Kimberly Ivy began her training 40 years ago in Tucson, Arizona amidst the Yin & Yang of Desert Monsoons & Heat. From the beginning, training was not simply a hobby but a powerful invitation into a transformative process. Kim discovered right away that breath and sweat invites a deep forging of spirit, mind and body. Her life and training passion carried her from the majestic Saguaros of Arizona towards the lush rain forests of Oregon, across the boiling volcanoes of Japan and inside the mysterious temples of China. In 1993, she settled in Seattle and founded Embrace the Moon Taijiquan and Qigong, Inc.
Along the way, Kim studied various branches of Qigong and both Yang and Chen systems of Taijiquan. Over time she became certified in several systems of Qigong and settled into the Chen Family system of Taijiquan. In 1997, Kim was a National Bronze Medal Winner in Yang Taijiquan forms at the “A Taste of China." In 2006, she was inducted as 20th Generation disciple of Chen Family Grandmaster Chen, Xiao Wang. In 2011, she formally tested with the International Wu Shu (Chinese Martial Arts) Association, Grandmasters Chen Xiao Wang and Chen Xiao Xing and earned the rank of 6th Duan Wei. In 2012, Kim was inducted into the first Martial Arts Woman's Hall of Fame by the Association of Women Martial Artists. In 2013, Embrace the Moon became an official Branch School of the Chenjiagou Taijiquan School in Chenjiagou, China - (The founding Village of Taijiquan). Kim is also certified in Hatha yoga, holds black belt rankings in Judo and Aikido. Kim has served on the board of the National Qigong Association was on staff at Seattle Institute of Oriental Medicine for several years and is an ongoing professional consultant on several grants, studies, articles and books on the efficacy of Taijiquan and Qigong. See Kim's CV here.
A Personal Note from Kim
I had just turned 20 when I began my journey along the Internal Arts Way. After a long road trip landed me in Tucson, Arizona I found the feisty young woman that I was becoming was full of energy, but waning in a focused direction of commitment. Finding a way to ground that energy was a challenge. Fortunately when I found myself at the doorstep of my first martial arts school, I was compelled. The quiet Asian interior was the antithesis of my conservative Nebraska upbringing, but I felt a deep pull and signed up immediately for my first class.
The vigorous, disciplined art of Judo was perfect for me. Its curriculum and years of sweaty practice taught me to temper my body and to focus my mind. Admittedly, there were many times the qualities of discipline, patience and respect that infused the practice were unsympathetic to my wild nature. And during those times I resisted them with all my might. I wondered, as did my friends and family, what was I doing spending so much of my free time in a hot, stuffy practice hall?
Yet even in the midst of opinions, doubts and frustrations, there was a powerful undertow keeping me connected to my practice. Certainly the elegant sweeping movements, the feel of deep rhythmic breath and the community of friends laughing and training were enough to override my own reservations. Without a doubt the strength and fitness were rewarding and evident. Yet for me practicing was more. Practice and training made no demands upon me to be anything but myself, to do anything but to simply show up. My first teacher early on said, "All you have to do is show up, the rest takes care of itself." I could not have guessed then at the life that would unfold and that my path would be to share it all with others.
My students patiently listen as I recall my memories. These memories and lessons I share echo those of my teachers when they shared theirs with me. I didn't want to listen to these stories then, but to get to work on that day's lesson! Still, I did listen. At times I also wonder what it would be like to roll back the decades and listen even more deeply then with the ears I have now. And yet, I am confident I took in all I could at the time and that our work together as teacher, student and destiny, laid the strong foundation for what was to come. As my interests matured I settled into Taijiquan and Qigong as my devoted way. From my early encounters with these practices I fell in love with the quiet depth and the vast infinite I found amidst their landscape. I also was astounded at the health benefits. Amidst my own challenges and those of others, I learned about movement of the body and stillness of the mind in ways I could not have predicted. Through the arc of my practice, it all has been and continues to be a blessed metronome, grounding me to the earth, keeping me looking up to the sky, breathing in and out amidst the unknown that is inside and outside of me.
Perhaps Taijiquan and Qigong will also be vehicles for you in your quest of self-discovery. In our world it is helpful to train skills of centering to feel and to sense direction amidst all the noise that surrounds us. And as we age, with more robust options for living a high quality life much longer than we could have imagined even a couple of decades ago, it is crucial that we stay active. It is essential we stay engaged with our own evolution. Start. Continue. Stay. Keep listening. Keep practicing.
May the Spirit continue,