As a freshman in high school, I witnessed a friend get beat up by five bullies. In that moment, I decided that I needed to learn a martial art. Not to fight with anyone, but strictly in case I ever had a need to defend myself.
That same evening my father took me to watch a karate class, and the moment I entered that school and observed the way of training, I knew I had found my lifelong study and passion!
Since that day in 1969, I have practiced martial arts faithfully every day without exception. Martial arts have taken me around the world numerous times, both as teacher and student, and also lead to my decision to become a doctor.
Over the years I was very fortunate to study with many great masters, and to study different forms of martial arts, meditation, qigong, and yoga. Today I focus on Chen style tai chi as my main form of training, and I am still just as enthusiastic and passionate about teaching and my own daily practice as I was 47 years ago!
Practicing tai chi is a wonderful way to dissolve nervous tension, heal pain and sickness, and reverse many of the symptoms associated with the “normal” process of aging. It is the best way to cultivate vibrant health and to achieve balance in daily life.
But there is something much more, much deeper about the practice of tai chi than merely as a form of physical exercise or self defense. To the outsider observing tai chi’s gently flowing, continually spiraling, powerful movements, they may feel a sense of awe; to the one immersed in the practice, there is an indescribable feeling of inner balance, harmony, joy, and stillness – a feeling that can not be expressed in words, but must be experienced directly. This only comes from years of daily dedicated practice of this “internal” martial art!
I invite you to experience tai chi’s wonderful benefits for your body, mind, and spirit, and hope to have the opportunity to meet you in one of my classes one day soon!
Part 2 will tell the story of Dr. Bacher’s first visit to Chenjiagou, China and meeting his teacher, Grandmaster Wang Xi’an.
Dr. Bob Bacher