxes were last year. In the past two years I have lost 30 pounds -- while improving my muscle tone.
I know the weight loss is not typical for T'ai Chi students; the improvements in awareness of balance (or lack of balance at times), stamina, strength, and flexibility that I have noticed in myself are typical.
Changes such as those are definite incentives to keep me involved and not bored.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I first became acquainted with your school when I enrolled in a UT informal class. My doctor had told me for over a year that I should try Tai Chi for stress reduction and I initially signed up with the only intent of being able, after 5 weeks, to say "There. I tried it".
By the end of my 2nd class, though, I had to admit this was a VERY good idea. Not only did the Nei Kong help reduce stress but also I really enjoy doing the exercises and now look forward to each and every class. This is an art I hope to practice for as long as I'm able.
I haven't quite gotten to the point of getting rid of my office chair so I can practice 'embracing horse' all day at my desk, but I have gotten my share of amused grins from my staff when then catch me practicing in the break room. I talk often at work about the benefits I've received from the classes and the employees are very happy with my new improved relaxed attitude.
Thank you for teaching and sharing your knowledge with us.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Since my childhood I have always had difficulties with both balance and coordination, and I was looking for a form of exercise that would improve those and also lower stress and improve concentration.
Since I have been studying with you I have noticed a marked improvement in my balance and coordination. Previously I had tremendous difficulties climbing ladders and would get vertigo. Within a month of starting the class I realized that I was working at the top of a ladder, painting, and feeling quite comfortable about it! Nei Kung has helped me become much more aware of my center as I move around.
Additionally, although I was going to a gym regularly the year before and had always stretched at the end of the session, the stretches that are part of Nei Kung have made me much more flexible. Anyone who has taken a Nei Kung class will also realize that it is good exercise as well, as by the end one's body is feeling very energized even my cold feet!
Finally, as I try to juggle teaching evening classes and working as a teachers assistant for three other teachers, Tai Chi has become a vital way for me to shut out the chaos for a little while and focus my mind somewhere else!
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I'm 52 years old. I find myself not knowing where to start, there is so much I wish to say here.
I have been doing some research on the web concerning Tai Chi. While doing this, I found 'C. K. Chu's web site.' I read the information on his book, "The Book of Nei Kung" with great interest & awe. I knew that Nei Kung was what I really needed to get my Tai Chi going to a higher level. I tried to order the book but, it was not available. So, I waited and waited. It was still not available. So, later this Summer I joined the Tom Gohring's Kung Fu class. I just wanted to try something new. I had a hard time in that class. I found that I was very stiff and unable to move well. I told him that my, real interest was in Tai Chi,' I just wanted to try Kung Fu to see what it was like! I told Sifu that I would sign up in for T'ai Chi, in a couple of months.
During that period, I looked into Sifu Gohring's background. I noticed that he taught Nei Kung and he used C.K. Chu's book, “The Book of Nei Kung.” Oh, how lucky could I be?
Now after only 7 classes, I look at what Nei Kung has done for me, I am amazed, surprised and astonished by its effectiveness, efficiency, its unconventional aspects, according to Western thought & the results that I have gotten through my practice with Nei Kung!
I took a Tai Chi class (24 Postures Yang style Tai Chi) at the University of Texas over 9 months ago. I have noticed that I now move with much more Lightness & Agility! This is a complete surprise to me! I had no idea that Nei Kung could make such a vast improvement in such a short period of time. I was under the impression that I had to practice for years and years before I would be able to feel this kind of Lightness & Agility! In addition, I feel that my body is able to move as a single integrated unit. I'm much more flexible now. I can put the palms of both of my hands flat on the floor, when I reach to touch my toes while wearing my Tai Chi shoes. I've never been able to do that before!
I have 'Gout,' which is a mild form of Arthritis which manifests itself mostly in the big toe of my right foot. It can be painful at times. It was now at the point, where I was going to talk to my Doctor about it. After my 7 Nei Kung classes, I noticed that it was not bothering me as much! The pain has decreased by 75%!!!! I find this incredible! Continuing on this same topic ... I injured my shoulder over 30 years ago. There was some limited movement and a small amount of pain. Now my shoulder is not bothering me as much. There is an increase of mobility in my shoulder and the pain is almost nonexistent! Furthermore, after driving for a very long period of time, I found that I was not stiff after I got out of my truck. While driving on a long trip, I was always alert. I mean, I drove for over 12 hours!!!
In addition, I have a wart on my right forearm. Since starting my Nei Kung, it has gotten much smaller and softer! How can this be? They are caused by a virus! I have done nothing to heal this wart. Must be the Nei Kung working!
Also, I find that my Strength has increased! I'm much stronger now. This is Fantastic! I have been in Athletics all during my school years, the Navy, and to this point in my Life. I ran, lifted weights, did jumping jacks, played basketball, rode a bike, did push ups, etc. to increase my strength. Never have I ever had an increase such as this ... of this strength, without the Muscle mass. Nei Kung must work on the "Core Muscles" that I have read about in my Tai Chi research. On this same note, I ride a bike to work, back home and while I'm at work. When I climb the hills in my area, I climb them with increased power and speed! (Look out Lance Armstrong!) Furthermore, my body is much leaner! Not as much excess body fat on me now.
