Finding Your Energy with Tai Chi

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Mequon resident KT Rusch is an interesting person.   Musician, electrical engineer, poet – her story reveals a fascinating life.  Yet when she isn’t on stage performing or hanging out with the Dalai Lama, you can find her every Monday morning at the Port Washington Senior Center, as she has been for the past 6 years, teaching Tai Chi to an ever-growing group of eager students.

Students in the Beginner Tai Chi class at the Port Washington Senior Center

Students in the Beginner Tai Chi class at the Port Washington Senior Center

A student of Tai Chi for over 18 years, KT was introduced to this slow martial art in the 1980’s by Grandmaster Ch’ian Ho Yin , and teaches both in Port and at the Tai Chi Ch’uan Center in Milwaukee.

“It’s a lifelong study, but you only need three things to learn:  intelligence, perseverance and a good teacher.”

While many people think of Tai Chi as an exercise for seniors, and despite the fact that classes are held at the Senior Center, it is actually a powerful, ancient martial art form that focuses on chi, or the energy in one’s body, and is suitable for all ages.

Lauren Federspiel, 27, of Port Washington has been taking the class for about a year.  “I love it – it’s changed my life.  I’m more in tune with my body and it starts my week out right.”

Elizabeth MacCrimmon, owner of The Chocolate Chisel in Port, agreed.  “It is hard to imagine that doing things so slowly can leave me out of breath and getting the muscle burn, but there it is. That is why I love it.”

The beginner’s class runs from 9-10 a.m. every Monday morning at the Port Washington Senior Center, located at 403 W. Foster Street.  Fees for each quarterly session are $95 for members and $105 for non-members, however, anyone is welcome to try a class for free at any time, and sessions can be prorated.

Port Washington Senior Center

Port Washington Senior Center

“I don’t advertise the class,” says Rusch, “It’s all word of mouth.”

Apparently, the word is good.

“KT has a humorous, engaging style of teaching and such a passion for [Tai Chi],” says MacCrimmon, “She has engaged an entire group of Port Washington seniors who have continued to learn and improve on the Short Form Yang Style Tai Chi for six years.”

For more information, visit the Port Washington Senior Center website at: http://cityofportwashington.com/seniorCenter.html or contact the Director, Catherine Kiener, at ckiener@ci.port-washington.wi.us.

Mary Boyle is a lifelong resident of Oz, and currently resides in Port Washington with her husband and her two children, collectively known as "the bubbies."

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