“In stillness be like a great mountain; in movement be like a mighty river” -Wang Tsung-yueh
For the Best Tai Chi and Nei Jia in the West Park Yourself Right Here…
The San Gabriel Valley, spreading out to the east of Los Angeles, is the new Chinatown of Southern California. The Parks of the San Gabriel Valley are alive with the some of the best Internal Martial Arts on the West Coast to accomodate the Valley’s burgeoning Asian population..
Whether it be taiqiquan, baguazhang or xingyiquan, you can find that special instructor and group within a short drive to one of the Valley’s many parks..
For your convenience, I have listed some of the better parks below. Be sure to read the START HERE page before searching for a new tai chi or internal martial arts class .
Arcadia: Live Oak Park
Located just off Baldwin Avenue on Daines Road, here you will find many groups daily doing Yang and Chen Tai Chi, Qigong, Dance and Aerobics. There are two large tai chi groups on the East Side of the park behind the baseball stands on either side of the concession booths. There is a dance group in the center of the park just beyond the parking lot. On the West Side adjacent to the basketball courts Lee Huei-Tai leads a small “Cheng Man Ching” tai chi group that also practices Chen Tai Chi, Bagua and weapons. On the weekends there is a large aerobics group in the same area just in front of the maintenance building. On the other side of the maintenance building there are qigong and kung fu groups.
Temple City: Temple City Park
Located at Las Tunas and Golden West Blvd. not far from Live Oak Park, this park is home to a number of daily tai chi groups. There are groups practicing the Yang competition forms,: 24, 42, and 48. There is also a Chen group in the middle of the park that also does sword and fan. A Yang 43 group meets daily except Sunday in the gazebo in the center of the park. Most of these are free groups. On the weekends, you will find a Water-Nature Style Tai Chi group that meets on the library portico. The classes are free, but there is $100 initiation fee. Jack Fu’s fee-based tai chi and tui shou group meets in the Gazebo. A Ma Yueh Liang style Wu Tai Chi and tui shou group meets on weekends on the East Side of the park adjacent to Golden West Blvd. Master Jerry Yan is the instructor. There is a $25 fee to work directly with Master Yan. However, you can work with his students for free. In the same area, you will sometimes find Master Su, a snake tai chi practitioner or Mike Zhu from Henan Province, a Zhaobao practitioner. Chen Hsien, a Cheng Man Ching laoshi, who follows Benjamin Lo’s lineage, is usually there as well. (See Smith Park below for more info on Chen Hsien) The regular daily classes at Temple City Park begin around 7:30 a.m. The weekend groups generally start around 9:00 a.m.
Smith Park: San Gabriel
The park is located on Broadway a couple blocks east of the San Gabriel Mission and a couple blocks west of Del Mar Blvd. There is only one group that meets at Smith Park on Saturday morning, but it is a really good one. Chen Hsien, a Cheng Man Ching laoshi, who follows Benjamin Lo’s lineage, instructs this small group of 5 or 6 practitioners. Mr. Chen is a truly devoted instructor who spends countless hours working closely with his students at no cost. But if you are looking to learn a Wushu form with beautiful externals as quickly as possible and enter Wushu competitions, then go somewhere else. If you want to learn real tai chi and tui shou from the inside out, the way Cheng Man Ching orignally taught it to Ben Lo and T.T. Liang in Taiwan, then this is the group you want to join. No fancy kicks or frills, no magic formulas, no hidden family secrets, just plain hard work and constant practice over and over again. Hours have switched from Saturday to Sunday morning 9 a.m. – Noon (Sometimes the class goes longer)
Rosemead: Garvey Park
The park is located just south of the 10 Freeway at Del Mar, between Del Mar and Kelburn on the east and Emerson Pl. on the south and Dorothy St. on the north. Master Raymond Wong’s martial arts group meets by the last picnic stand on the Dorothy Street side, adjacent to the gymnasium. Master Wong is a truly accomplished master with over 50 years of experience. His original style was My Jong Law Horn Kung Fu, and he became an assistant instructor to Grandmaster Yip Yu-Ting at the young age of 15.. Later, he took up the Wu Dang style tai chi, a soft and hard form known as Doga. In 1968 he became an indoor desciple of famous Tai Chi Praying Mantis Grandmaster Chiu Jook-Kai During the day he assisted Doctor Chiu with acupunture and bone setting, and in the eveining he trained in the the Tai Chi Praying Mantis curriculum. Master Wong does not charge for instructions. You can join any time.
Alhambra: Alhambra Park
Located on Palm Avenue between Cedar Street and Ahambra Road, there is a Yang group that meets daily by the recreation office building. They perform the Yang competition forms 24,42,48. Another Yang group meets on the hillside at the northeastern end of the park on weekends. A third group that does the complete Yang 108 long form as well as sword and taiji knife meets in front of the band shell at the south end of the park early on weekend mornings at 8:30.