I find that 'Sex' is much more enjoyable and longer lasting, after doing Nei Kung!
I come from a family that has many members that are "Long Lived!" My Great Grand Mother lived to be 102 years old. I have other members who have lived well into their 90's. I have living members in my family that are in their late 80's. They have major problems with Arthritis! They all have a very hard time walking, getting up after sitting down and such. The point I'm trying to make here is: my practice with Nei Kung will save me from such a fate that my older relatives suffer from. I am indeed fortunate to be able to practice Nei Kung at this time and reap its benefits into my Life!
I bought "The Book of Nei Kung” from the Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi and I do practice at home. I just can't seem to get enough of it. Well, with all of this 'Good News,' a bit of 'Bad News' must follow ... I have found out that, I'm addicted to Nei Kung!!! Yes, I'm a Nei Kung Addict!!! Is it possible for me to get my Black Sash in Nei Kung? So that I may satisfy this insatiable craving I now have for NEI KUNG!!! If I can't do that, would you please show me what the Eleventh Nei Kung postures is? I must have more NEI KUNG!
Dear Sifu Gohring:
As you know, being at your school is my second experience in t'ai chi. My first (at a local gym) was only a superficial involvement with rote memorization by mimicry of about the first third of the form. There was no instruction into the meaning or history of the art, no explanation of the movements or how your breathing should be coordinated, and definitely no introduction to Nei Kung. As a result, there was no foundation to my t'ai chi training in my first “class.” I felt no commitment to learning t'ai chi because there was no internal component to it.
My experience at your school has been totally the opposite. The foundation being built through the Nei Kung postures is exactly what I was looking for in my earlier training. Practicing these “exercises” is teaching my body the feeling of the form, even before I know the form. Reading Master Chu's book and having your guidance during class have made my desire to learn the t'ai chi form even greater. In my first class, I felt like the peasant Yang peaking through the courtyard fence at the students being taught t'ai chi. From the outside, I could only mimic the motions I saw. In your class, I am now one of those students, learning t'ai chi from the inside.
Thanks to your teaching, I now feel rooted in my study of Nei Kung and t'ai chi. I appreciate your expertise in the art and your patience in teaching a greater mastery to others at all levels. I am looking forward to continuing my studies under your guidance.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
After many years of minor back troubles due to scoliosis, I decided to take new action against this problem. Standard physical therapy, applied both clinically and personally, helped over time, but the effects were ephemeral at best when not addressing the problem constantly. I have always been interested in the martial arts since taking karate while in grade school. I soon lost enthusiasm for the art then, and my early stint came to an end. I thought of picking it back up now that I'm older but also thought it may be too physically aggressive for my back. I then decided to give t'ai chi a try. The effects were immediate and lasting. I felt great relief after the first couple classes, and my back has yet to give me any significant problems after beginning my t'ai chi training. The best part is that I wholeheartedly enjoy the exercise and mind set of t'ai chi; it is immensely better than the alternative of tedious physical therapy.
The benefits of t'ai chi have been multiple for me. Not only do I feel greater physical strength and flexibility in work, play, and everyday life, but I am more at ease with myself and my surroundings mentally. I figured t'ai chi would relieve stress and agitation while exercising, but I've found that the techniques and mindset are easily transferred into my normal life tasks. I've become more relaxed and perceptive. It is as if I am able to let things flow around me, and react to only those things that are most important.
Overall, t'ai chi has made me a better and more complete person. I look forward to continuing my training for a long time.
Dear Sifu Gohring,
I originally looked into and subsequently started the T'ai Chi program because of stress related health issues that I just didn't think should be happening to a 25-year-old. When I was younger, I was in a dance company, which drove my body too hard without forethought put into the dancer's mental, or future physical, well being. I've desperately missed the physical activity, and my mind and body were making sure to remind me of that, but I never found myself interested in sports or gym-type activity.
I got hooked on this right away. I hadn't felt as good as I did after the first week in years. That feeling of being stressed and fatigued has floated away. I've even found a new self-discipline in my life that has at least an indirect origin in T'ai Chi. That is probably the most notable change for me, if not the most personal. I've just been taking better care of myself since starting.
This is something I look forward to during the day and during the week, which is not something many folks can say about their exercise routine. I guess I don't really think about this as “exercise”, and it's hard to discuss it as such. I think about it more as time for myself. I'm excited about going to my classes, and excited about moving through the program and learning everything I can.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I have been practicing the T'ai Chi since early April, beginning as an enrollee in University of Texas informal classes. An instructor of health and nutrition first suggested learning Tai Chi to me last fall during another UT informal class, because of my complaints of forced inactivity due to knee operations.
I feel like I was developing many "aging" related ailments that included high blood pressure, hot flashes, and arthritic knee pain in one knee, to name a few, and needed some help.
My blood pressure, which was barely maintained at the "normal" level with medication now averages ten to fifteen points below that level. My hot flashes seem to be under better control even though I am eliminating the drug I have been taking to reduce them. But, best of all, my constant knee pain, that frequently kept me tossing and turning during the night, has all but ceased.
