Master Helen Wu to host Tai Chi workshop

Fifth-generation master, martial artist, international teacher/judge, Master Helen Wu shares skills, knowledge and love of movement for best health, balance and flexibility. She will hold a two-day workshop June 28 and 29, at the gymnasium at Rock Valley College (the PEC building).

For more than 28 years, she’s taught how to calm stress, restore health and joint comfort with simple breathing exercises and dance-like movements that tone and strengthen muscles. Master Helen Wu performed the Flying Rainbow Tai Chi Fan in Highlander the Raven TV series.

Master Helen Wu was trained by her grandfather, Grandmaster Zi-Ping Wang, and her mother, Grandmaster Ju-Rong Wang, China’s first female Professor of Martial Arts, legendary members of five generations of illustrious Masters of Martial Arts. Master Wu, expert in all major styles of Kung-Fu and Tai Chi, was doctor, professor of Sports Medicine in Shanghai Teachers’ University. Guest lecturer at York University, she authored five books and more than 20 published theses on Tai Chi, Wushu, Traumatology and Sports Medicine.

One of her pupils, Sifu Sue Michaelsen, has logged 149 hours with Master Wu. “She is an amazing woman,” Michaelsen said, “a true Chinese master. Her grandfather, Zi-Ping Wang, was one of the most famous masters of his generation. What is unique is he had a daughter, Helen’s mother, who was the first woman in Chinese history to be a professor of Martial Arts.” In 1928, Master Zi-Ping Wang was appointed director and principal master of the first official martial arts school in China. Master Wu’s parents are respected as the foremost practitioners of Chinese martial arts in the United States. Her mother, Ju-Rong Wang, is the first female professor of martial arts in Chinese history; her father, Dr. Chen-De Wu, belongs to the first generation of professors of Chinese medicine. And the family system continues to grow, as each generation builds upon the legacy.

Master Wu served as lecturer of Sports Medicine at Shanghai Teachers’ University from 1982-89, and guest lecturer at York University and the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College. She has authored several published works on martial arts: Tai Chi Single Fan (book and video tape); Tai Chi Double Fan (book and video tape); Wushu and Traditional Traumatology (book); Wang Ziping and Wushu (book); and Therapeutic Chi-Kung (instructional chart and video tape).

Professor Gregory M. Malszecki, Ph.D., of York University, said, “As one who himself is a student of hers for several years, I can bear witness to the sure bridge she builds between the roots of ancient China and the fruits of the contemporary Western world… She knows how to guide because she has travelled the same path of difficulties and anxieties over tens of thousands of hours of practice. The blended timing of head, heart, dan tien, and breath translate into effortless creative self-expression when one trusts her vast, acquired resources of courage, faith, hope, and patient determination.”

As of Jan. 1, 2000, Master Wu began to offer a formal program encompassing the major martial arts disciplines. Areas of training include techniques for achieving optimal health, a study of the internal and external martial arts and instructors’ training.

Cost of the two-day workshop is $185. Hours on Saturday, June 28 are: 9 a.m. registration; 9:30-11 a.m.; 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m.; 2-3:30 p.m.; 3:45-5:15 p.m. Hours on Sunday, June 29 are 10-11:30 a.m.; 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.; 2:30-4 p.m. To reserve a space, call (815) 921-3900. People with serious medical conditions should have a physician’s release or note to participate.

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