Jane Chou

I love Tai Chi. From the first time I tried it over 18 years ago, I was hooked. But even then, I had no idea that it would evolve into a daily practice that is part meditation, part workout — or that it would become as important to me as eating and sleeping.

[practicing Tai Chi in Brooklyn, NY] It started with a videotape in February 2000. I had developed chronic pain a few years earlier and was looking for a gentle exercise that I could do despite chronic pain. After a few months with the video, I went looking for a teacher, which brought me to Simu Tzyann Hsu, who trained under Sifu Chan Wai Kwan, chief instructor of the Tai Shan Martial Arts Institute in Tai Shan, China. I studied for nearly a decade with Simu and taught for more than six years as an assistant instructor in her school before branching out on my own.

A reluctant competitor, I entered my first tournament in 2007, where I earned a gold medal in Advanced Internal Weapons performing Tai Chi Dao (saber). The following year, I earned a silver medal in Advanced Internal Weapons performing Tai Chi Jian (sword).

Tai Chi has not cured me. I have chronic pain and nerve damage, which affect my balance and mobility. I make no claims of miraculous Tai Chi healing powers. However, in Tai Chi I have found a healthful activity that I can practice and enjoy, even with imperfect health. My wish is to share the goodness of Tai Chi and bring together people who are enthusiastic about learning and practicing this wonderful martial art.

Jane Chou
Park Slope, Brooklyn, NYPhoto gallery