Additionally, my flexibility has improved, my overall stress level has been reduced and my general attitude is calmer.
These are just a few of the benefits I have experienced since I started this program and look forward to many more.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Since the UT Informal Nia exercise class I'd registered for in March, 2004, didn't make, I asked the student re-registering me for an alternate class if she knew what Chinese Yoga was? "I have no idea," she said. "Neither do I," I said, "but put me in there anyway. I'm up for an adventure. And besides, it's only for a month or so. I can do anything for a month." So a few weeks later I appeared at Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi for my first Chinese Yoga class dressed in shorts and t-shirt and tennies, and carrying my yoga mat!
I love the fact that I knew nothing about the form of art to which I was directed by an unseen hand, that I arrived quite innocently at a place I had been seeking for years. From my first Nei Kung class I knew I belonged in this form of martial art and in this school.
Friends ask me when will I get through with my T'ai Chi classes, when do I go on to something else? I can't explain it to them. I can only say, "I don't get through. It's a way of life."
Dear Sifu Gohring:
At the beginning of this year, I decided to engage in a course of action to improve my health. I began a diet and exercise program, and I signed up for an introductory course in T'ai Chi at your school. At the time, I was obese, totally out of shape, and had high blood pressure and no energy. Over the course of 5 months, I have lost approximately 60 pounds, I have increased my muscle strength and flexibility considerably, and my blood pressure is now well within the normal range without medication. I sleep better, and have more energy during the day.
I believe that T'ai Chi has been a huge help in many of these areas, and the sole reason for improvement in some of the others. I have been amazed that such a slow-paced series of postures could actually feel like an intense workout, and I can feel the difference in my posture, balance, and attitude throughout every day.
The truly amazing part is that the postures are such that they can work improvements for anybody, regardless of what kind of shape you are in they automatically adjust so that they get harder as you get better, and since you pace yourself, you never have to worry about feeling pressured to take it to a level that isn't safe for you. By the same token, they never begin to feel stale, because you're always learning little nuances and adjusting the postures to take advantage of your new-found flexibility and strength. I earnestly recommend this program to anyone who wants to feel better, whether in the body or the mind.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I have been chronically ill for several years. I had lost all hope of ever feeling good again. I was not taking care of myself and I did not care. I was physically, mentally, and spiritually very sick.
I am not sure why I tried Tai Chi. It is unlike me to step outside of what I consider safe. I always had excuses that I could wall myself up with such as I am too old, I am not flexible, it is too different, or I will make a fool out of myself. I think it was being at the very bottom though that made me think "What have I got to lose?" - certainly not my pride. Being chronically ill has a way of eliminating any sense of modesty.
The miracle of it is that I did try Tai Chi and I kept coming to class even though I was very frustrated at first. My instructor's encouragement and smile kept me from giving up.
It has been over four months since I first started Tai Chi and my life is a lot different today. My stamina and sense of well being have improved tremendously and my physician is amazed by my reports. I feel healthy and less stressed. I believe Tai Chi has saved my life!
I am glad to be alive today but I realize that it is passion that makes you feel alive. I had lost that. I talk about Tai Chi with my friends and co-workers. I feel for the first time in a long time that I have an experience to share.
I realize that the statement in Tai Chi of yielding four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds refers to physical force but I used four ounces of effort to remove a thousand pounds off of my shoulders with Tai Chi.
Dear Sifu Gohring,
Learning T'ai Chi has been the beginning of an amazing journey for me. I started this process to alleviate job stress and to recover from the detrimental effects that stress had on my health. Along the way I have found a path to being the person I have always wanted to be.
Last fall my health, physical and mental, was a wreck. My job stress just seemed to get worse and worse by small increments. I was discouraged to the point of despair because I couldn't see how I was going to be able to put myself on a different track and still fulfill my job duties while suffering such poor health. Back pain and gastric problems were so bad that I spent most evenings, and most of the weekends, laying on the couch or the floor recovering from the time I have to spend in front of a computer at work. I couldn't drive for more than twenty minutes without being in intense pain, and I couldn't ride my mountain bike the way I wanted to. I had no social life. My weight dropped more than 15 pounds because I wasn't digesting food properly, and my allergies were getting severe.
On January 5 I started learning Nei Kung, and the positive effects began to show quickly. My acupuncturist noticed within two weeks that my digestive system was in better condition than he expected, and that my spine was looking much better. I could ride my bike like I wanted to, and I wasn't in constant pain any more. The stress from work has faded, although the work load has increased. My weight has come back up, and my acupuncturist has remarked on the amount of muscle mass I have regained since I started visiting him. Instead of feeling like life is slowly seeping away from me, I feel like it is being constantly fortified and reinforced. I have never felt this alive or connected to God.
The most profound effect has been the Spiritual awareness that has come from a healthy body and clear mind. In early February I began an Awakening that has had profound effects on my life. The mental clarity that has come from what I learn in class has helped me put aside delusions--some that I have carried since childhood--and the mental discipline helped me find an emotional equilibrium that I have never known before. My manic-depressive nature doesn't rule my life like it used to, and the future has opened up for me. I have the motivation and mental discipline to achieve the goals I had put aside for many years.
