Teaching Team

During our weekly classes and practice sessions, we often break into smaller groups during which assistant instructors offer to coach less experienced students.  Students gain valuable insights and support from these experienced assistants.

 

Lead Instructor, Kirk Talbott
Lead Instructor, Kirk Talbott

Kirk Talbott, Lead Instructor

“I started martial arts in 1969 with high school wrestling in Ohio, immediately learning the value of ‘investing in loss’. After trying other disciplines including Indonesian pencak silat, luck would have it that in 1982 I met Robert W. Smith (1926-2011).  Robert Smith was the first Western student of the legendary Cheng Man Ching and several other Asian experts. Mr. Smith, an unparalleled teacher and renaissance man in his own right, generously taught many of us t’ai chi and the other two internal martial arts, pa-kua and h’sing-i.  He became a cherished friend. My teaching the last ten years has opened the doors to a growing fellowship and all sorts of benefits including the opportunity to learn from others, relax and enjoy every day life.”

 

Assistant Instructors: Charles Peters, Chuck Lippman, J.J.Reins
Assistant Instructors: Charles Peters, Chuck Lippman, and J.J.Reins

Charles Peters, Assistant Instructor

“I joined many others in our generation in traveling far and wide in experimenting with the martial arts. They provided disciplines and systems of learning.  Over the decades I gravitated towards the soft and listening internal self defense of T’ai Chi.  I like to emphasize slow movements, holding postures and correct form and function to enhance the good feeling, health and meditation benefits.”

Chuck Lippman, Assistant Instructor

“I discovered T’ai Chi late in life. I’d completed more than 30 years teaching high school English, literature and drama combined with a dozen years of professional acting experience and guild membership. Discovering T’ai Chi and Qi Gong several years ago offered new beginnings and portals to learning that I had never experienced before. There are many styles of and approaches to teaching T’ai Chi. I prefer to focus on the fundamental building blocks of alignment, structure, flow and energy management, always seeking the benefits of integrated movement and relaxation.”

J. J. Reins, Assistant Instructor

“During an early spring morning walk up the little mountain behind the Grand Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan, I discovered the local people of all ages practicing tai chi with graceful, peaceful, and serene movements. Soon after, I started taking T’ai Chi classes for various health reasons and to explore my curiosity. After six instructors, three different forms, and a combined 14 years of practice, tai chi is an essential part of my life physically, emotionally, and spiritually because balancing the effort of moving with letting go of unnecessary tension allows me to accept and enjoy challenges without feeling strained.”

 

Assistant Instructor Sue Otwell
Assistant Instructor, Sue Otwell

Sue Otwell, Assistant Instructor

“I started practicing tai chi more than 20 years ago. I worked with several teachers over a period of time, but stopped when our small group disbanded. Gradually, I realized that something was missing from my life. I returned to tai chi – and now I appreciate more than ever the sense of centeredness and strength that it brings. I like seeing others (especially senior learners) learn the basic form and develop their own calm and strength, while enjoying the many health benefits that tai chi can offer.”

 

 

photo of Tom Flynn assistant instructor
Assistant Instructor, Tom Flynn

Tom Flynn, Assistant Instructor

“I began my t’ai chi journey in Philadelphia in the fall of 1978 when I commenced studies with Maggie Newman, a senior student of Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing. When I relocated to the Washington, D.C. area in January 1980, I was able to continue my t’ai chi studies under another senior student of Professor Cheng’s, Robert W. Smith. I studied with Mr. Smith until he retired from Tai Chi teaching in 1988. As work and family life were becoming more difficult at that time, I drifted from organized t’ai chi, but I continued daily practice on my own. Now recently retired after more than forty years as a research scientist and with my children grown and out of the house, I have returned to the organized t’ai chi fold. I hope to communicate to others just beginning their journey the joy and health benefits, both physical and mental, that t’ai chi has brought to me.”