Dr. Rodney T. Hard

Rodney T. Hard in St. Louis, Missouri

                          Tai Chi 

By:  Dr. Rodney T. Hard 

With 50 years of various martial arts under my belt including 9 years of studying in the orient, I still didn’t think  much of Tai Chi.  It looked like a dance for old people to practice in the parks.  Could they really fight?  It didn’t look like any kind of fighting art I had ever learned. 

Then I met Paul Olivas.  We had both been invited to teach seminars at the Gathering of the Eagles to a bunch of Kenpo black belts from around the world.  He had a booth across from me and was selling tapes on Tai Chi.  

I looked in on one of his classes where he was teaching application of Tai Chi in fight situations. 

I said to myself, “Wow!  He moves pretty fast for an old man.”  In fact, he moves very fast. 

I befriended him and have since kept in touch with him.  We exchange ideas and teach each other techniques and concepts when we get together.  I found that his chi gung (internal energy) is also awesome. 

I took several Tai Chi lessons from him but was discouraged to realize it would take me years and thousands of hours of training and practice to begin to learn that art adequately.  I am afraid that I don't have the time or temperament for it. 

Grand Master Earl Portnoy in Plano, Texas is also a master of Tai Chi.  Originally, I taught him Kenpo, Hapkido, and Soo Hwa Kung Fu.  He was my best student ever and went on to become Grand Master of his own system.  He has far surpassed me in his knowledge and abilities in the Chinese Martial arts. 

Grand Master Portnoy also tried with little success to teach me some Tai Chi.  I learned a few moves and did incorporate some of the concepts, stances, movements, training techniques, and power into my system. 

I have mastered versions of (Chi Sao) sticky hands and pushing hands, but I have a lot to learn.  These techniques and many other skills within the Tai Chi systems should be an integral part of any well rounded martial artist's repertoire. 

Rodney Hard and Earl Portnoy in Salem, Indiana after a day of training together and exchanging ideas.

Paul Olivas, Rodney Hard, and David Voyles enjoying a Chinese meal at China Inn Restaurant after a morning of training.