Saint Louis
T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Thomas M. Krapu, Ph.D.

Workshops: Silent Retreat: TBD
About Silent Retreats
Research on T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Classes in St. Louis
Classes Across the World
T'ai Chi Ch'uan Forum (email group)
Dr. Krapu's T'ai Chi Vita
Custom Swords

Thomas M. Krapu, Ph.D.
Personal/Corporate Coach
Licensed Psychologist
T'ai Chi Ch'uan Instructor

© 2002, Thomas M. Krapu, Ph.D., All rights reserve


October 27, 1955 - December 25, 2005


David Chen designed T-shirts

tshirtBURN DCdrop

"No Burn, No Earn"

The front is Ben’s writing “CMC Tai Chi Ch’uan”  The back is David's drawing with Ben's quote, "No Burn No Earn"


"Wu Wei Tai Chi"

The Blue T-Shirt is "Wu Wei Tai Chi" in Chinese on the front and the back is David's Tai Chi design

DC flow DCsurf


The dark Blue shirt has a white crane on the front and the back is our school name in Chinese


"Snake Creeps Down"

This t-shirt has a design  of ‘Snake Creeps Down" and five Chinese characters, Relax, Sink, Round, Soft, and Tranquility.  The Back is our school name both Chinese and English.

Each t-shirt is $25 plus shipping and all the sales go to:
The David Chen Foundation for Tai Chi Community services.

Costs below including shipping, chose the cell for your SIZE,
in the MEMO field when you order through PayPal include which shirt(s) you want.

Shirt Order Chart
Number of Shirts
Small Shirt
Number of Shirts
Medium Shirt
Number of Shirts
Large Shirt
Extra Large---->
Number of Shirts

[email protected]


by Check made out to: The David Chen Foundation

and sent to:

Joanne Chang
P.O.Box 184
Garrett Park, MD 20896

David Chen Memorial Page


October 27, 1955 - December 25, 2005


Memorial to and News on David Chen's Passing

David's lineage:
Professor Cheng
Mr. Benjamin Lo
Arnold Lee
David Chen

Consider wearing white
(traditional Chinese color of mourning)

January 1st and 2nd 2006

Following is news regarding the untimely passing of David Chen. News of a planned virtual (teleconference) memorial service will be posted here as soon as it is finalized so check back.

To learn about David Chen's Memorial Fund go to:

Virtual Memorial Service (1/28/06, 7 pm EST)

Here is information about the event that CJ is organizing in conjunction with the funeral (1/1/06).

Then there are the emails I have received.
Thank you to Barbara, CJ, and John

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Forum Thread (Members can add to this thread)

February 2006 Silent Retreat dedicated to David Chen.

Various Emails Honoring David

Various Contributions from David's Virtual Memorial Service

Virtual Memorial Service

The following memorial service can be heard in MP3 format at:

On January 28, 2006, we will hold a conference call memorial service for David from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm Eastern Standard Time (EST, -5 GMT). In order to take part in this ceremony, simply call 1-620-782-8200 and enter the code 909909 using a touch tone phone (long distance charges apply).

Please let us know that you plan to attend by sending an email to RSVP< removed email > There is no limit on the number of people who can attend, but we must order the right number of lines for the conference call.

Several people have agreed to speak including Joanne Chang, Ben Lo, Barbara Davis, Frances Gander, Carol McGonegal, Lee Scheele, Kimberly Cass, Warren Connor, Avi Scheier, David Walls-Kaufman, Hsien-Yuan Chen, Russ Mason, Dan Mearns, Randy Atkins, Craig Petrun, P. T. Ho, Vicki Mehl and more. Tom Krapu will introduce the speakers, and I will wrap up the call at 8:00 pm.

There will also be a time when anyone on the call can take a minute or two to share an experience with David or reflection about his life.

Event that CJ is organizing in conjunction with the funeral

As some of you already know, on Christmas day one of our beloved founders, David Chen, passed away while recovering from brain surgery to remove a tumor.