In my teens and early twenties I had an image of where I should be in life. Your training has provided the techniques I need to achieve the self image I have created for myself, and to become more than I thought I could be. Now that I have a taste of the power that I hold within myself if I can learn to harness it, I can't think of anything that would keep me from progressing on this path. Our modern world tends to erode our health and rob us of our vitality. I am profoundly grateful for the opportunity to learn what you teach, and I must remind myself to follow the Heart of Patience in pursuing this path to being the person I want to be.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
When I began taking T'ai Chi I didn't know what to expect. I saw the students doing their postures with the lights dimmed, breathing deeply, and Sifu (Teacher) was walking among them making corrections and encouraging them. I could see that it was probably very relaxing, but in no way thought it would be a vigorous exercise that I could tone up and lose weight with. When the students came off the floor, dabbing the sweat off their brows, I was very skeptical.
Once I began class that skepticism went away quickly. T'ai Chi has been a very vigorous training for my mind as well as my body. The amount of time spent in the postures and focusing on them every class increases your concentration as well as clears the mind of all the unnecessary worries from the day. Mentally I have become much sharper since starting T'ai Chi and I can concentrate on my job better during the day. I am also more relaxed and less likely to become stressed in typical work situations. All of this has made my quality of life much better and more enjoyable.
Next is explaining the physical benefits. Holding the postures in T'ai Chi does some very incredible things for the body. It strengthens the support muscles around the major joints as well as increases flexibility. It strengthens the major muscles of the legs, arms, and back. I have seen a great reduction in the amount of joint pain that I used to experience. Being a basketball and ice hockey player my knees have received quite a pounding. Since starting T'ai Chi my knees have felt much better and my lower back doesn't bother me even half as much as it used to. I am stronger and more flexible at the same time. I exercised three times a week before I started taking T'ai Chi, but since starting T'ai Chi four months ago I have lost 15 pounds off my previous weight. I am faster on the court, can jump higher, and have the lower body strength now to hold my position in the post better.
I would recommend a T'ai Chi training program to anyone interested in improving their physical appearance, athletic performance, mental conditioning, or just their overall quality of life. The benefits are numerous and each new student will improve in the specific areas in which they need to strengthen. I can truly say that T'ai Chi has changed my life for the better and would strongly encourage anyone at any age or physical condition to give it a try. They will not regret it.
Dear Sifu Gohring,
I started the Taijiquan program five months ago, and have practiced the Nei Kung sequence at least five times a week since then. I want to tell you of verifiable improvements in my health since starting your classes. For years I have had problems with high blood pressure caused by tumors in smooth muscle tissue in my body. I have taken blood pressure medicine for six years. In the past five months, since starting the Nei Kung sequence, my blood pressure average has dropped approximately 13 points. I am more relaxed than ever, and have increased leg strength and general flexibility of all muscle groups. I feel that I can heartily recommend the Nei Kung sequence for anyone who wants to experience improvement in their health, and I feel that you have arranged your curriculum very well by starting your students with the Nei Kung.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Studying T'ai Chi with Sifu Tom Gohring has been one of the most profound experiences in my life. In the short time I've been studying, T'ai Chi has incorporated itself into every part of my life, from running to reading. Learning the form and the internal alignments of T'ai Chi has sharpened my awareness. Not only has my level of awareness of my body increased, but my mind has begun to incorporate that sense of balance that we are always searching for in the Form. This awareness has now become a torch to light the way through the dark places in my life.
The best example of how T'ai Chi has helped me is when I was kicking my drug habit. I had gradually smoked more and more during my college career, and by the time I graduated I had a pretty strong habit. I had stopped studying T'ai Chi during my last year of college, but when I started working full-time I decided to come back to the school. At this point I had recognized something was wrong in my life, but was not willing to admit I had a habit. But it wasn't more than two months after I picked up T'ai Chi again that I had quit smoking entirely. Something about the practice helped me realize that I was out of balance and I had to let go.
With each level of training to reach I discover a new challenge to overcome, and they are always challenges I face in the rest of my life. I avoided push-hands for quite a while because I was uncomfortable being so close and having to be touching a stranger. I probably spent the first month dealing with my body issues, but because I could practice it in a safe environment I quickly overcame my fears. Now, after a year of push-hands, I've decided to study Asian bodywork.
The Taoist philosophy that T'ai Chi is based upon has provided me with a spiritual center that I had previously lacked in my life. The above example of me moving from detesting human contact to wanting to study a field where that is all you do is a perfect example of Taoist attitude I have adopted. But I was brought up without religion. The only system I had faith in was science, and it gave me a sense of superiority that was beyond my knowledge and experience. T'ai Chi exposed me to a world where things happened that could not be explained by science, but still could be observed. The emptiness that was created by not having to know why all the time has opened my life up to limitless possibilities. I will always be grateful to Sifu Gohring for the space he has opened in my life.
