What People Say About Taking T'ai-Chi
Austin, TX (for now)
Gene is a patient and effective teacher with an enduring passion for T'ai-Chi. His Yang-lineage form is rooted in martial principles but his focus is on health and balance. Gene always returns to fundamentals, allowing his students to create a practice to be sustained for a lifetime. In addition, he remodels his studio every season.
Gene Burnett is the most attentive and clear teacher I have ever encountered in many forms of martial arts and other physical training forms over the years. I have suffered a series of knee injuries in the past and working with Gene has brought back a level of functioning I did not think possible. It is a continuing exploration and I am very grateful for my good luck in finding Gene to teach me this endlessly deep practice.
I have been taking T'ai Chi lessons from Gene for a year and a half and can truly say it is a highlight of each week. I am a slower paced learner and with Gene's patience and light sense of humor, I am totally at ease. I've studied T'ai Chi in the past, and find this form and method of teaching better integrated. It's been really helpful to learn the three levels (Bone, Muscle, and Energy). It's also an incredibly beautiful setting under the shelter of the Lithia Park band shell. I've so much enjoyed watching the seasons change and having that as a part of our practice.
Individual lessons, growing at your own pace, adapted to your needs, your body, your learning style, with a masterful T'ai-Chi teacher. What a gift and a luxury we have in Ashland to be able to study T'ai-Chi with Gene.
Professional Paraglider Pilot and Teacher
What I like about Gene's teaching style is that he not only allows each student to go at his or her own pace, he is great at knowing exactly what that student needs to work on. Also, this is his life work, not just a hobby. It is rare to find someone so dedicated to what they do, and because of that Gene brings something special to his teaching practice.
Public Speaker & Speaker Trainer
Fort Collins, CO
Gene has a dynamic teaching style which allows me to make my own discoveries in Tai Chi. Without judgement, he receives my curiosities and explores them via movement, metaphor and explanation. It's obvious that Gene trusts his creative intuition, as he continually comes up with new ways to convey the teachings that resonate with me and are accessible to me. The outdoor one- on-one lessons, Gene's down-to-earth style (he is far from some esoteric untouchable), and his poetic command of Tai-Chi have made a huge impact on how I see things, how I move, and even how I stand when doing dishes with a wailing baby. Every time I walk away from the park after a lesson with Gene, I feel better than when I arrived.
Gene is a wise mentor and a skilled instructor. He is gifted with intelligence, warmth, humility, and a clever sense of humor. With his guidance and endless patience, I've been able to overcome many obstacles in my learning process; as a result I feel more balanced, flexible, and overall more at ease with my body. Thank you Gene!
Licensed Professional Counselor
For six decades, I was quite relaxed about being a bit spacey in space. As I lost my balance or tripped, I would say, "I'm just clumsy." At the beginning of my seventh decade, however, it felt like it was time to become a bit more grounded...
Gene's amazing patience in teaching the short form, which I am still learning after two years, led to a noticable lessening of trips and falls. He's also the only person I look forward to meeting in the heat, the rain or the snow on a weekly basis. His generous heart and great laugh enliven our town park.
Lama Yeshe Parke
Kagyu Sukha Chöling Buddhist Meditation Center
I feel fortunate to be nearly two years practicing Tai Chi with Gene
Burnett. His grounding in the physical and spiritually therapeutic
nature of the art as well as his embodiment of the martial
principals and applications have been of significant value to me in my own understanding and development. Gene's ability to articulate and demonstrate the purpose and practical importance of Tai Chi's internal relationships is a real asset to any serious student, beginning or experienced. His sense of humor and easy going style preserve the light-hearted spirit of the tradition. Prior to meeting Gene I would often travel to the San Francisco Bay area in order to study with teachers who embodied true soft power, I am grateful to have found this quality here in Southern Oregon.
Grants Pass, OR
1. Is very good at T'ai-Chi.
2. Is very good at teaching T'ai-Chi.
3. Is willing and able to teach you in a thorough manner.
Gene fulfills all three of these requirements. And this is where private lessons are far superior to group lessons. An instructor teaching groups may have qualities one and two; however, in a group setting you will get relatively few individual corrections per class. Learning T'ai-Chi involves thousands of detailed corrections and adjustments over an extended period of time. In his private lessons Gene gives these corrections and adjustments continually. In a group class you will likely spend much time trying to imitate the teacher, but without the continual feedback that is so crucial to experiencing T'ai-Chi at a deep level.
Flexible scheduling is another attractive aspect of studying with Gene. I live 80 miles away in Mount Shasta, and it is easy for us to find mutually agreeable lesson times that fit around my work schedule and the vagaries of weather.
Mount Shasta, CA
The private lessons allow me to focus on the form rather than all the social elements that come with group classes. Gene makes the forms come alive with stories and images about each movement.
Cameron McCoin. M.D.