David Chen was one of the people I admired most in this world. He was the most passionate, enthusiastic, peaceful and talented taijiquan player I ever personally knew. He encouraged me in starting the Taijiquan Club, and without his support it might never have happened. He was the very first to say "Yes" to being on the Board of Directors - before there was a single member other than myself. He also donated his wonderful artwork to us -both for our logos and the T-shirts that sold at the annual Taijiquan Club Festival. His workshops were always full and garnered the top scores. However - he was not just a talented Taijiquan master and artist: David Chen was a good person with a heart of gold. I don't believe he ever said a mean thing to anyone about anyone - ever. His commitment and dedication are well known.

For the past few months, due to the the difficulties of my teaching and research schedule here at Kutztown University, I have not been active in the Taijiquan Club, and have attended very few Taijiquan events. David's death, however, has hit me very hard. I have shed hours of tears for my friend. The world has lost someone very special. If there is such a thing as sainthood in the world of Taijiquan, David Chen would be a saint.

However - now is not the time to wallow in self pity and tears because of our loss. His death - no, not his death but rather the remembrance of his life - has reminded me of what is really _important_. His life reminds me that Taijiquan needs to play a central role in my life. His life reminds me of how the benefits of Taijiquan need to be shared.

Now is the time to celebrate his life. David's dedication to the world of taijiquan must be carried on. I don't know exactly what or how yet, but I will find a way to honor his soul.

If you have any suggestions for how to honor David Chen, please join me on New Year's Day at 4:00 pm for the David Chen Repast at the:

Best Western Gateway Hotel
1251 W Montgomery Avenue
Rockville, Maryland, United States, 20850-3133
Phone: 800-366-1251. sablenav=.

I've ordered a room and simple deli food. Let me know if you plan to come so we can adjust the food order. If you are one of the lucky ones who owns one of the many T-shirts that David designed, I encourage you to wear it.

The funeral is going to be held at 10:00 am on Monday, January 2nd at the:

Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home
11800 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, Maryland 20904
(Phone 301-622-2290)

The viewing starts at 5:00 on January 1st so you can stop by the Best Westerns prior to that if you wish. (Thank Julian Chu for the map link below):,+Silver+Spring,+MD&iwl oc=A&hl=en

I'll be driving down from Douglassville to Rockville on Sunday late morning and staying overnight for the funeral - returning on January 2nd in the evening. I'll be happy to pick up anyone south of me who wishes to go -just give me a call on my cell at 610-468-5039.

My heart goes out to Joanne and everyone in David's family, his students. We are all better for having known him.

P.S. If you can make it on Sunday, let me know either by emailing me at CJRhoads< removed email > or calling me at 610-468-5039. Thanks.

Emails I have received

NOTE: More details of David's hospitalization and surgery
will be forthcoming from his wife Joanne but she is
busy with the funeral at this time. I want to thank
Joanne for allowing me to construct this webpage
in David's honor and use his photo's.


-----Original Message-----
From: Barbara Davis
Sent: Wednesday, December 28, 2005 9:02 PM
To: Tom Krapu, PhD
Subject: news

Dear Tom,

I haven't quite figured out how to access the new site yet. So I'm
writing you in hopes that you could post this news.

I regret to announce that our friend, David Chen, has passed away subsequent to some surgery. This is a great shock to all of us. I'd known David over the phone and email for about five years through the magazine, and we finally met last summer face-to-face for the first time when I was out east. He and I and Jackie Urbanovic, the magazine's cartoonist, and some other artists got together for a July 4th barbecue. Before we ate, David pulled out of an envelope the most marvelous hand-drawn colored drawings, and we all were beside ourselves to see such craftsmanship and conceptual brilliance. David was extremely generous with his time, ideas, writing, and especially his artwork. He helped establish a beautiful and professional presence for Taijiquan Journal. I know he leaves behind a legacy of creativity in every area he touch. I'm sure I speak for all of us in extending our condolences to his family, friends, and students during this difficult time.


Barbara Davis
Taijiquan Journal
editor< removed email >

Joanne and David

-----Original Message-----
From: CJ Rhoads
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2005 11:54 AM
To: 'Tom Krapu, PhD'
Subject: Julian Chu's message

Here is the message from Julian Chu with the details.
Dear Friends:

It is with incredible difficulty and with very sad heart that I inform you about David Chen. David was recently diagnosed with a large benign brain tumor for which he underwent a long brain surgery. The surgery for removing the tumor was successful. Unfortunately, a complication set in during his recovery, David passed away in the morning of December 25, 2005. He was only 50 years old and is survived by his wife, Joanne Chang, and two sons Hank and Sean.

