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I am a senior level (black sash) instructor in the American Tao System of Internal Arts. We study and practice the internal arts of Chen Tai Chi, Hsing-I Chuan, and Baguazhang. I also study and teach Chi Kung (Qigong) and Chin-Na. I began studying martial arts in 1973. I was 20 years old, a college student, and was inspired by Bruce Lee and the Kung-Fu TV show. My first teacher was Grandmaster Sin The in Lexington, Kentucky. I studied Shaolin with him. During the 1970's I also studied Taekwondo with Master Randy Chambliss. In the early 80's, I studied Tien Shan Pai Kung-Fu (wushu) with Karen Vaughn in Cincinnati. I met Sifu Phillip Starr in 1987 when I moved to Omaha, and earned a black sash in his Yiliquan system. He taught me the basics of Hsing-I, Tai Chi and Bagua. In 1998, I began studying Chen Tai Chi with Jim and Angela Criscimagna. They are indoor disciples of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. I've also learned from Grandmaster Chen and his brother, Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing, the head of tai chi training in the Chen village, Henan Province. Their ancestor, Chen Wangting, created tai chi about 350 years ago. I have also learned from Mike Sigman and other very good instructors. I have a website,, where I teach all three internal arts online to students around the world. The site is very video intense. Eastern philosophy, especially Zen and Taoism, are very important to me. I am developing a means of explaining these philosophies to Americans in plain English so they can apply them to daily life in the 21st Century USA. I call it American Tao. I am 55 years old and enjoy competing in tournaments, often sparring young black belts (and even winning occasionally). I can answer questions about the internal arts, chi kung, tournament competition, philosophy, and keeping fit after the age of 40 or 50.

Experience in the area

I've taught tai chi for 11 years and studied much longer. I've learned from some of the world's best. My DVDs are praised by martial artists around the world. I teach online through my new online school at I have competed in many tournaments. I won two national titles at the 1990 AAU Kung Fu Nationals.

What do you like about this subject?

Tai Chi is considered a "soft art," but when done properly, there's nothing soft about it. It's a very powerful martial art. The internal arts are very complex and deep.

What do you still hope to achieve/learn in this field?

I'm still learning and developing my internal skills.

Something interesting about this subject that others may not know:

Every movement in a tai chi form is a self-defense technique. There are no wind-ups or transitions. All movement is designed for self-defense.

Something controversial or provocative about this subject

Too many tai chi students don't learn tai chi properly because their teachers haven't learned properly. They focus on "cultivating chi" and they miss the body mechanics that are required for good tai chi.

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    K = Knowledgeability    C = Clarity of Response    P = Politeness
Al09/03/10101010Thank you, I will take your advice .....
Martin11/16/081010Thank you, Ken!
Harjot Singh10/28/08101010To the point and exactly what i .....
maggie04/11/08101010Thanks you have given me courage to .....

Recent Answers from Ken Gullette

2010-12-08 want your views on my problem:

Hi Nishant,  Whoever told you that bodybuilding is bad for the body is totally wrong. Absolutely wrong. They have no idea what they are talking about. Blood will not gather to a few common places. That

2010-09-03 finding good instruction:

Al,  Another way you can tell if a tai chi or internal teacher is not very good -- if they talk too much about "chi" and act as if you can do miracles with chi.    If they spend too much of their class

2010-09-03 finding good instruction:

It's not easy, Al. I finally found good instruction when I started studying Chen style tai chi. The body mechanics of the original art are so different than the meditative and watered-down style that most

2010-09-01 Is Muscle building bad for body:

Hi Nishant,  I'm sorry for the delay, I thought I answered this a few days ago. Obviously, I didn't click enough buttons.    Don't EVER listen to any of these people -- whether they teach yoga, tai chi

2010-06-08 sir are you the same:

Nishant,  No, that wasn't me on BBC. I'm not a master - just a student like you, maybe a little farther down the road. :)    I like Chen tai chi the best. It's taught as a martial art, the way it was intended


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