Charles is one of the annual visitors to the Retreat Center. He has observed the program and students up close since the very beginning. We interviewed him to catch a glimpse of who our visitors are, why they train, and why they are drawn to the Retreat Center.
Charles is a lifelong practitioner of martial arts and his experiences range from American Kempo and Tae Kwon Do to Taijiquan and Qigong. His reasons for training have ranged as much as the styles he has trained. Now, he focuses on Taijiquan and Qigong to strengthen physical and mental health.
“Tai Chi Chuan – Classical Yang Style” was the first book Charles read that introduced him to Dr. Yang. The book combined Taijiquan history, theory, training, illustrations, form, and Qigong. Charles felt it was valuable not just for the skills taught but also for the stories and feeling that Dr. Yang conveyed about the art.
After corresponding with Dr. Yang via email, Charles found out about the Retreat Center program and made his first visit in 2009. He was fascinated by the project since it had never been done before in China or the US. It is a fusion of old school martial arts with Dr. Yang’s updated and modern understandings of Qigong and the three styles taught (Yang-style Taijiquan, Shaolin White Crane, and Shaolin Long Fist). Being a part of it has given additional meaning to Charles’ own life.
During his visits, Charles has seen the students take ownership in their part of the program. After the program, he hopes they understand what they want to do and how they will take the art and apply to life. His advice for the students was, “Don’t be lazy.”