David has touched many, many lives; and that we all equally think of this as a tremendous shock. No doubt he is a loss to the greater Tai Chi community, especially to those who are active participants in the Cheng Man-Ching style of Tai-Chi. He is also a loss to the art world. David was a successful illustrator--a small profile of his work can be seen on his websites:

He was a person that was a master and friend at the same time, always available to questions, comments, and reflection on the art and philosophy of Tai Chi. He oftentimes told his friends that the art of Tai Chi has no graduation and no mastery but a joyful journey of learning, refining, and cultivating. The power of his personality, the depth of his commitment, and the scope of his vision will be sorely missed by all of us who shared his passion for making Tai Chi a better tool for health both physically and spiritually.

Joanne has informed me that the funeral will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, January 2nd, at the Hines-Rinaldi Funeral Home, 11800 New Hampshire Avenue, in Silver Spring, MD 20904 (Phone 301-622-2290). Visitation is scheduled from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Monday at the funeral home. A pre-visitation is also permitted from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 1st. Provided below is a map link to the funeral home:,+Silver+Spring,+MD&iwloc=A&hl=en

In lieu of flowers, any donation to David Chen's family can be made at the funeral home for further promotion of Tai Chi in memory of David and also for partial offset of funeral expenses. The check can be made payable to Joanne Chang. For those who will not be able to attend but would like to send their condolences or express their sympathy by mail, please send to the family address at:

Joanne Chang
2211 Newton Drive
Rockville, MD 20850.

Please help disseminate this e-mail message to all David's friends that you know of. On behalf of Joanne Chang and their sons, I would like to thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.

Julian Chu

-----Original Message-----
From: Tom Krapu, PhD [mailto:tom< removed email >]
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 9:37 PM
To: cjrhoads< removed email >
Subject: RE: Tai_chi_chuan_forum post from cjrhoads< removed email >

Since this is in regard to David, feel free to send it directly to me.

Also, if you have any details about his death I would appreciate them. I am completely in shock. If you give more details let me know which if any are public information.



David "with Professor"

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Forum Thread
(Members can add to this thread)


February 2006 Silent Retreat dedicated to David Chen.

Finally, someone has registered for my Silent T'ai Chi Retreat (thank you Vicki) in David's honor. This has inspired me (Tom Krapu) to make this next Silent T'ai Chi Retreat in honor of David Chen. I have room for about three to four more people. Anyone who registers for any of these remaining rooms and mentions David's name will have the 1/6/06 pre-enrollment deadline waived and $50 of their retreat fee will be donated in David Chen's name to the fund that his family has set up. (Note: This the fee for this retreat is very low, so I am basically donating any profits to the fund.)

For more information see:

Various Emails Honoring David

-----Original Message-----
From: David Schneider
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 4:50 PM
To: cj
Subject: Re: Invitation to David Chen Repast

Dear Mr. Rhoads,

We are sorry to hear about your teacher’s passing.

You can take comfort in the thought of how many people Master Chen has touched through his dedication to teaching and his gentle spirit towards others as you so beautifully described.

I am sure that he would be happy to know that you will carry on teaching and showing people what you have learned from him.

We send our humble condolences to you and his students and especially his family.

David Schneider and Ivy Yew

From: Steve Salkof
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 6:06 PM
Subject: FW: [delcotaichi] Friends of David Chen

Taiji Friends,

This is indeed a sad note for our Taiji community. Although I myself had only one session with David, his excellent instruction and professionalism will be forever be embedded in my mind. You see, I, too, know what it is like to loose a beloved friend, teacher and mentor. It wasn’t too long ago that my former Sifu, Mr. Hen-ping Chiang, passed away as well.

David will be sorely missed by his family and all those that had the fortunate opportunity to study with him (and then some...). My thoughts of peace are with him and his family. May his soul reach out to all of us to continue in our studies and be diligent in practice.