Why do I practice T'ai Chi? I started T'ai Chi for several reasons. I enjoy martial arts, but did not want to practice "hard" forms. I appreciate Asian thought, especially some of the seemingly paradoxical concepts dealing with strength, simplicity, and the tranquil mind. Lastly, I needed Form of physical exercise that demanded more stamina than strength to recover from surgery. I continue T'ai Chi because, as I suspected, the Asian mind set is slowly revealing itself through practice. I especially enjoy my increasing ability to Focus and concentrate, and the way T'ai Chi demands that one release all other thoughts during practice. My sense of balance has improved, as well as my awareness of the space that I occupy. In doing chores and other activities, I find myself more rooted and stable than before.
Chi Gong seems to be an indispensable part of the practice of T'ai Chi. No other exercise has given me the energizing effect of Chi Gong. The two practices truly complement each other - I would not want to do one without the other.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
When I first started tai chi, I enjoyed it because it was exercise but didn't feel like it. I noticed changes in my fitness and balance without really feeling like I was working out. I enjoyed learning the new postures and I really liked the feeling when you learn one little thing that cascades through the form, and makes everything make more sense.
Now that I'm in push-hands, I'm paying more attention to the martial arts side of t'ai chi. It's cool to see why your hands move that way or why you shift your weight like that.
I guess what it comes down to is that I like t'ai chi because I always feel like I have something more to learn.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Why like Tai Chi.
I began doing Tai Chi as a fitness exercise that would keep me in shape through the latter half of my life. I wasn't sure I'd have the discipline to stick with it, but I've been able to continue because Tai Chi is relaxing and fun.
A Tai Chi practice session leaves me feeling refreshed and renewed. Practicing the form gives my mind something to focus on that keeps it from thinking about the stresses in my life, and yet it doesn't require the type of mental focus that is stressful itself. Doing the movements of the form seems to guide breath and energy through me and sooth my mind and body.
First, let me start by saying Thank You to you and your staff. I starting Tai Chi as a way to get back into shape not realizing all the other benefits my body would reap. Like a lot of us over the years I've abused my body both psychically and mentally, I did things that that caused major injury to my back (hairline fracture of the 5 lumbar). At one time my Doctor advised me that I needed a back fusion to fix the damage, I declined and the fracture healed on it's own but left me with a bad leg and weak ankle. When I started the class I was very limited in what movements I could make with my foot, I was assured by Sifu Gohring that after the initial system shock (when it actually hurt more) things would get better. They were right, after the second week the pain went away and has not returned this is the first time in 14 years that I have been able to walk around pain free. Another side effect of taking Tai Chi, I have been able to loose 30 lbs. since the first of the year and am working towards another 30 lbs. by the summer. Tai Chi has allowed me to relax in my everyday life and has taught me to slow down and feel the moment. Once again thank you.
Why have I chosen Tai Chi?
When I started learning Tai Chi, my life had changed dramatically over a short period. I needed something to help me focus my energy so that I could move forward with my life without distractions from things out of my control.
Tai Chi has definitely helped me learn to focus on important things and reduce the stress in my life. It has also given me confidence and a strong belief in the power of the mind and body.
For myself, I feel that this is a great learning experience on how to connect your mind and body to achieve the saying: "You can do anything you set your mind to do."
After two years here at the school, I still thoroughly enjoy my studies and feel that Tai Chi, Qigong, and Kung Fu have really increased my quality of life. My reflexes, balance, fitness level, and stress management have all improved greatly. I am more energetic and have a better sense of overall balance in my life. Before beginning Kung Fu study about a year ago, I studied Tai Chi for a year. I enjoyed Tai Chi, but was really intrigued by the Kung Fu classes I had observed. Since, at the time, the Kung Fu classes were better suited to my schedule, I decided to give it a shot. No one was more surprised by this decision than me! But I tried it, and kind of languished for a while, until I realized that slowly but surely, my confidence level not only in the class, but also in my life, were increasing. I started to push myself a little harder and really started to see results. Having prior Tai Chi training continues to help my understanding of the forms and movements. Sometimes, if I am really stuck, Sifu or Sisuk will tell me, "One time, in Tai Chi," (kidding!) Seriously, often I find myself using the ten principles as outlined on the back wall of our school, and not even realize I was doing so!
I would recommend Qigong for each and every person studying anything at this school. That class is awesome. The concepts I have learned in it have been invaluable, and it is what I consider "the perfect workout" because of the variables, which can be applied to fit a beginner or a more advanced student. It can be done by an individual today, and twenty years from now, and still the benefits would be just as great, if not greater! I used to get one major cold or flu every season without fail, but since I began studying Qigong, this has not happened. If I do start to feel a bug coming on, I just do some Qigong and it helps. Maybe this is a coincidence, but I don't think so! My son, Gabriel, has been studying here for about two and a half years. Perhaps I am biased, (since, after all, he is my kiddoo) but I am so proud of his progress. There have been times where he has lacked motivation, but when this has happened, Sifu Gohring and Sisuk Sanchez have ALWAYS taken the time to talk to me about this, and devise a plan to keep Gabriel on track. Physically, the benefits for Gabriel are obvious. He is remarkably flexible and coordinated, and has excellent balance and poise. Developmentally, the program has been wonderful for him, too. He is learning virtues (the Five Hearts), which so many children today are doing without. He is learning respect for himself and others, as well as discipline. The very most impressed I have been so far though, I will have to say, was a conversation I overheard one day between two staff members. They were discussing INDIVIDUALS in a certain class, and things they as instructors could do to help the individual students. It is because of this personalized attention that Gabe and I continue to study here. It is invaluable ... and because of that we think this school is invaluable, too.
