Students from Far and Near
Gather to Celebrate Grand Master Tung's 70th Birthday
Kai Ying Tung began teaching in Los Angeles in 1971, when everyone was
young. In the 40 years that followed, thousands of students have passed
through the doors of the Academy. On a recent Saturday night,
70 people from around the country gathered to show their
love and respect for Master on his 70th birthday.
At the Banquet were Master's wife, Charmmie, and two of his daughters,
Esther and Christina and her children. Also there were long-time students, like
an extended family, from all over California, Arizona, Texas, Colorado, Ohio
and Hawaii. The next day, many attendees returned to their homes thousands
of miles away, and will plan future travels to study with Master again. The
lucky ones of us will go to class again next week, and find Master, smiling,
ready to begin the next class.
There were students at the Banquet from Master's earliest classes. Time
has passed, people married, had children, and now their children study with
Master, as his own son, Chen Wei, has joined alongside Master in teaching.
In 1971, I was in a college bookstore in Florida where I stopped before a book
on Tai Chi Chuan. On the cover was a photo of a man demonstrating Lower
Posture. Something resonated in me. I had to do this. Someday I would
study this, I promised myself. Across the country in Los Angeles, Master was
already teaching, and I would find his class years later, in 1984.
At my first class at the Academy, I was a little nervous. Tai Chi was
completely foreign to me, and the large room was packed with serious students,
but Master was welcoming and kind. Then the class began, and it continues for
me still. Like a river I have entered many times, it is never the same. I enter
it again with each class, never knowing where it will take me. It must be like
this for everyone. We come together to learn, to work, to grow, and before
you know it, decades have passed. Some people have moved away, some have
passed away, and still new students come, and old ones return, and step into the
river one more time.
-- Jennifer Hill
September 22, 2011