Stephen Salkof

-----Original Message-----
From: KenJasmit

Dear CJ.

It was with great sorrow, Ijust read your email that David died. This is a great loss to all who knew him. Unfortunately, being overseas, I am unable to attend the memorial you have arranged, but my thoughts will be there.

Please pay my respects to his familly.

Just a small thought.

Is there some way we could make David's excellent Tai Chi Website live on?

Kenneth Freeman .

-----Original Message-----
From: mark small
Sent: Saturday, December 31, 2005 12:12 AM
To: cj
Subject: Re: Invitation to David Chen Repast


I am sorry to hear of your master's passing, and I appreciate your
from the heart.

We've lost Madam Wang Jurang, and now David Chin. My heart aches, too.

As co-sponsor of the newly begun SACMAT I will suggest that we honor
passing at our event.

Peace and Harmony at the New Year,

Shifu Mark

From: opendoorfitness
Sent: Friday, December 30, 2005 5:52 AM
To: cj
Subject: Re: Invitation to David Chen Repast


Please send my condolences to the family. Madame Wang
Jurong also died on Christmas day, and you may want to
remember her as well.


From: Lee Scheele
Sent: Thursday, December 29, 2005 11:49 PM
To: CJ
Subject: RE: [TCClist] Honoring Our Founder: David Chen Repast, Jan 1st at 4:00 at Best Western, Rockville MD

Hi CJ,

I was quite shaken when I heard the sad news.

Over the years I have remarked to several people that I thought David Chen had perhaps the greatest potential in his cohort group to achieve high level skills in t'ai chi Ch'uan. He had already achieved solid skills yet remained a serious student of the art who integrated the viewpoints of a wide range of talented players and teachers - a diligent practitioner who was always trying to improve. His journey made all the more effective by his caring and sharing attitude. A marvelous evangelist for the art.

I always thought of David as a good friend and wished I could have spent more time with him. He well be sorely missed in our community.

Please share my deepest sympathies with his family and friends.

Best regards,

Lee Scheele

"My memories of David" by Craig Petrun
When I first met David Chen, I only knew him as a Tai Chi Master but now I also call him my friend. Several times in the past I had attended Tai Chi classes, wanting to learn more about Tai Chi, but each time I only attended a few sessions and then I stopped. For some reason, I could not connect with the instructors, they seemed to be knowledgeable but I could not connect with them, it just seemed to be a class to them. But when I went to a class taught by David Chen I immediately felt something was different about his class, I was not sure what but I decided to come back for a second class and just kept on coming. It is hard to express in words the "energy and "presence" that David brought to each one of his classes. I started going to class 2 or 3 times per week. I wanted to know and learn more, I could not explain it; I just wanted to keep learning as much as possible about Tai Chi. Looking back at this part of my life I can now see that the reason was David Chen. David not only taught Tai Chi, he lived his life in a manner that was totally aligned with the principles of Tai Chi and sensing this I knew this is the Tai Chi Master that I wanted to learn from and grow with during my pursuit of Tai Chi. David was a patient, firm, knowledgeable, and caring Tai Chi Master. I would be the first to admit that I do not take criticism very well, but when David corrected my form I never felt defensive, I only felt that he cared about helping get better within my own physical limits. Losing David is a major loss not only to his students but the entire Tai Chi community and for all those who never had a chance to meet him or do Tai Chi with him. But it is my hope that all of us who knew him and learned from him can keep him and his legacy alive by continuing to learn and share Tai Chi with others. While I am sad that I only knew David for a short time, I also feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to get to know and learn not only Tai Chi but about living life to it fullest each and every day. It is not often you meet a person that changes your life, but David was one of those few people I have known that I can say truly changed my life for the best.

Dear CJ

I was shocked and deeply saddened to learn from you of David Chen's passing. I always enjoyed seeing him and pushing with him at the Greater Washington DC Push Hands Gatherings. He had such wonderful, soft, centered, and calm energy.

I would have come to the memorial and to his funeral but I did not know about them until 1 1/2 hours before his funeral, and I had family company from Japan staying with me (and I was out of town until the morning of the 1st).

