Through the midnight jungle a huge tiger silently edges his way between bushes and trees, a coiled spring of power in each step of his massive paws. Overhead, a thick python is focusing all it’s attention on the smell and the heat of the tiger. Qualities of power unimaginable to us seem poised within the giant serpent, waiting for just the right moment.
We humans can sense a degree of attention, a level of power in this scene which seems to us unattainable. It is almost mystical and other-worldly. Too often we accept sickness, emotional confusion, tiredness and feelings of helplessness as part of our lot as humans. And yet, we are part of the same system which has given rise to the tiger and the python, the soaring eagles and other awe-inspiring creatures.
A discipline exists which can raise each of us to such great levels of awareness, power, health and well being; our true birthright as natural creatures of the earth. The practice of T’ai-chi-Ch’uan reunites the individual with the source of life itself, this great creature upon which we all live - the Earth. Through a series of natural meditative movements and other practices, the full potential within us is allowed to blossom.
T’ai-chi-Ch’uan, well over 5,000 years old, includes slow meditative movements (forms), more aerobic forms based on the movements of wild animals or ancient weapons and a unique two person exercise, "Push Hands", the core of T’ai -chi training. ("T’ai-chi" is a short way of saying "T’ai-chi Ch’uan" which means "Grand Ultimate Way of Life as Taught Through Movement" or "Grand Ultimate Fist").
T’ai-chi is also the most effective self defense system, using internal energy ("chi") and using the other person’s force against them. It does not require great muscular strength. Some of the leading teachers are short and thin.
Most importantly, T’ai-chi is very effective in the field of healing. T’ai-chi massage wakes up each muscle and nerve in the body, allowing the body to heal itself. Many people comment that they didn’t know they could feel so much pleasure and well being, after having received a T’ai-chi massage (also called T’ai-chi Body Work").
There are several levels of teachers. An "instructor" must have at least 5 years of intensive training and can only teach under the supervision of a teacher. Becoming a teacher requires at least 8 years of training. Masters are determined by the agreement of other masters around the world. It is an honorary title, denoting ones level of skill as well as the contributions the master has made to T’ai-chi itself, bringing the art to ever higher levels.
Most people devote just a year or so to training. Yet the benefits of even that short time are great. T’ai-chi dissolves physical and emotional tension, increases general health, sharpens the attention, develops balance and coordination, improves interpersonal relationships and gives the student a spiritual foundation for living in harmony with nature. Even a weak or awkward person can become as graceful as an eagle and powerful as a tiger, T’ai -chi is a great treasure that China has given to the world.
Master Bob Klein has been studying T’ai-chi Ch’uan and other healing arts since 1967. He has studied with many teachers, including Grand Master William C.C. Chen. Mr. Klein has produced a series of over 50 instructional videotapes, has written the "Movements of Magic", (a series of books which are used as the basic textbooks in most T’ai-chi schools), and has been featured in magazines such as "Inside Kung-fu" and "T’ai-chi Magazine". In 1975 he founded the Long Island School of T’ai chi- Ch’uan located in Sound Beach where he teaches all levels of students, as well as conducting workshops for other teachers around the country.
Mr. Klein is also a zoologist, presenting live animal programs to schools, running an endangered species breeding greenhouse and being involved with many zoological organizations.