About Michael Giles

Michael on a Taichi Retreat, Stumbled on an Abandoned Japanese Monastery Near Chichibu

I began studying martial arts in 1989 when I was 12 and by the time I was 25 I had earned 2nd degree black-belts in both Okinawan Karate and Bujinkan Taijutsu.  It wasn’t until I was trying to heal from training-related injuries and exhaustion that I began to seriously study the internal Chinese martial arts in Tokyo in 2003.

I took up studies in Guang-Ping Yang Taiji and related standing and stretching with Dan Harrington at this time, and this set of exercises has remained the nucleus of my training.  I have also trained in Chen Taiji, Xingyi and push-hands in Beijing, China.

I believe that the term “martial art” can include a very wide range of purposes and experiences, and they are all valid pursuits. Whether the focus is primarily on self-protection scenarios like Krav Maga, the competitive combat of Muay Thai and Brazilian Jujutsu, the reverent refinement of Aikido or Karate, the mysterious and counter-intuitive strategies of the old Japanese arts or the energetic expansion and discovery in Classical Chinese internal arts like Tai Chimartial arts are all good sources of cultivation and potential character development when they are pursued intelligently.  The best reason to choose one art over another is that you are clear on what you want to experience and develop.

Kuangping Tai Chi Chuan Push from "Grasp the Bird's Tail"It took me about 20 years of practice to realize that what I enjoy most about martial arts is a feeling of quietly strong energy and the experience of growing closer to understand the energetic flow of nature in a personal and subtle way. It has been my experience that the deeply transformative meditation of classical Tai Chi and Zhan Zhuang are the most direct paths to such an experience.  While the Guangpingyang Taiji form will equip you with fighting skills, the fighter who wants to compete in Mixed Martial Arts tournaments will more likely get what he wants by pursuing intense amounts of boxing and wrestling.

The fighting qualities developed through Guangpingyang Taiji arise quite slowly from within.  To name a few, these can include intense power, an immovable root, a sensitive perception of balance and a vastly calm awareness.  As you pursue your practice, your karma may be cleansed and your attitude may be calmed in ways that reduce the chances of having to fight.  As your health is continually improved, you are naturally better protected from a great deal of the suffering that many people in our world face everyday.

Practicing and teaching these arts is one of my primary daily pursuits. I am also completing my Master’s Degree in Social Work and serving as a public affairs soldier in the National Guard.

You are welcome to reach out to me for Tai Chi instruction or to simply enjoy a cup of tea or coffee with some conversation or meditation.  I’m a big fan of both tea and coffee.

Taichi classes are ongoing in both North and South Austin. Click here for more information or call me at 512-791-3296.