This is a loss for many of us.

Thank you for emailing me.

Barbara Feldman
Blue Heron Martial and Healing Arts

I only had the fortune to train with David Chen a few times, when he
traveled to Philadelphia to do seminars, but I consider this a great loss.
His spirit and giving nature made his classes uplifting and encouraging even when I was struggling to learn the material. May those who remain carry his message in their hearts for many years.

Wendy Lathrop


What a loss to the tai chi world. My condolences to all of you who knew and studied with David, you all and his family are in my prayers today and always.

Jay Van Schelt

Site Director

Healthtrax Fitness and Wellness

Bristol Hospital Wellness Center

Bristol, Ct 06010


Electrical Contractor Editors letter1.pdf

Finally, we have some unhappy news to report. Those who read our Legal column surely have noticed David Chen’s colorful illustrations. Sadly, he passed away recently at age 50. The illustrations were always insightful and he never went the way of the cliché. The power of his personality, depth of his commitment, and scope of his vision will be missed by all of us at ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR. EC

—Andrea Klee, Editor

Just learned that Master Chen has passed away. His works were the first among my written toutelage about Tai Chi.

Seems that I lost an idol.

Deeply sorry.

My condolescenses to all.

Kagan Kongar, Turkey

A memorial by Dan Mearns:

Contributions from David's Virtual Memorial Service (1/28/06):

List of Speakers:
Ben Lo Teacher 7:08
Tana Farnsworth Friend of David 7:10
T. Julian Chu Teacher 7:12
Craig Petrun Student of David 7:14
Randy Atkins Student of David 7:16
P. T. Ho Student of David 7:18
Barbara Davis Client 7:20
Frances Gander Client 7:23
Dan Mearns Friend of David 7:25
David Walls-Kaufman Friend of David 7:27
Hsien-Yuan Chen Friend of David 7:29
Russ Mason Friend of David 7:31
Lee Scheele Friend of David 7:33
Carol McGonegal Friend of David 7:36
Vicki Mehl Friend of David 7:38
Avi Schneier Friend of David 7:40
Kimberly Cass Friend of David 7:42
Joanne Chang Wife 7:46
Tom Krapu Friend of David 7:49
(recording available at a future date)

The following reflections were read at David's Virtual Memorial Service on 1/28/06:

by Dan Mearns

David cast a very wide embrace of people, t'ai chi styles and methods, and was a friend to everybody he met. Martial arts is often thought of as the pursuit of power. But it's got a lot to do with understanding weakness, in ourselves as well as our opponents. David understood this very well, and he knew more than most just how much we need each other. He was always making connections, getting people together to share what we learn, so we can support each other as we discover just how small and weak and scared and vulnerable we are. Like a true t'ai chi disciple embracing an attack, he embraced the world, took the thunder with the sunshine, and served his art through his service to us.

One of his most powerful lessons is his fearlessness in investing and taking loss. He wasn't afraid to be humble; he had such confidence in his art with no need to draw attention to himself. It's easy enough to say we are willing to invest in loss when we say it in a general or abstract sense. It's another thing to keep it in mind every moment we are in contact with an opponent. David set a high standard and I will continue to learn from his example.

He was someone who followed his heart. When I picture him I always see him smiling and laughing, with a kind of sparkle in his eyes like a child's wonder in seeing the world for the first time, always inquisitive and joyful. And that joy is contagious; we love being around people like that. And I think, how can we do that? Well, I believe following your own heart is the best way for anyone to spread the most joy that we can in the world, whether it's in t'ai chi or anything else, whatever it is that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning and get to work, even if it's hard to find out exactly what that is. And David is a great example of that kind of life and work, pressing ahead despite the uncertainty and risk, taking the losses, persisting and persevering, and ultimately flourishing because he loved us and because he was not afraid.

With all his tenderness and humility it's easy to overlook how aggressive he was in his pursuits. And now, while I feel weakened by the loss, I can see him prodding me, smiling and nodding and waving me off, telling me to "go on, go do it, go!" And I see that as part of the challenge that he's set before us: that we have to work harder and help each other more. I think that's what he would expect us to do.

