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Meet Jamie Alonge

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Alonge.

Jamie, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I discovered Tai Chi when I met Master Christophe Clarke in Denver, Colorado circa 1996. I had been searching for a spiritual martial arts practice and was considering Aikido or Tai Chi, both known to be “internal” martial arts. I was a young entrepreneur with a successful travel agency, but was lacking any form of spirituality and felt ungrounded and empty inside. Master Clarke walked into my office one day and could not believe that this 21-year-old was the owner of his own business. He told me that I was a “Champion,” and said that he would teach me the art of Tai Chi Chuan, which translates to, “Grand Ultimate Fist.”

For the next three years, I trained diligently under Master Clarke who is a World Champion kung fu fighter and motivational speaker. Soon, I began leading his Tai Chi classes, getting both the benefits of learning while instructing. In 1999, I lived up to his deeming me a champion by winning 2 gold medals in the Kansas City Midwest Tai Chi Tournament, competing in Form and Push Hands categories.

As I eventually closed my business and moved back home to Los Angeles, I continued to practice my Tai Chi. I saw how with continued solo practice, my flow evolved even without the supervision of a teacher because I had a solid foundation of the 9 principles of Tai Chi.

Years later as I passed age 40, I incurred a few random injuries at work including two broken toes, wrist pain, very stiff knees, and lower back. I always thought that Qigong would be something that I would get into when I was much older. However, I realized that I had to learn this energy work now to naturally manage my pain. I began learning many Qigong forms including the classic, 8 Pieces of Brocade and Heaven Nature Gong.

Shortly after I began seeing improvements with my pain, I was asked to teach Tai Chi at Belmont Village, a Senior Assisted living facility in Westwood. The average age of the participants was 80-90 years old with many health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and being in a wheelchair. Seeing one man instantly going from uncontrollable shaking of his arms to a smooth and steady motion when starting his Tai Chi, was a moment I will never forget.

In 2019, I finally realized that my love of Tai Chi and helping people should be my full-time mission. I regularly visit Master Clarke in Denver and he travels to L.A., continuing my training. In May 2019, I demonstrated at the annual Zhang San Feng Asian Cultural Arts Festival in Denver, and once again received a gold medal for Yang Style 13 Posture Form. I was also recognized by Master Clarke as an official Sifu (teacher), and certified as an Associate Tai Chi Instructor by Tai Chi Healthways.

I am currently working with the HealthRIGHT360 M.I.S.T. Program in Los Angeles as a Therapeutic Group Provider for men with mental illness. This amazing program serves defendants in Los Angeles that are facing misdemeanor charges but found to be incompetent to stand trial. The goal of MIST is to have these individuals treated in the community, and once they are restored to competency they can then continue to attend court dates and find independent housing. I have never done more rewarding work in my entire life. The feeling of empowering these men with tools that can last a lifetime is indescribable and hits close to home, as my little brother has schizophrenia.

What else should we know? What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I teach Tai Chi because it has truly made a difference in my life on the spiritual, mental and physical levels like it claims to do. Physically, my balance, flexibility and overall body coordination has skyrocketed. The stiffness and pain throughout my body is instantly lowered after any practice session. Mentally: my stress and anxiety has drastically lowered while compassion, compromise and self-control has increased. Spiritually, Tai Chi is known to follow nature’s way, the natural way. I feel much more in touch with the planet, finding balance and my mission in what appears to be a wild world. Tai Chi teaches how to yield but not break, how to soften yet possess the strength and how to adapt and act appropriately in all situations. I call it, “Introducing your body back to your soul,” because often we just react instead of coming from a place of calmness and rootedness. As you practice Tai Chi, you develop and cultivate that place within your soul, naturally. It is said that the soul directs the mind and the mind directs the body. Tai Chi asks the practitioner to engage in all three levels to really gain the benefits. It’s also important to note that it is not just a “Dance,” for health. It is an ancient Chinese martial art with fighting applications. My teacher always says, “If you get your butt kicked, it is bad health.” So, I feel that it’s important to teach the applications of Tai Chi as well. How can you really practice an art form if you don’t know it’s meaning?

What do you think it takes to be successful as a martial artist?
As a martial artist, especially with Tai Chi, you are constantly refining your skills and increasing your chi production. Success would include building healthy habits such as practicing daily and having a deep understanding of the principles of Tai Chi. One of the mantras that we preach is, “Pain is temporary.” Understanding this message is crucial for training. You must push past boundaries and usually, it involves pushing through pain. We train hard, sometimes inflicting pain upon ourselves so that no matter what the world or another person inflicts upon us, it is nothing compared to the temporary pain we have already put upon ourselves.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
Outdoor classes are forming now in the North East L.A community that I live: Glassell Park, Highland Park and Eagle Rock.

I am available for private lessons where you are welcome to bring a few friends or family members. I am beginning to book workshops at various meditative style venues in L.A. Next, I would like to be involved with independent and sober living homes, wellness/yoga retreats, corporate events and after school activities for kids.

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