Dear Sifu Gohring
I have been attending Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi since February of this year. While I have taken short classes in Tai Chi before, my intent now it to engage in a full Tai Chi program such that I can better integrate it into my life.
So far my experience at Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi has been good. As an intro, the Chi Gong class is great, methodical and consistent. It's been a great way to begin understanding what martial arts is at it's most fundamental.
I plan to continue my training there and hope to move into more advanced Tai Chi classes.
Dear Sifu Gohring,
For the past few months, I have begun studying Chi Gung at your school on Airport Boulevard. In this short time, a have noticed a tremendous change in how I feel throughout the week. The first class that I attended was an introductory class and I was not sure that I would make it through the first five minutes, let alone forty-five minutes. I have to confess that I was one of those people that had seen Tai Chi before and thought it looked easy. I have since found humility in my abilities. At the same time I have found a sense of personal accomplishment as I continue to attend classes. My stress level has gone down. I feel better about myself. My thighs no longer shake throughout the class and each week I enjoy the anticipation I get as class time approaches. I have tried other forms of exercise, but have never been able to stay with anything for very long, nor had the connection that I get with Chi Gung .I would also like to let you know that I recently took a Chi Gung workshop from Mr. Sanchez. He was very detailed and knowledgeable about the postures. He took care to ensure that the attendees' needs were met and that they left with a better understanding of the form .Everyone at your school has made me feel welcome. They are professional and always available to lend suggestions or give compliments when a posture finally starts to click. I look forward to many more years of learning at your school. I would and do highly recommend your school to any of my friends.
Dear Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi,
I began taking Chi Gung in January at Tom Gohring's school. My boyfriend at the time, (who teaches Kung Fu and Tai Chi in Orlando), encouraged me partially to check out Tai Chi, and see what it was all about. My only knowledge of the Art, was that it is a base for other martial arts, including Kung Fu, it seemed like a peaceful and spiritual Art Form, and of course the images, of old Asian people doing the forms on grass. I began the class, and immediately loved it and enjoyed the classes, but my impatience in the first few months, was urging me to advance to the next level quicker. I was impatient and thought I was ready. After visiting the next level class, I realized I was not ready, and the best thing for me, was to continue in the Chi Gung class. The month is now September, and for other personal reasons, I was unable to advance to the next level until now. This year has been interesting to me, after a major car accident in July, my second in the past 6 months, I luckily walked away from the crash injury free again, and my vehicle was close to being a total loss. During the whole month my vehicle was being repaired, I was not consistent with attending class, and this was another reason I have not moved to the next level.
The year is ending, but it is also turning around, and looking better for me I am ready to begin the next class level and looking forward to learning the new postures and poses I have seen other students and peers practice. Almost a year now of taking Chi Gung class twice a week has really helped my body, mind and spirit greatly. Learning the 5 Hearts, saying them and practicing them outside of class has continued to help me exist as a positive person, and live righteously in this world. Faith, that I have chosen the right Art. Respect, for the teacher I am following. Perseverance, to stick with it for a long time. Patience, to know it takes awhile to get good at anything. Humility, to know once you are good, you can still get better. Thank you Tom Gohring.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Throughout my life I have often wanted to study martial arts or a similar discipline. After reaching fifty years of age I decided that it was now or never. However, I had several questions before entering a program and a tot of expectations- about what benefits would come of it. These included finding a professional school, yet one that was friendly and comfortable to work in as well. I wanted to grow physically and mentally, to be challenged, yet not intimidated nor injured. In my case, this Included working with a bad back with three fused vertebrae You and all your staff have been everything I could have hoped for in instructors and educators. Your chief instructor is the consummate professional instructor he is highly skilled yet very approachable, teaching discipline mixed with a measure of humor. He can push you to new limits without exceeding your capabilities.
Within the first few lessons, I knew I was at the right school. In a few weeks, I already started to feel increased energy from my workouts. The ensuing months brought me increased stamina, confidence and clarity along with the strengthening and toning of my body. My back has gotten stronger and straighter; this has been confirmed by my chiropractor, Dr. Mark Shannan. My focus and clarity have been greatly improved. All of the above results have carried over into my professional career and personal life and are a daily reward. Many colleagues often remark that there is "something different" about me or that I "sure look good". I know why and I don't hesitate to tell them, "T'ai Chi"
I want to thank you and alt of your staff for what you have done for me and I look forward to my future studies at Tom Gohring's School of Tai Chi.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I have been attending the school for almost one year now and have learned the first sixteen moves of the T'ai Chi short form. When I first started I had no idea if I would take to T'ai Chi at the ripe old age of sixty, or whether I would like it or not, but I soon found it to be a wonderful learning experience. I feel I have entered into a new realm of experience that is having a significant impact on my life and health, both physically and mentally.
