Instructor Michael Ward, LCSW-C
Michael Ward has been studying and practicing T’ai Chi for thirty-five years. He has taught T’ai Chi to people from 9 to 90 years of age in settings as diverse as senior centers, major corporations and institutions. Mr. Ward began his study of T’ai Chi in 1976 with John Eastman, who was given permission to teach by Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing, a renowned master of T’ai Chi. Professor Cheng was not only a master of T’ai Chi Chuan, but was regarded as a “Master of the Five Excellences”: medicine, painting, poetry, and calligraphy, in addition to T’ai Chi. Mr. Ward later studied for almost a decade with Robert Smith, the first Western student of Professor Cheng and was given permission to teach by him. Mr. Smith and Professor Cheng co-authored one of the first English language texts on T’ai Chi. Since Mr. Smith’s retirement in 1989, Mr. Ward has studied for over twenty years with Ms. Maggie Newman, another of Professor Cheng’s senior students in New York City. Michael Ward learned the sword form of T’ai Chi from Ms. Newman in 1990. She has given Michael Ward her permission to teach the T’ai Chi sword form to his students.
Michael Ward is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Maryland with a Master Degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland. In addition to teaching T’ai Chi, he has worked developing programs to enhance the well-being of children, families, schools and communities for thirty years. He has worked extensively with therapeutic adventure, teaching people how to use the challenges of rock-climbing, caving, white-water boating, and group games as metaphors for the challenges of daily living. T’ai Chi concepts like “Balance” and “Centering” are directed to more than our physical bodies and Mr. Ward’s experience, background and training have given him a unique perspective on their value and benefit in today’s stressful environments.
Michael Ward is the president and founder of Cloud Hands T’ai Chi, Inc. He is currently teaching with CityDance in the Music Center at Strathmore; at Crossings, A Center for the Healing Traditions in Silver Spring; and at the Somerset Town Hall in Chevy Chase. He also has taught classes on T’ai Chi and Taoism at the Smithsonian Associates in Washington, D.C. and at the Tai Sophia Institute in Columbia, Maryland.
What Students Say About Michael Ward:
“Michael Ward is the best teacher I have ever had. Not just the best T’ai Chi teacher, but the best teacher. He is gentle, patient, sensitive and insightful. His classes don’t feel like lessons, but one learns all the time.”
—Andrew Jay Schwartzman
“Michael Ward teaches T’ai Chi with clarity and patience, while reminding his students that practice is the key to learning.”
“Michael was able to adapt the T’ai Chi form to my physical limitations, and I very soon noticed improvements in my condition. I can’t emphasize enough how much Michael’s classes have meant for me!”
“Michael Ward is an exceptional T’ai Chi instructor. I have studied with him for more than 12 years. He is fully committed to teaching all levels of students, from beginners to advanced. His dedication to his students is apparent in his patience and his efforts to make sure that his students understand all the intricacies of Tai Chi. He is also a teacher that continues to grow spiritually, so that one does not tire of his teaching. He continually finds new ways to explain with a fresh approach. I highly recommend him as a teacher.”