The Cottage Walk-in Medical
I moved to Ashland from the San Francisco bay area, where I had the opportunity to study with a number of excellent internal martial arts teachers. I didn't expect to find a teacher with the qualities and skills I was looking for in a small town like Ashland. It was a pleasant surprise to find Gene.
Gene recognizes and plays in the interface between the health aspects of Tai-Chi and its martial application. He is able to embody and teach many of the qualities that Tai-Chi and other internal arts have to offer. I would recommend study with him to students of martial arts, those on a meditative or spiritual path and those looking to improve and/or maintain good health.
He also has an excellent set of Tai-Chi partner forms, including cane, sword and open hand forms, plus a little Hsing-I to dabble in.
Gene is one of the most patient and generous instructors I’ve experienced practicing T'ai-Chi. I began T'ai-Chi with Gene in 1988, and with his training I gained a strong foundation of T'ai-Chi movement and form. I would highly recommend anyone beginning T'ai-Chi to train with Gene. He’s one of the best and is highly knowledgeable and devoted to the art.
Psychotherapist, Personal Trainer, T'ai-Chi Teacher
Full Disclosure: Gene works for us (fuller disclosure: he doesn't actually work for us, but he does inspire us) and he's our guru. That said, we think it is an utterly objective point of fact to say that Gene's music is a bit like the kiss-just-missed that you can't get it out of your head mixed with the particular way that hanging down brambly branch catches something in your throat It's slightly more objective to say that he somehow tricks humor into marrying pathos, divorces them and then magically reunites them as best friends. But the simple truth is that Gene's music is down-funky-home-human, made from the heart and for the heart. Gene plays guitar. We listen, shout, smile, lean back and sad-happily feel.
Ashland Can Never Go Back
Makers of custom-made non-virtual virtual community games
T'ai-Chi and Art. Merging Body, Spirit and Paint.
For me, the practice of T'ai-Chi has led to a sense of wings and infinite possibilities. It is a slow challenging process of learning, coordinating and releasing mind-body energy through a series of flowing yet precise movements. I am, I can try and yes most often now I can do it, from the heart, in my own older body way.
After a 32 year teaching career at Southern Oregon University, the best gift I gave myself in retirement was to become a serious student again and to trust a teacher. Gene Burnett is my patient trusted journey guide. I appreciate his sensitivity in a one to one teaching and learning process. This experience contributes to my sense of joy, self-confidence, and lens of universal energy and connections.
T'ai-Chi practice and principles complement my ongoing creative work with canvas, paint, and a humanitarian organization-Heifer International (www.heifer.org). The focus at HI is sustainable solutions to world hunger, poverty, and the environment. Inspired by HI tours to project sites in Rwanda, Uganda, Ecuador, Peru, Poland, Cameroon and Vietnam, the drawings I make at each location later evolve as symbolic paintings in my Ashland studio. This has resulted in Dreaming Cows, a circulating art exhibit that has now appeared at the United Nations and many art centers. T'ai-Chi and art bring challenge and balance to all areas of my life.
Professor of Art Emeritus, Southern Oregon University
As a practitioner of acupuncture and Chinese medicine, I help a lot
of people with sports injuries, back pain, chronic fatigue, and other
stress-related disorders. For my patients who show a willingness
to take responsibility for their full recovery and ongoing well-
being, I recommend practicing T'ai-Chi in the park with Gene.
Gene’s lessons are easy to follow and the material always feels
fresh. Gene possesses a seemingly endless storehouse of gems
that continue to deepen my practice and to keep my inquiry into
T'ai-Chi alive. Gene is one of those individuals who not only
possesses a mastery of his art, but also has a talent for effectively
teaching what he knows.
I'd wanted to take T'ai-Chi for a long time—one of those things I kept putting off until some other year—when I found Gene's flyer on some bulletin board downtown. Something about the way he explained his approach to T'ai-chi made it seem as though he might teach the way I had to learn—very slowly, very patiently, with a lot of tolerance for eccentricity. For the first 6 months, all I did was stand. I didn't want to learn any movement—just how to stand. Gene shrugged, bemused, and went along with it. At some point I decided to learn the easy form, and spent the next 5 (?) years on it. I have thoroughly enjoyed it, and the benefits it has brought to my life--as well as the unique experience of having a teacher as flexible (in every way) and talented as Gene. Highly recommended!
As an avid climber I really value the knowledge I have gained from Gene's instruction. T'ai-Chi has helped with balance, relaxation, stretching, and overall well being, not just with climbing but with life. I've been studying with Gene off and on for about four years and appreciate how I can take what I've learned wherever I go and benefit from it. There is no end to what you can learn and gain from T'ai-Chi.