This is to a great extent due to the high quality of instruction. This instruction is carried out with great patience and skill, and with considerable allowances for individual differences among the students. This has encouraged me to stay with T'ai Chi and to want to continue in the discipline-which I look forward to doing for a long time.
I am extremely impressed by the quality of instruction at the School and would heartily recommend the School for anyone who is interested in the discipline of T'ai Chi.
Dear Mr. Gohring:
Thank you for providing the opportunity to experience Tai Chi. The health benefits I have experienced and continue to improve upon are numerous. When I first started doing the Chi Kung poses, I immediately notice how difficult it was for me to breath through my nose I have allergies and I am always congested. However, after the first week of my 2nd month, I notice that I started breathing so much easier and I am now nowhere as congested as I used to be. Learning how to breathe slowly all the way down to my diaphragm is something I am still learning, but I can feel the improvements I am making.
Another health benefit I am experiencing is that I am more in tune with my body and find my self adjusting my posture and breathing more as I am doing my daily activities. Especially, when I am standing while cooking and sitting at the computer. I did not realize how often I would hold my breath and hold on to tension in my upper torso.
I feel energized the majority of the time after class and find that I have the much more energy to complete what I have to do for the rest of day.
Tai Chi will be a part of my lifestyle that I plan to continue for my lifetime!
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I first became interested in taking Tai Chi classes because I wanted to improve my flexibility and posture. I sit at a computer all day at work, and at the end of the day my back is stiff and sore; I had heard that Tai Chi could help with these problems. I quickly found that the classes did help reduce my back pain and made me more conscious of maintaining good posture, but there was another benefit as well. Learning to focus on breathing has been one of the most helpful lessons I've gotten from class. I found that practicing the four rules of breathing is a tremendous help in releasing both physical and mental stress. I knew that my body experienced tension in response to stress, but I didn't realize that my breathing also became quick and shallow, which increases the effects of stress. Going to class keeps me aware of my breathing, not only during class, but throughout each day; as a result, I feel much more relaxed in general, and I don't feel nearly as stressed out as I did before I began attending classes.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of attending the Tom Gohring School of Tai Chi is the positive and pleasant atmosphere. You are always friendly, helpful, and patient;and a wonderful instructor. I especially like the fact that the students are such a diverse mix of people.
I would recommend Tai Chi to anyone seeking to improve posture and flexibility, or to relieve stress, or to increase general strength and fitness; it has certainly done all of these things for me.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
Over the past week, I've weighed the effects of my studies at your School. I looked at who I was a year and a half ago, when I enrolled, and who I am now. From my meditations, two major themes have revealed themselves: a greater appreciation of the present moment and an increased sense of self.
Choosing to practice T'ai Chi was the first thing I've ever done for myself. I really love the time I spend in class because as a result of my focus on the movements, the rest of the world disappears. I concentrate solely on what I am doing in that instant in time. Although I frequently have time alone, I achieve a different quality of introspection when I am practicing at the studio.
The lessons I have learned in regard to acknowledging "the now" have carried over to my life outside the classroom. I have a greater appreciation of each moment and after this year and a half, I have a better idea, than ever before, of who I am.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
When my husband repeatedly spoke about how great T'ai Chi made him feel, I decided that I needed to experience it for myself. So I signed up for you special introductory course for beginners and quickly had a hunch that I would continue. For the first time in a long time, I was doing something good for my body in a way that also felt good to my mind and spirit. I've already begun to experience benefits. I usually carry tension in my upper back and shoulders. This made some of the moves very painful at first. Over time, that tension worked its way out and have less tension. I also have begun to use other muscles in my back which have long been neglected. Because of T'ai Chi, I now breathe more deeply throughout the day and generally feel more powerful in my body. I look forward to continuing T'ai Chi.
T'ai Chi is a great way to work out without high impact movements, which was dramatically different then the way I was taught to exercise. I was always used to jumping around and involving a lot of movement when I took American Karate Classes and was so surprised to find that moving so little could be such a workout. This is a real workout, which definitely helps strengthen and tone muscles. The best things that came out of Tai Chi was the improvement in my posture and the stress relief. I felt better physically and mentally after each session and that helped my confidence too. While doing the movements I learned to concentrate and take my mind off of the stresses I had at school and it helped me see small problems as they were, trivial.
I could honestly say, as others have, that, within a month of starting T'ai Chi, my energy level and flexibility had improved and I had begun to lose weight.
We, as students, are to learn and train with the five hearts of faith, respect, perseverance, patience and humility. One of the best attributes of this School is that those who work here continually model those same hearts for and toward us.
From the very first class, I felt years of accumulated tension and pain begin to melt away. I had wondered where my flexibility and the spring I used to have in my step had gone...The school has five "hearts" or qualities which they strive to impart to their students -- faith, respect, perseverance, patience and humility ...after having attended the classes and practiced on my own at home and at work for a couple of months, the range of motion in all my joints has increased to near what I had 30 years ago and is continuing to improve. My energy level is higher, I get more work done and I laugh more. I really look forward to advancing through levels with increasing complexity of motion and demand for concentration. Every class is like a day at a spa--I leave feeling calm and invigorated. My classmates are a joy to be with. Graduation nights are really something special! I have come to the right place.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
The physical benefits of T'ai Chi are most obvious and easily spring to mind. Not only strength, balance, and co-ordination, but an understanding of how I gained them, how I use them, and how they inter-relate, this understanding may be the most valuable aspect of my education.
