A New York Story about Dahnhak


By a former Student of the Dahn Center

I have been involved in various martial arts off and on for a few years and have taken instruction in Tai Chi Chuan, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do as well as Yoga and Qi Gong.

While driving I spotted a sign advertising a free class at a local training hall. The sign stated that Yoga, Tai Chi and meditation classes were given. I went in at the next free class and was impressed with the positive attitude exhibited by both the staff and students. I was equally thrilled that the work out made me feel so good. After the free class I was approached by one of the regular students who proceeded to tell me about various benefits of regular Dahnhak practice. Benefits included a new sense of purpose, a stronger sense of harmony with your fellow man and development of Ki (or Chi) power.

The claims he made were not unusual for a martial arts school, but the time in which he claimed these benefits would occur was remarkable. How can you purport that with regular practice you will obtain? certain predetermined goals. You can no more do this for an aspiring musician than you can for a Karate student.

I was also bothered by references to a spiritual retreat, which he was told was where the real spiritual work begins. He also made reference to other retreats and workshops/seminars of which some were free and some not. References were also made to the effect that "spiritual liberation" was also attainable in short order with regular Dahnhak practice.

In all I was put off by the whole affair. To advertise Tai Chi, Yoga and meditation instruction and upon further inquiry find out that there is no set curriculum (one day it might be a Tai Chi class and the next it's Yoga) is disturbing in a school that promises some spiritual liberation.


  • First, you cannot promise spiritual liberation under any system of esoteric learning first--because the meaning is subjective and each person begins and progresses at a different level.


  • Second because under any one system it takes a lifetime to attain a masters level (if it's ever obtained) as there is always more to learn within any one system.

Hopefully more people will come forward to report their experiences with the Dahn Tao Institute.

The student who spoke to me seemed disturbingly uneducated about the subjective claims made to him that had him so enthused.

My advice is the following:


  • Look for a strong and old lineage--the older the system the better; there is more chance that there is good reason it has endured for so long.


  • Be very cautious if there are not many texts available regarding the subject so you may read up it.


  • Remember, though sometimes language barriers make accurate understanding and answering of your questions difficult--a good teacher will always try to answer your questions or advise you of informative books in which you can gain better understanding.


  • Blind faith does not make you wise--beware of with whom you place your trust. It is entirely possible that a group may actually be a cult whose leader uses ancient references and exercises that have dynamic and profound effects to gain the trust of people--so that he or she may cultivate their own ego and riches.
Copyright © 1998 Rick Ross

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