Nationally Ranked Competitive Climber
One of the most valued lessons I have received from Gene is to "Invest in Loss." I can stop defending myself from the pain of making a mistake, or being a beginner or not knowing how to do something. Instead I value those mistakes, because I know that my learning occurs when I do too much, too little or not right. Gene embodies this lesson by showing endless patience with his students, and a wonderful sense of humor. It's easy to be Gene's student, and I can learn from my mistakes and grow at my own
When I moved to Ashland from Seattle two years ago, one of my concerns was that I would no longer have access to quality T'ai-Chi instruction, especially in the less common branches of the art, such as weapons forms. Fortunately, I needn't have worried. Gene is an extremely capable teacher who combines a rare grasp of fundamental principles with a thorough knowledge of the Symmetrical Yang style forms and their applications. I've worked with him in private lessons and group classes, and found myself challenged as well as helped in both settings. I would recommend him unequivocally to anyone who is serious about mastering T'ai- Chi.
John Michael Greer
Training with Gene is great. The one on one lessons allow you to go at your own pace and receive individualized feedback. Learning T'ai-Chi in Lithia Park's beautiful setting, within earshot of Ashland Creek, is an amazing experience.
Owner/Operator Cozmic Pizza
Gene is an excellent and patient smiling teacher. One aspect of his teaching style I find extremely helpful and which gives me confidence in the quality of my T'ai-Chi is the emphasis placed on proper and safe body alignments. Here, his experience with Iyengar yoga comes through in his concern for healthful positioning of the joints when practicing T'ai-Chi, especially the knees. I find the constant use of metaphors as a teaching aid very helpful in opening my perspectives to more thorough understanding of my body in movement. His patience and willingness to teach in a very personalized way, working at a pace that matches my progress is also quite supportive of my practice.
Gene Burnett is a talented musician and Tʼai Chi Sifu in Ashland, Oregon he trained for many years with Sifu Andy Dale and was close to Sifu David Harris. I have known Gene for twenty years and have always been touched by his insight into whatʼs behind the obvious and seeing essence in the mundane. "Tʼai Chi for Geniuses" is a refreshing book on the practice of the Great Ultimate Boxing that awakens your inner genius and brings your creative mind into the process to make interesting the parts of the practice of anything that we would normally like to just skip over and get to the good stuff. By linking your genius to the building blocks, they become alive and a joy, to practice and brings beauty to the rest of our days. Sifu Burnett is assuring and takes the fear out of learning something new and does not insult, rather attaches your intelligence.
Thank You Gene for a tremendous book, I enjoy reading and sections of mine every day.
Martial Arts Instructor
Walla Walla, WA
I never realized how deeply Gene embodied the spirit of T'ai-Chi until I began studying with Wolfe Lowenthal. The principles so dear to Wolfe, are the ones I experienced in Gene for many years. Not using more than 4 ounces of strength, treating others as fellow students with a cheerfulness and consideration of where they are at with things, never pursuing anything with a grasping mind (it recedes further and further away as it is approached). And I think the principle that I have heard the most often repeated: "gradually, gradually" sums up my experience of Gene's T'ai-Chi. He has pacified many a demon with this patient approach studying and teaching T'ai-Chi with a sense of improving just that small degree which will eventually become as deeply rooted as an oak tree.
I have been immensely supported by Gene's guidance through some major structural shifts in my body. As a professional bodyworker, I enjoy his dynamic understanding of mechanics in the T'ai-Chi forms and the playful way he intertwines relaxation with power. I also love the partner work we practice, which incorporates Gene's skills in healing bodywork and contact improvisation; his highly therapeutic touch enlivens a more subtle awareness in my body, which has improved my health greatly (in only a matter of months!). The customized, self-paced nature of Gene's lessons has allowed me to ease myself gracefully into martial arts study. One specialty that Gene features is training in T'ai-Chi cane forms. The cane is very appealing to me as a simple and available tool for self- defense; learning to use it has helped me to unwind tension in my upper body, as well as balance out my left arm with my right. As a bonus, I now feel more enthusiastic about learning to use swords and safer in trying out Aikido.
Benjamin Grunde, LMT
Holistic Health Practitioner
I've been spending my Sunday mornings with Gene, and yet, his teachings echo throughout my week. From the micro to the macro, I stand with more clarity during mundane moments and find meaningful connections while I'm searching for the perfect painting.
Gene's understanding of the obstacles I encounter during practice; mental, physical, and emotional, help give me the perspective I need to persevere through my discomfort. As a result I have a practice that helps me relate to all obstacles in a more relaxed way.
My T'ai-Chi practice is one of the most useful tools for living that I have. I put it right up there with walking, talking, and feeding myself. Without it I would be much less functional.
Despite my appreciation, I am probably one of Gene's most difficult students. I often argue, sulk, and never pay him. Nonetheless, Gene is consistently generous, patient, and almost never loses his temper. Even if he wasn't my husband I would highly recommend him as a teacher.
Painting Contractor, Artist
(541 ) 488-1926