Students at Alex Feng's Taoist Center coil and push, sink and stretch as they "part the wild horse's mane," "repulse the monkey," and "seek the needle at the bottom of the sea," colorful edicts from the repertoire of tai chi classics. Their gaze steady, their spines erect, they breathe softly through their noses with their tongues lightly touching the roofs of their mouths. Whether beginners or longtime practitioners of this ancient art, these students move with a clarity of intent that is the signature of this Oakland-based school. Shi Fu "Alex" Feng, who commands a loyal following in the East Bay after more than thirty years of teaching martial arts, is a Taoist master and one of the leading pioneers of Chinese medicine in California. He teaches tai chi not as an exercise but as an exploration of traditional Taoist notions of the Three Treasures: essence, vital energy, and spirit. His humorous stories of studying with Chinese masters and occasional disquisitions on the Way are worth the price of admission alone.
In Motion Center for Healing and Martial Arts
813 San Pablo Ave., Albany, 510-528-9560