Relax and Breathe How I Got Started at China Hand

Shaolin ~ Tai Chi ~ Pa Kua ~ Hsing Yi



How I Got Started at China Hand

u.1.Carla1.jpgIt doesn't seem possible that a little more than 4-1/2 years have gone by since I walked through the door of China Hand and into, what has become for me, an exciting, joyous and, I hope, life-long, kung fu adventure.  In 2006, I was going to China where I knew the people there did tai chi.  I wanted to be able to participate with them and so began attending tai chi classes.  Shifu is, without a doubt, the most patient teacher I know and, by the time I left for my trip that September, I was able to do the 64-movement tai chi Long Form (not well, but in a recognizable fashion) in parks throughout the month I was in China.  It was an interesting experience which frequently attracted attention:  A blonde, blue-eyed woman doing something so essentially Chinese.  What was so great was the fact that the folks who noticed invariably stopped to talk to me and were unfailingly kind and very encouraging.  To say the least, it was a wonderful way to encounter another culture.

Now, 4-1/2 years later, I'm still doing tai chi and weapons (and beginning to teach), and have branched out into Shaolin, Hsing Yi and Pa Kua.  It continues to be an incredibly joyful journey -- thanks to Shifu and the great friends I've found at the Academy.


Ann Navallo

Way to go Carla, we are so proud of you. Keep up the good work.


Hi I've tried for some weeks to link tai chi practice (chen form) with kung fu. I think there are strongly linked ? don't you?

Carla Navallo

At this writing, 9-1/2 years have gone by. It doesn't seem possible. And my love for kung fu and what I know think of as my kung fu family has only grown stronger over the years. I cannot imagine life without these caring, thoughtful and truly amazing people. I am blessed beyond what I have words to say. Much has happened in the intervening years. I received my teaching certificate and teach regularly (tai chi, basic shaolin and weapons). In April, 2014 I received my 2nd degree black sash in tai chi, shaolin and weapons, and my 1st degree in Pa Gua and Hsing Yi. The joy has been, and continues to be, the journey -- which I pray will be a lifelong one. Blessings all.


, Not even bixnog! Good bixnog should look not much unlike kung fu or tai chi. Doo Wai was a pre-cultural revolution kung fu practitioner and I heard him say many times that the closest thing to real kung fu is bixnog. Muhammad Ali was a tai chi master. He won by letting his opponent overextend. That is because Ali knew how to yield and lead/follow his opponent. But that's not the whole story. He also had the skill of being able to hit while yielding or shuffling back. Sounds like defense and attack occur at the same time to me, and that sounds like tai chi.