David cast a very wide net and captured us with his great heart. He gave and gave and it seems like he's still giving. We will honor him best by continuing his work, to keep giving each other what he was always giving us.

by Lee Scheele

Eulogy for David Chen - January 28th, 2006

I'm Lee Scheele, a t'ai chi classmate of David's, and a friend through the t'ai chi community that David was such an important part of. Although we lived on opposite coasts, over 2,600 miles apart, I knew my younger kung fu brother was only an Internet post away or, maybe, at the next workshop or tournament I would attend. I always looked forward to our next meeting.

David's considerable skills in the art of t'ai chi ch'uan were, of course, apparent to any of those who can judge such things - but even more impressive to me was his dedication to continuous improvement. Through diligent study, perseverance in his personal practice, and careful reflection on what he learned from a broad range of sources, David just kept getting better and better every time we met.

When I would see him at tournaments David was a graceful Form competitor. More importantly, though, he one of the few top competitors whose Form you could see was clearly driven by martial functionality... and, unlike most top Form competitors, David was also a formidable push hands competitor. I never told him this, but I've told a few others through the years - David was one of the few up and coming t'ai chi players I've met who I thought had what it takes for really great accomplishment in the art. Although what he had accomplished in t'ai chi was already impressive, David was on a path to much greater accomplishment. Accomplishment made possible by his unusual combination of natural talent, access to excellent teachers, and willingness to do the hard work of learning.

Thinking of David brings back fond memories of his generous spirit - like the night before a long ago push hands competition. As we talked and played it had become clear that I didn't train for competition and that many (if not most) of the techniques I regularly use in free play would be illegal under the tournament rules. Realizing how clueless I was, David patiently demonstrated the rules we'd face the next day and explained how to adjust to the different strategy they required. It was all the more generous because David knew we'd probably compete with each other on the tournament floor.

Like others The First Cheng Man Ching European Forum in Perigueux, France a few years ago was a time that evokes many special memories of David. Time we spent in the courtyard of the old city... more discussion in their room with me subjecting poor Joanne to nuanced corrections the night prior to her Form competition (a competition in which, I might add, she did a beautiful job despite my interference)... watching David's own championship performance there in Perigueux... having David execute a great throw on me during our push hands bout... and, maybe my all-time favorite t'ai chi picture (perhaps you've seen it on David's Web site) - Avi Schneier, David, and me side-by-side in Single Whip posture; three sizes of bears all wearing their medals.

And now, tomorrow begins a new year in the Chinese calendar. The first year without my classmate and friend, David Chen.

My deepest sympathies are with Joanne and the family. I hope it is some small comfort knowing that many lives were enriched and inspired by knowing David - and his memory will be honored.

Thank you for letting me say a few words in an effort to convey the great respect I have for David's life and accomplishment. I feel fortunate to have known him.

by Vicki Mehl

In Memory of David Chen 1955 – 12/25/2005

I met David in the summer of 1997 when I attended my first camp with Ben Lo in Frost Valley, New York. I had been studying tai chi for only 2 ½ years at that point but I had heard so much about Ben, and I already knew that tai chi was very important to me. I felt ready. Meeting Ben and this community – the Cheng Man Ching community, was like finding home. Liam Comerford said to me, “I hope you feel adopted.” And I did. And if Ben was father/husband/Pope to that group, David Chen, to me, was a favorite big brother. We played and laughed a lot together. We grinned through streams of sweat. I marveled at his amazing, ever-changing wardrobe of beautiful tai chi T-shirts. With a Westerner’s unpracticed eye (or maybe Chinese DNA is just very strong!) I thought David was the same age as my oldest son, and so unabashedly teased him about how gorgeous he was. I told him it was unfair, he was ruining the group pictures because he was making the rest of us look so bad. Actually, he was making us look better. Which is what he always did. He helped us all become better – better tai chi students; better people.

