Kath Weston, a two-year student at Hiromi T’ai Chi, answers some questions about her practice and experience with the school.
1. How did you begin doing T’ai Chi?
I used to watch people doing T’ai Chi in the park back when I was a graduate student living in San Francisco. The power and beauty of the practice intrigued me, so when I found out that a local YMCA was offering a class, I decided to try it. I loved it, but I didn’t pursue it at the time because I moved to another city. After that I focused on learning Qigong, a sort of moving meditation that works with the breath, which I eventually got certified to teach. I knew that someday I wanted to learn a longer T’ai Chi form and to practice T’ai Chi sword, but somehow the right teacher never appeared. Then I moved to Charlottesville and met Hiromi. I have been studying with her now for about two years.
2. What do you like about it?
The Cheng-Ming system that Hiromi teaches is brilliant in the way that its different parts relate. Everything you learn reinforces something else in the system. Even if you don’t have a lot of time, you will quickly learn enough to start experiencing the benefits. Although some people practice T’ai Chi purely for health, it is also a martial art. At Hiromi T’ai Chi we learn the martial applications of different moves, which is important for understanding how to do them properly. This aspect of the practice has been lost in some other T’ai Chi programs. Beyond that, I know that no matter how tough my day is at work, when I walk into the dojo, something good is about to happen, and by the time I walk out, I will feel rejuvenated.
3. What benefits does it provide to you?
Peace of mind, a stronger and more focused mind/body, companions who lift my spirits, better health, a deeper knowledge of how Qi works, and the chance as I progress to pass on what has been gifted to me by working with new students.
4. What is unique about Hiromi and makes her practice special?
To really understand what is unique about Hiromi, you have to meet her and give her class a try. Sure, I can list some things: Hiromi gives every student personal attention in every class. She pays attention to details to make sure students get things right from the very start. She’s always positive, which makes it easy to relax and to learn from one’s mistakes. Her own T’ai Chi form is a joy to watch. She works a lot in the community and makes sure that each of her classes comes together as a community in its own right. But the things that are really unique about Hiromi and the dojo she has created can’t be conveyed in a list. She is a rare person with a good heart and a gift, a teacher whose presence inspires people to go beyond what they originally thought they could accomplish.