Tai Chi with Chris Zalek

    Chris Zalek began his martial arts studies when he was an adolescent, looking for a way to take care of himself during some typical middle school years. He was fortunate enough to find a school with instructors that not only encouraged him to work hard, but also keep an open mind toward his training and explore other styles.

    He was still training in the external martial arts at twenty-four and had been living in Chicago as a graduate student when a mutual friend introduced him to Elizabeth Wenscott. "At the time I was trying to find a way to relax my upper body; my shoulders were too tense. When I learned that Tai Chi was actually a martial art, I naturally became inquisitive. After a few classes, I was hooked."

    Although employment opportunities led him out of state following graduation in 1994, Chris kept training several times a week, and tried his best to make it back to Chicago for seminars. During the years that followed he began to realize that some of the greatest benefits of the practice of Tai Chi had nothing to do with fighting. "To put it mildly," he recalls, "I had this impression that I was getting a lot more than I bargained for."

    In the summer of 2000, Chris began bi-monthly weekend trips to Chicago in preparation for the first Cheng Man-Ching Cup International Tai Chi Chuan Championship in Taiwan. Later that year, after learning Two Person Tai Chi Chuan, it became apparent that "commuting" to school simply wasn't enough for him. "I formed some very special bonds with Elizabeth, my classmates and the school that year. Maintaining and nurturing those relationships meant returning to Chicago."

    Within twelve months time he was back in the Windy City and taking classes regularly. He has taught introductory Tai Chi Chuan during the first few years back, and is currently instructing at the Tai Chi Center of Chicago. "I consider it a great fortune to have the opportunity to share what I've learned." His goal as a teacher is to help students build a solid foundation from which they can explore Tai Chi Chuan and conduct their own personal investigations.

    To reach Mr. Zalek email him at czyntax@gmail.com

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