My name is David-Dorian Ross, creator of the TaijiFit Method. I've been doing Tai Chi for 45 years now, and over the course of that time, I went through the stages of trying to be perfect at it. But somewhere along the way, I realized that Tai Chi is not about precision, perfection or performance. Tai Chi is just about pure, lovely enjoyment, grounding yourself in your own body, and setting your mind free so you can just be yourself.
I was never an active or athletic child. I was born with severe asthma and allergies which limited how much I could run around and play. I couldn't run more than a few dozen yards before I was wheezing and doubled over out of breath. If I played outside in the Spring or Fall I would regularly come down with hay fever and be miserable for weeks on end. Pets were entirely out of the question, even though I loved dogs and longed to have one.
I enlisted in the Navy when I was eighteen and they almost didn't take me - I made it in because it was the height of the cold war and I had super high test scores and they were recruiting for the Nuclear program. I thought I could find a career in the service where I could make a contribution to my country and to the world. I thought maybe the military would get me into shape. But when I left the Navy after four years, I wasn't any healthier and I kinda felt a little dumber than when I went in. But at least I had the G.I. Bill to go to college on - and that was where I met Tai Chi.
It all began when I tried meditation. Who knows why, but one day I had this notion that meditation would get my mind ready for the rigors of University. Push-ups for the brain and all that. The problem was I could not sit still for five minutes. My mind was a restless mess - these days I would be diagnosed with ADHD. But I happened to come across a chapter in a book about a Chinese martial art and "moving meditation" called Tai Chi. Coincidentally the college where I enrolled (San Francisco State University) offered Tai Chi. I would find out later that it was the most popular P.E. class on campus. I signed up for the class, and the rest (as they say) is history.
Well... not quite. I was still that skinny, unathletic asthmatic kid - just a little older and a little taller. I had grown disconnected from my own body. I remember that in my first class the teacher told us all to touch our toes, and I barely got my fingertips to my shins. Progress in Tai Chi was very slow for me, and for the next decade I was very bad at it. In fact, I had a classmate who took me aside one evening after class and said to me, "I hope you're only doing this as a hobby because you're never going to be any good at it."
It's possible that he was just trying to motivate me with reverse psychology. If that was the case it worked, because after that I worked harder than anyone in my class. I would do double what everyone else did, because I was determined to prove that even skinny kids from small towns could master Tai Chi. And eventually I got better - good enough to go to some martial arts tournaments. I started to win, even beating out national champions in styles like Tae Kwon Do and Karate. Along the way, some other things changed as well. My asthma all but disappeared. I got muscles. I moved to Hawaii and started to surf (something I never imagined I could do). I rode a motorcycle. I fell in love.
In 1991 at the First World Wushu Championships in Beijing China, I became the first non-Asian and first American to place in the top three in international Tai Chi competition. Two years later I went back to China and won both a bronze and a silver medal at the world Tai Chi Invitational in Fuzhou. I was on top of the world.
But the next year, things began to fall apart. My kid brother had a seizure and went into a coma from which he never recovered. My girlfriend and I split up. I had to leave Hawaii and move back to the mainland to try and find a job. Worst of all, I stopped doing Tai Chi. Not all at once, but my practice went from several hours every day to only once or twice a week until finally I didn't do Tai Chi at all. Now I was no longer skinny, but I lost all my muscles. I was no longer young, either. My allergies all returned, even putting me in the hospital twice. I was lost, sad, single and depressed.
And then one day, sitting in my back yard and reminiscing about my time in Hawaii, I started thinking about Tai Chi. I remembered how much I had loved it from the first day of my first class all those years past. I realized that quitting Tai Chi had left an enormous hole in my life. I wept, and I when I was done I stood up and began going through my old routine.
It was like I had never done Tai Chi before. My body had lost its magic. It's what I now teach my students is called "losing touch with your Qi." But somehow that didn't make me sad. In fact, I knew that this was just as it should be, because now I could rediscover Tai Chi like it was the first time all over again. But this time, instead of trying to master how it would look on the outside, I wanted dive deep into what Tai Chi feels like on the inside.
On the road back to Tai Chi I learned that the health and vitality rewards it gives you are only the beginning. Through the experience of Tai Chi I learned how to be the person I always wanted to be - someone who could make a contribution to my country, my world and my fellow human beings. Teaching Tai Chi is my calling, something I actually knew 45 years ago by the end of my very first class experience. TaijiFit is my legacy, a way of making Tai Chi easy, approachable and meaningful for you. It's my small contribution to making the world a better place.
And by the way... I now have a dog named Ginger.
David-Dorian is an international competitive Tai Chi champion. He is a former member of the San Francisco Wushu team, the US National Tai Chi team and two U.S. National Wushu teams. He competed at the first World Wushu Championships in Beijing in 1991 and was the only non-Asian out of 42 participating countries to win a medal. He is an 8-time US gold medalist, World silver medalist and 2-time World bronze medalist in Tai Chi forms competition.
David-Dorian is the #1 best-selling author of Tai Chi media in the world. Inside Kung-fu Magazine called David-Dorian "the man who brought Tai Chi mainstream." He has written, starred in and hosted more than 150 award-winning instructional dvds, television specials and television series. He is a Professor for The Great Courses, and his program The Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong is the #1 selling dvd collection in the world. He is a featured expert for YMAA Publications, and his dvd "Tai Chi Fit Over 50" is the #1 best-selling Tai Chi dvd on Amazon.
David-Dorian was also the executive producer of "24 Hours of World Peace Livestream," a live webcast of World Tai Chi Qigong Day events. Bill Douglas, the founder of World Tai Chi Qigong Day, dedicated the 20th Year to David-Dorian for his contributions to the theme of world peace and harmony. International action film star Jet Li called David-Dorian "the American Idol of Tai Chi" and brought him to China to be the international face of his online TaijiZen Academy. David-Dorian is the only master of the TaijiZen method outside of China.
David-Dorian is a pioneer in multi-media methods for educating people about mind-body methods like Tai Chi, yoga and meditation. He is the CEO of TaijiFit, the first wholly online Tai Chi school in the world to use live streaming technology. Recently, David-Dorian and TaijiFit were chosen to be the national coordinators of the Tai Chi for Veterans instructor network - a part of the Veterans Administration Community Care Program.