Tony Smith, Psychology Graduate and T’ai Chi Teacher, and Son Kaiya

Photo: Spencer Heyfron

What are you doing today?
I’m just picking Kaiya up from school. He turned 3 last Saturday, and he’s already speaking in complete sentences. He speaks Japanese and English equally well and also some Cherokee, which I’ve taught him. My grandmother was Cherokee Indian.

What does he call you?
Most of the time it’s Daddy, or sometimes it’s oto-san, which is Daddy in Japanese.

Are you teaching him t’ai chi?
I teach him kung fu, which is similar. He knows simple stances and punches and kicks, but I preface that it’s a game and that he can only play it with certain people. I don’t want him to do it to other children.

How does your practice tie in with your studies?
Both t’ai chi and psychology involve counseling. I use t’ai chi to calm people in sessions.

Any relaxation tips?
The real Buddhist meditation is very complex, but the action is mainly to sit and let.

What do you mean by “let”?
Let the feelings that you have come in, even if they’re upsetting ones, and do nothing about them until they drop.

What if, say, you’re about to be laid off?
A lot of people have this sense of impending doom, especially in a scary economic time. But you have to remember: The worst usually doesn’t happen. And when it does, it’s not as bad as you’d think it would be.

Tony Smith, Psychology Graduate and T’ai Chi Teac […]