The story of Dong Ying Jie, Tai Chi champion of China. First time in English.
More than 250-million people worldwide practice Tai Chi Chuan, an ancient art of physical, mental and spiritual culture. Developed in China for self-defense, health and meditation, it was passed down in secret for many centuries. In the 1900s, the Yang family of Tai Chi masters began spreading the art more publicly, in order to "strengthen the nation" of modern China. Yang Chen Fu, master of the Yang family style, took on as his senior student a young prodigy named Dong Ying Jie. When Yang died, Dong Ying Jie became Grand Master of a new lineage, linked to the old, which continues to spread all over the world. Alex Dong, his great-grandson and fourth generation master, compiled and translated this work from original sources and continues to teach this immortal art. David Saltman, biographer of Gilda Radner, producer of CNN's Pinnacle biographies, and himself a highly experienced Tai Chi teacher, has edited and augmented the original material.
Master Da De "Alex" Dong is Dong Ying Jie's great-grandson. He is a fourth generation Master of the Dong family Tai Chi Chuan lineage. Alex started his formal training with his father, Grand Master Dong Zeng Chen at the age of five in Hebei Province, Ren County, the heart of martial arts in China. In 1983, at the age of twelve, he moved to Honolulu, Hawaii where he continued studying with his father and also practiced with his grandfather, Grand Master Dong Hu Ling, who had a major influence on his training. From the age of 15, he assisted his father with teaching and helped with translation from Chinese to English during classes. In 1990 he started a class of his own in Hawaii, and has continued to teach ever since. In 2003, he relocated to New York City where he established his new school, the Alex Dong International Tai Chi Chuan Association. Genuine principles of Tai Chi Chuan are taught and through that teaching Master Dong dedicates his life to spreading and popularizing the art of Tai Chi Chuan. He is a devoted teacher who gives to his students the real meaning of Tai Chi. Infecting them with an enthusiasm to work harder and with greater confidence. He also underlines the role of improving both health and self-defense skills to keep the true meaning. Alex Dong leads seminars in North America, South America and Europe. He and his father Dong Zeng Chen are two of the few masters who get invited back to Asia to improve the skills of the Chinese and other Asian practitioners. Master Alex Dong currently lives and teaches in New York City. David has written and filmed nearly two hundred documentaries for CNN, CBS, ABC, NBC and public television networks and has written or collaborated on three feature film scripts. He has won Emmy and Ace awards, shared a Peabody award, and has had his film work inducted into the Smithsonian Institution. David is currently writing his fifth book, tentatively entitled Houdini Unbound, a work of historical fiction. His last book, Gilda, was hailed by the Los Angeles Times as "elegiac" and "more exciting than prime time." He has authored or co-authored three other critically-acclaimed books: The Sports Book, The Great Escape, and The Marrakech Express. His humor pieces in TV Guide, his science writing in Omni and his travel writings in Rolling Stone and The New York Times have been hailed as setting the standards for the art. Concurrent with his work in film and publishing is David's practice of Tai Chi, Qigong and related arts. He began his studies in Chinese communities in the Far East, then studied for five years with master S. T. Ying in the San Francisco Bay Area. Moving to New York, David practiced for more than 25 years with the late master B. P. Chan, a student of Dong Ying Jie's and himself known around the world as a walking encyclopedia of martial arts, meditation and healing practices. Since 2003 he has continued his practice with master Alex Dong. Over the past 15 years, David has developed a unique specialty in Tai Chi/Qigong healing and meditation for patients in cardiac rehab units and other hospital-based venues. He has created clinical Tai Chi research-and-practice programs at two New York City teaching hospitals affiliated with the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. David has also portrayed a Tai Chi expert on the NBC television series "Law & Order."