Tai Chi Balance – God First, Then Tai Chi

By on 07/20/2015

Tai Chi Balance

These days, Master Hei Takarabe has a daily routine that looks something like this:  he rises at 4:30 am, spends 30 min in quiet meditation, then begins a 90 min tai chi practice at a local fitness club to awaken, energize and harmonize his mind, body and spirit for the day.   According to the tai chi master, this practice relaxes your mind, body and soul, by working on your internal energy through slow and controlled hand movements.
He discovered tai chi, an internal Chinese martial art, while serving as a minister of the Monterey’s El Estrero Presbyterian church, but for this former Monterey CA Pastor, life has not always been so balanced and peaceful.

You see, Hei Takarabe was born in Japan in 1938.  Most of Hei’s life was spent in uncertainties as they lived as refugees at the mercy of Chinese and Russian soldiers.  At the young age of 8, his family moved back to Japan, with the help of the United Nations.  For their daily food, they used to take a train-ride to the country side where food and vegetables were cheaper compared to the city.  At that time, this was illegal and they risked being arrested.

hei t.After graduating with a high school education, Takarabe began his college education with the help of a sponsorship from Pasadena.  After receiving his degree at UCLA, he applied for medical school.  Originally, he aspired to be a medical professional when studying at Pasadena City College.  However, he was more interested in Presbyterian seminaries mainly due to their theology, history and psychology teachings.

Hei met his wife, a registered nurse, at Strathmore in California while preaching and working as an intern.  Soon after becoming ordained and graduating seminary, he was invited to Sacramento at the Parkview Presbyterian Church, where he ministered for 17 years.  Due to his unique Japanese-American heritage, he attracted a congregation the same and he was able to offer his sermons in both English and Japanese.

In 1982, he moved to Monterey with his wife and two children.  This is where he first encountered tai chi during a Presbyterian retreat three years later.  The founders of these ancient Chinese martial art believed that there exists a universal force that can be harnessed to obtain health benefits.  Hei enjoyed tai chi so much that for  the next 10 years, he ventured into the practice on his own before finally finding  a master to teach him.   His master, Dr. Paul Lam  trained him at Asilomar in a 6-day workshop with a tuition of  $650.

Since then, Hei has attended Dr. Lam’s workshops learning more tai chi techniques and applications. Among the main tai chi techniques that he has learnt are  the combined form 42, Sun 73, Yang 40, Chen 36 as well as Yang 24.  In addition, in 2011, he seated Tai Chi for Arthritis Fall Prevention as well as Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA).  Hei has also since been certified for  TCA and Tai Chi for Diabetes.

Besides attending Dr. Lam’s workshops, Master Tei now also teaches tai Chi to seniors at the Seaside Community Center in Oldemyer Center every Tuesdays and Thursdays.



I originally found this article in the Monterey Herald




One Comment

  1. kcmunro

    10/17/2015 at 9:30 pm

    I’ve never had reason to ask who I am and why am I here. I found through Tai Chi my balance, inner peace, and meaning. It has always brought me to a high level.

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