The past is important because we are conditioned by it - for better or for worse. In a sense, spirituality is the exploration of what is essence and what is form, what to keep and what to let go of - if indeed we are able to let go.
"Emerge Internal Arts" (which later became known as the Tai Chi and Meditation Centre) was the result of my conviction nearly 25 years ago that Buddhism and Daoism were just different expressions of the same profound, universal wisdom. At that time, and even now, not many teachers were offering specific training that combined these two profound and comprehensive traditions. Over the years, the notion of Perennial Wisdom (truth that transcends ages and countries) has steadily grown. My own teaching and learning experiences just continue to flesh out the finer details of my original vision. Recently in China, I was gratified to meet three masters who effortlessly and naturally embodied the martial, healing and spiritual, embracing both Daoism and Buddhism.
My main teachers also saw the value of integration and of seeking the common ground. Dhiravamsa, my meditation teacher was one of the first high level Buddhist meditation teachers to come to the West (from Thailand). He was also a pioneer in using techniques from pyschology, psychotherapy and from other spiritual traditions - but always as just different manifestations of the Vipassana meditation practice, not as a replacement or and add-on.
Miss Rose Li, my first and main internal martial arts teacher, came from a distinguished lineage (see following) which was responsible for bringing together the so-called "internal" family of martial arts - Tai Chi Chuan, Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan.
Jerry Allan Johnson, my Qi Gong teacher, is not only a world renowned Qigong teacher and healer but a tournament champion, fighter and author. He has integrated many lineages of the Chinese internal martial arts with Western psychological insights.
Other teachers and friends who have generously shared their knowledge with us include Grand Master Chung-Jen Chang of Taiwan, Zhang Yu-Fei, a senior disciple of China's most famous living Chen Tai Chi Chuan master, Feng Zhi-Qiang, and Liu Yuzeng, a member of China's National Martial Arts Hall of Fame and disciple of both the Shaolin and Wudang temples in China.
The Tai Chi and Meditation Centres are operated by the Taoist and Buddhist Meditation Centre, a non-profit organization.
Shifu Andy James (Wu Andao),
Founder, Tai Chi & Meditation Centre