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From Balancing Books to Balancing Bodies

NORTH SALEM, N.Y. - Tai Chi, sometimes defined as an “internal Chinese martial art,” has been around for 3,000 years and it is about to arrive in Purdys. It is the slow motion routine you see Chinese people doing on hillsides and is often recommended for equestrians and for people with balance issues.

David Cunniff, an 18-year practitioner of the healing art, will be hosting the grand opening of his new In Balance Tai Chi Studio at 509 Route 22 in Purdys on Sunday, December 4, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cunniff describes Tai Chi as a means of stress management. “Chi equals life,” he said, “and life equals stress. If you don’t have any stress you’re simply not alive.”

As the minutes pass, the breathing skills and body movements of Tai Chi combine, and “it turns into a nice long dance.” Although Tai Chi was originally based on self defense, it is more like a stable form of meditation. “All you need is a small square of space and your breath.”

Cunniff, known as Sifu David (teacher David) in the studio, embarks on a Tai Chi demonstration with the explanation, “Imagine you are a tree. Grab the Earth with your feet. Set your weight on your heels and reach into the earth with your toes, like roots. There is a bubbling well at your heels. Gather the energy from the well into your roots and let it travel upwards.”

Cunniff graduated in 1979 from St. Bonaventure University with a finance degree and embarked on a career as an accountant. In 1993, he was diagnosed with diabetes, so he took up Kung Fu to get more exercise. Due to a serious back injury two years later, he switched to Tai Chi because it was more gentle. His back healed itself and Tai Chi became a way of life.

These days he still dabbles in debits and assets for a few clients, but his passion is the “internal accounting system.”

“The human body can heal itself,” he said. “We can create physical, mental and spiritual health from the inside out.”

A free introductory class is available to anyone interested and a 50% grand opening discount is offered for the first month. Both class sessions and private lessons are available.

Click here for more video footage of the newbie's session with Sifu Dave.

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