Knowing David was like an awakening. An awakening to new possibilities of existence, a better way to be. Pushing with David, one did not encounter ego; one only encountered spirit – generous, joyous, loving spirit. He showed how to let go of ego and still be fully one’s own self. A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, recently said to me, “To be in the presence of an egoless person, that is healing in and of itself.” I said immediately, “That’s what David was like! That is what it was like to be with him.” It was healing. Whether you thought you needed healing or not, one experienced healing, learning, just by being with him. Through David, I found insights - into the Confucian world, into a greater understanding of what “cultivating virtue” truly means, and saw, more than ever, the beauty in Chinese culture. Reflecting on David, and his way of being in the world, I have found insights into myself. He did this for anyone who wanted to learn.

I keep thinking of his piece – the man looking through the open “window” of the yin-yang center spot, to see the universe on the other side. I think of Julian Chu’s words that he shared with us at the funeral – David told him, “My one dream is that some day, I will be able to let go of everything, attend a class of one of my students, and relearn tai chi.” Christmas morning, David went to physical therapy to continue on his path to healing. I keep wondering if, in his pure, complete trust in tai chi and virtuous obedience, he did what he had been taught to do. He relaxed. At a time when, perhaps, it would have been more prudent to “hold tightly,” he relaxed completely. He let go of everything and slipped through that open window to the beauty of the universe on the other side. I know it exists. I felt it when my own husband died. It is limitless Love. It is a love that I felt David made manifest in his life - that he shared first and foremost with Joanne and through tai chi, with the rest of us. If we are to honor him, it will be in our efforts to carry that love forward into the world.

Vicki Mehl

by Tom Krapu

Paraphrased: "David was the kind of person who you learned the most from in push hands. It was always time well spent. Time toward your development that was never wasted. Life is so short, and t'ai chi development cannot be rushed, so every moment spent in your development is precious. I always felt that with David, my time was well spent, no time was wasted. The paradox: It never felt rushed. He was one who was fully present, open to mutual learning, and grounded in principled practice. He lived the spirit of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.

Tom Krapu then read from contributions that David made the the T'ai Chi Ch'uan Forum (link). David was a prolific contributor. Two of his early contributions follow:

Wed, 11 Apr 2001

Hi, I have learned that in the western culture an error is an error, just correct it and its done, and there should be only one correct way.

In the Eastern culture, an error is a learning lesson of correctness, and one correction may lead us to another error, since there isn’t a “perfect” Taiji practice, we are all in the process of making errors and correction, over and over until the last day. In general, Chinese value the experiences from making errors as well as the knowledge of being correctness.

I believe in emptying first, let the experience fill.

Best regards,

David Chen


Mon, 29 Jan 2001

A late student of the Professor asked him why after 40 years of practicing he still made mistakes and not reaching the immortality?

Professor Cheng replied as: I practice Tai Chi for becoming a better person, not for becoming a Buddha.

This statement became my central belief of studying Professor's Tai Chi Chuan. Thus, I have been telling my students that I do Tai Chi for becoming a better "me", not for becoming a grandmaster, not for becoming an invincible, and certainly not for (Tom choking up at this point) becoming a better-than-you.

David Chen

by Lon Holland

I have been a student in David's school for about seven years. I remember first seeing David perform at the Taste of China event. To watch him perform the Cheng Man Ch'ing Tai Chi Ch'uan form, or the associated sword form, was a truly amazing spectacle. This was a man who had found the self-control, fine motor skills, concentration, and internal calmness to perfect these challenging forms and develop from them an internal softness and self-awareness.
David's mind favored order. He loved the reward that he found in perfecting his sword form. He was not one to accomplish a task to an average level and then be satisfied. For his students he was a living example of the greater potentials of Taiji. Guidance during class often came with a psychic connection. His comments and corrections were almost frightening in their accuracy about the student's ego or the tensions they were bringing to class from their day at work.
David's push was soft and sensitive, like his personality. He was determined to be humble. In a class with students of various levels, he would spend the most time with those receiving their first impressions of Taiji. To his advanced students, he taught that the control of Yi and the development of neijing were the ultimate goal.
As a student and friend of David's for many years, I miss him every day that I practice, but I also continue to be strengthened by his example. I'd like to say thank you David, and thank you Joanne for opening your hearts and bringing us into your close taiji family.

- Lon Holland

At the historical monastery in Ossendrecht, Holland

We Love you David, and you will always be in our Memories

(314) 422-7250

Thank you for your interest.