He began his martial arts training with Dr. John Painter of Arlington, TX, practicing Dao De Ching Kung Fu.
His first exposure to Tai Chi and Qigong was through Master Henry Look of Sacramento, CA, learning the Guang Ping Form of legendary San Francisco Master Kuo, Lienying.
Since moving to Portland, James has worked with Dr. Li, Fuzhong and his development of the 8-Form Tai Chi for seniors and those with Parkinson’s and MS. He has been taught this form to students and other teachers through the Oregon Health Authority for 8 years.
James continues to study Qigong with Master Wu, Zhongxian even after he has left teaching at the National University of Natural Medicine. Continuing with workshops with Master Wu when he returns to Portland, and now a quarterly series of Qigong workshops on Zoom from his home in Sweden.
For 20 years James has been a meditation and East Asian Calligraphy student of Sensei Kazuaki Tannahashi (translator of Asian poetry and Zen texts into English and frequent presenter at Zen Centers around the world).
James continues to study with his current Tai Chi Master Teacher, Sam Tam of Vancouver, BC. Through him he has not only learned new forms of Tai Chi and Qigong, but also learns how to be a better teacher, martial artist, and authentic human being (Zhenren).
James is thankful for and committed to continuing the legacy of his conscientious and skillful teachers.
(Thanks to Jordan Misner of Wind River Tai Chi in Tucson for this brief description of Master Sam Tam's lineage)
Sam Tam (1940-) was born in Mainland China and began his study of martial arts from childhood developing a strong foundation built upon upright character, self discipline, hard work and a passion for martial arts. His martial training began in the 1940s under the tutelage of very high level military martial art instructors that served with and knew his father (a physician) in Chiang Kai Shek’s Nationalist Army.
Sifu Tam is a living encyclopedia of martial arts knowledge both in theory and application. As a result of his skills and aptitude for the martial arts Sifu Tam has had the unique opportunity to learn from many of China’s highest level martial arts masters.
His closest and most influential teachers include:
Eagle Claw (Lau Fat Mang),
Yiquan (Han Xingyuan, Yu Pengxi),
Taijiquan ( Zhang Xiang Wu, Qi Jiangtao),
Xingyiquan ( Han Xingyuan, Zhang Xiang Wu),
Baguazhang ( Han Xingyuan, Zhang Xiang Wu),
Shuaijiao ( Chang Dongshen), and many others
Being a great martial artist doesn’t necessarily translate into being a great teacher. However Sifu Tam’s style of teaching is both playful and serious. Though I have been given the opportunity to increase my own awareness and training through private lessons at his home; I have learned more of how to teach by watching him impart his knowledge at his yearly Tai Chi Reunions for his students and their students.
He analyzes the individual to whom he is imparting his art and theory of Tai Chi, adjusting the teaching technique while not sacrificing the form and function of the movement. He freely gives direct transmission of his energy and his art to anyone sincerely remaining open to the possibilities of this way of self-discovery.
My goal is to careful absorb this experience and bring it to life for my own students. I am grateful to be a part of this lineage of Internal Martial Arts and am thankful that he has accepted me as his student.