Then there are the emotional benefits: the joy and satisfaction of learning. The progress from posture to posture. The happiness of linking two together in one fluid movement. And then the guidance and explanations to enlighten me as to the meaning of the postures and their application.
Mentally, I have learned discipline. In the classroom, receiving instruction. At home, practicing alone. Accepting the journey and acknowledging its length. Patience.
You has given me all of this in less than two years and I am eager to gain more in the next two.
Before I joined Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi, I had job stress. Bringing that home and not knowing how to deal with it sometimes made me not very nice to be around. After I joined I quickly noticed that dealing with stress was much easier to do because it was virtually gone! It made me feel like always looking forward to the next class. I think that along with the postures, it was also the breathing which was good for me. Concentrating on timing the movements with my breathing was very relaxing. T'ai Chi has made me feel relaxed and very good about myself and what I am doing. Also, just learning how to better cope with the stresses of everyday life is a relief.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
T'ai Chi has helped me both physically and mentally. Physically, my legs feel stronger and more flexible than they've felt in a long time. And since the legs are what carry us around all day, strengthening them and adding to their stamina can do wonders for a person's energy level, which has been the case for me. Also, my lower back and abdomen feel stronger and more aligned, making my posture feel much better.
It's helpful in getting me to slow down mentally, to clear the mind of distractions and to focus on the present moment. This is one of the more appealing aspects of Gohring's T'ai Chi program--the fact that it is both meditative and physical at the same time.
Without a doubt, I've been very pleased that I joined the Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi family. Each time I finish class I feel better than when I walked in. Everyone is friendly and the atmosphere is positive and I always look forward to going to class.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
After a long search, Tom Gohring's School of T'ai Chi has given me a path to continue my study of T'ai Chi. I've only been practicing in Tom Gohring's School for a short time, but I've quickly recovered the skills I'd lost from taking a long break in study. The insights from Tom Gohring have been stimulating and thought provoking and have helped increase my own understanding.
This study is something everyone needs to do.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I'm a very active woman involved in a variety of activities from soccer to belly dancing, but in my first class, I found that there were muscles in my body that I'd somehow neglected in training for other physical endeavors.
Even though I originally did everything wrong, held tension in places I shouldn't have, allowed my mind to wander to oblivion, I was never made to feel that I was a failure or that doing it properly was beyond me. I can honestly say that I have seen amazing progress since my very first class.
That progress transcends the classroom though. I am now more aware of my breath and how it affects every other part of my body. I am also more aware of my posture ...standing and sitting correctly with my spine in the proper alignment. I honestly never knew that a minor adjustment could make such a huge difference!
Since beginning my training at your school, I have learned to hone my focus and to quiet the parts of my mind that are generally irrelevant to the task or function at hand. That is probably the greatest lesson I have gained so far. The body does what the mind tells it to and now I am not only more aware of my body, but of my mind and where I am focusing. It makes negotiating life much smoother.
Thank you for helping me take the most difficult step of beginning and for providing a positive, safe, and nurturing environment to progress in. I appreciate the support system you have put in place and I appreciate the encouragement you provide.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
I joined because I was searching for balance. I felt stressed out and that was causing health problems and mood swings. I was drawn to your school because everyone I met there is always in a good mood. I had to give T'ai Chi a try.
The classes helped me relax and after only two months my friends started noticing (and commenting) on my change in attitude. I became much more positive. I am more centered than ever before. I recommend T'ai Chi to all my friends and I am truly thankful for your support.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
It was through a friend that I was invited to my first qigong/taichi...We had been talking about finding ways of bringing calm and clarity back into our hectic lives, and he told me he was involved in your qigong/taichi program...it helped him find balance and focus and he invited me to attend...So I did.
After an eternity in the business world, two kids, a house and two cars -- and all of the clutter they bring -- I was ready to invite something into my days that is quieting. I came with a wide-open mind and I stayed.
I took advantage of your introductory offer and since have become a regular student. Each week ...I work to refine my understanding and expression of the forms. I find the experience relaxing and intense at the same time. Your guidance and encouragement have helped me find confidence, calm and inner perspective.
I look forward to exploring the other forms you offer -- T'ai Chi, Kung Fu -- and I hope to be able to share some of the experience with my kids.
Dear Sifu Gohring:
In the short stretch of time that I have been studying Taiji I have noticed considerable improvement in my confidence, dexterity, balance and health...the moving meditation...has allowed me time to focus on my strengths. I feel more confident ...I do not fear people as much..[and] I feel more at ease...Simply put, the meditation and practice of Taiji has...improved me.
...I am more fit and flexible ...I do not think I have ever been as flexible as I am now, not even as a kid...The improvement is clear. I am excited to continue my study at your fine School.