Tai Chi coming to Winters

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An opportunity to learn Tai Chi has arrived in Winters. Along with a lifetime of experience, resident Alex Antipa is ready to coach those willing and ready to learn this martial art and more.

Comprised of swift, flowing movements, Tai Chi is a meditative practice that synchronizes mind and body. It’s also an exercise that helps one in the fight against stress.

“It’s not funny dances that people do in the park. My style and the way I was taught also happens to be on the health and wellness side,” Antipa explained. “I’m in the later phase of my career, and it has been my intent to move into health and wellness. But it is still a martial art.”

Antipa opened a martial arts school in Davis back in the 90s. From there, he transitioned the UC Davis program to the Olympic style of Taekwondo and won a national championship. It wasn’t until 2000 that he began studying Tai Chi and specializing in the Guang Ping style under his instructor and mentor Henry Look.

Life isn’t without its own punches, and Antipa was recently let go from his PE teaching position at UC Davis. Refusing to stay down, this martial artist used this as a catalyst to begin this new enterprise.

“It’s for everybody. I want to teach recreational people as well as the older crowd. I also want to tell a high school student that I can make them into a martial artist,” Antipa said.

Antipa explained the layout and style of his classes.

“It’s a fitness class in context of martial arts. You’ll learn how to stretch, prepare yourself for a physical endeavor, then learn Tai Chi. I also want it to be fun and relaxing through my teaching style,” Antipa said.

Antipa emphasized that he wants his students to want to be there and succeed, not to be pushed. With a younger class, however, the martial artist admitted he’d want to push them a little.

“That’s the way my master taught us,” Antipa said. “He was young and rough around the edges and modernized through his experiences and studying motor learning. I bring an academic side to the whole thing. I’m not just a Tai Chi guy.”

Antipa — who prefers to be called ‘coach’ over ‘sensei’ or ‘master’ — holds his martial arts classes outdoors at his ranch atop a traditional martial arts training surface of rolled granite. He also highlighted the social aspect of his class.

“Part of this is response to the pandemic and need. Everybody needs to get out and look for normalcy and rebuild their social interactions,” Antipa said. “What I’m charging for class is hilariously small because I don’t like the motivation of paying rent being tied to my instructional purpose. I don’t want to teach for rent, I want to teach for the right reason.”

For more information on the new martial arts program, email Antipa at wintersgpytai chi@gmail.com.

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