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Banquet 2011

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
Los Angeles
September 22, 2011

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