I have been a student and practitioner of Tai Chi for nearly ten years and, over that span, have had the privilege of studying and training with three different masters. Recently my long time teacher retired and Mr. Lang, who himself has studied many years with this master, was asked to continue instructing the Madison class. He came into a class of some half a dozen students, most moderately advanced, that was long standing, cohesive and used to a particular style of training, practice and teaching.
Mr. Lang understood this history and from day one rose to the challenge of working with us. In very short order he earned our respect and admiration. His classes are characterized by forethought, preparation and seriousness. An expert in some half a dozen martial arts, he is also versed in human physiology and anatomy and thus can explain not only “the what” of the Tai Chi forms and postures but how this practice can promote health and wellbeing. He is focused, organized and attuned to the needs of each class member. He understands that some value Tai Chi for its general health benefits while others want to learn more about the martial applications of the art. He is patient and rigorous and understands that proficiency requires attention to detail and continual drill.
Thus he constantly reminds us of the centrality of intentionality, mindfulness and presence in that the key to Tai Chi lies in the mind. He enthusiastically demonstrates and discusses his approach to the forms, monitoring the class carefully while encouraging each student to go to their next level. He urges the class to make the Tai Chi our own by constructing our own interpretations, setting our own goals and making plans to achieve them. He brings energy, vitality and new insights to every class and I have never left a class that Eric has taught without a new idea, perspective, understanding or application. I can think of no higher praise for a teacher.