Alhambra: Almansor Park
Located on South Almansor Street between East Park Street and East Los Higos Street, here there are a number of groups that meet on weekend mornings performing Yang and Chen taijiquan on the hillside by the tennis courts and along the south end past the tennis courts. A qigong group meets on the other side of the park just beyond the basketball courts, and a line dance groups meets in the pavilion area just beyond the baseball field.
Monterey Park: Barnes Park
This is the main park in the City of Monterey Park. Located on Mc Phearson Avenue between Newmark and Harding Avenues, this park is filled with martial artists of all kinds. You will find taiji, qigong, bagua and kung fu groups. Some groups meet daily but the busiest times are weekend mornings.
Pasadena: Damo Academy
Classes are not held in a park but in a parking lot, located at 2085 Foothill Blvd. across from the In & Out Burger in Pasadena. Master Tang Wei-Zhong teaches many forms of Chinese Martial Arts, Internal Martial Arts, Shaolin Styles and Qi Gong. Classes are open to all skill levels. The Internal Martial Arts include Xing Yi Quan, Ba Gua Zhang and Tai Ji (Tai Chi). as well as sword and staff training. Located at 2085 E. Foothill Blvd. in Pasadena between Allen and Sierra Madre. Class meets on Sunday mornings at 9:00. There is a fee. I have not check with this group in some time. So, you may want to call Master Tang’s tai chi brother Sun Anguan at the Taiji Club of Los Angeles listed below
Huntington Library and Gardens
Located on Oxford just north of Huntington Drive on the border of San Marino and Pasadena, there is a Chen taiji class that meets on Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m.in the gardens adjacent to the library. This seven-part series led by instructor Kathy Chyan, a Chen Tai Chi master. This class is suitable for beginning and intermediate students. Members: $150. Non-Members: $170. Registration: 626-405-2128
Los Angeles’ Chinatown: Alpine Recreation Center
Located on Yale St. between Alpine and College Sts., this small park offers a few qigong and tai chi groups, but you need to get there early. You will find various masters doing their own thing. An early morning exercise and qigong group meets dailly about 6:45 am. They are followed around 7:30 by a small Yang tai chi group. On weekends, you will find a small Zhaobao tai chi groups conducted by Master Wu Jin Cai (Wu Gum Choi). Zhaobao is a rare but excellent tai chi form. Master Wu is an exceptional martial artists with over 65 years of experience including some 33 years in Shaolin Kung Fu and 32 years in Zhaobao tai chi. This is a fee-based class.
Los Angeles’ Elysian Park
There are two small Yang groups located in front of the Elysian Park Recreation Center about a half-mile east of the Police Academy. One group is led by Larry Antonion, a student of Gordon Feng, a Fu Zhong Wen disciple. They do an intensive style of tui shou (push hands). The other group is led by Amy, a Taiwanese Master. She teaches the Yang Long Form and Ba Duan Jin.
For those of you who prefer the great indoors as opposed to the outdoors, there are many taijiquan studios in the San Gabriel Valley area. Here are a few…
Alhambra: Taiji Club of Los Angeles
Located at 2620 West Main Street, their mission is to promote Chinese Taiji worldwide by teaching online, training qualified Taiji instructors and organizing annual Olymipic Taichi Exhibitions. The school is run by Master Sun Anguan. Call (626) 576-2319.
Alhambra: LA Fitness (Main Street)
Wu Taiji master John Wang teaches the Wu Square Form, Wu Saber, Wu Sword and push hands every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 9:15 – 10:15 pm. Call LA Fitness for more information (626) 299-5980
Alhambra: West San Gabriel Valley YMCA
See South Pasadena-San Marino YMCA below – Same classes and instructor
The South Pasadena – San Marino YMCA
It is located on the corner of Garfield Avenue and Oak Street in South Pasadena. Eiji Inoue is the instructor. He teaches Yang 24 and 48 and push hands. Eiji also teaches tai chi and kick boxing at the West San Gabriel Valley YMCA located at 401 Corto Street just off Mission Road and Chapel Avenue and tai chi at the Arcadia Fitness Sports Club located at 56 E. Duarte Road in Arcadia on Saturday at 9:00 a.m.
Pasadena School of Tai Chi
It is located in the Collenette School of Dancing upstairs at 922 Huntington Drive, San Marino. Classes are held Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Classes are taught by Joseph Balthazar, a student of Mary Yang, the granddaughter of Yang Chenfu. See their website for further information: www.cataichi.com.
For More Schools and Classes including Tai Chi, Qigong, Kung Fu, Ninjutsu and Aikido, see our Additional Classes Directory.