The institute’s founder, Xunhua ‘Jack’ Zhang, is China’s official Representative Inheritor of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Taiyiquan and Taiyi Qi Acupuncture. He is a 13th generation Taiyi Master and has four decades of experience in treating and practicing Taiyi. He is internationally acclaimed for innovating traditional Taiyi therapy with modern techniques and new treatment methods. As the founder of the Taiyi Institute in New York he actively fosters the community around Taiyi and advances the research of Taiyi medicine.
Xunhua was born in Nanjing, China in 1960. He moved to Zhengzhou with his family when he was 6 years old, and that is where his training began. His grandfather, an accomplished Chinese doctor, taught him the knowledge of thirteen generations. Xunhua was the oldest of three children and he was chosen to carry on the family legacy.
Besides his grandfather’s education, he received additional training at a Shaolin Temple during the school holidays from 1966-1973. After graduating from elementary school in 1973, he continued his martial arts and medicine education with his grandfather all the way through middle school and for a few years after. In 1980, Xunhua became a trainee at the LuBingKui Chinese Medicine Research Institute 吕炳奎中医药研究院 in Beijing, China.
“As a trainee and later as an assistant doctor I helped in research of acupuncture, bone adjustment, and herbal medicine. These years were very insightful, and, of course, I still continued to assist my grandfather with treatments. I observed him for over 20 years and looking back, I really only understood the relevance of Taiyi in my mid-twenties.
As a child, the daily training was a family obligation, but over time I realized how physically and mentally strong I had become. My personality was calm and patient and I knew I could get through anything. My grandfather might have been a strict man, but he expressed his love by giving me wisdom.”
In his 30s, he started treating patients without his grandfather and put in the work to get as much practical experience as possible. He continued his education by self-studying and conducting research. In his 40s, he says, he really started to think. Xunhua was eager to educate people about Taiyi and spread knowledge. He started to actively promote Taiyi culture, and fostered connections to universities, schools, and the government.
He worked as a health consultant at the Zhengzhou Health Clinic 养生会所, was a doctor and researcher at the Zhengzhou Institute of Recovery Medicine 郑州市康复医学研究, and taught Taiyiquan at Harvard University between 2007-2010. He also founded his own institute, the Zhengzhou Health Electronic Product Research Institute 郑州市康健电子产品研究所, where he did research, developed medical instruments, and completed government projects.
When he turned 50, the Chinese government recognized his contribution to Traditional Chinese Medicine by officially appointing him as the Representative Inheritor of Intangible Cultural Heritage of China Taiyi Quan and Intangible Cultural Heritage of China Taiyi Qi Acupuncture. With the honor of this title he joined a high-level talents continuing education program 高层次人才专题研修课（继续教育) for four years, offered by three of China’s best universities.
In 2016, Xunhua moved to the US. First Los Angeles and now New York. He says the young generation in China is only intrigued by foreign, especially American, products and concepts - even if it is based on their own traditions and culture. For him this is not a hurdle because he wants to make Taiyi not only relevant in China or America, but everywhere. So one way or another Taiyi will find its way back to China’s new generation.
“My teaching style is very different to my grandfather’s. I believe we have to explain Taiyi in a modern way, according to the fast-changing times we live in. This has been proven true in the past two years. People in the west are more and more curious about natural healing and more than 90% of people who are introduced to Taiyi continue by coming for treatments, practicing the exercises, and adjusting their lifestyle.”
Interestingly enough, many of the people Jack meets who are longing for discourse in the US are western-educated medicine professionals and doctors. Bridging the gap between modern and traditional medicine is beneficial for all sides, and people understand this. “Ultimately, my grandfather’s dream became my dream: to make Taiyi known. And with the opening of the Taiyi Institute in New York this dream continues internationally.”
Now at age 58, Xunhua has held high-level positions at numerous medicine institutes and companies, and has been teaching at internationally-renowned institutions for over 20 years. He has been rewarded seven National Invention Patents and 29 other patents, and has published three academic theses. He changed Taiyi culture by combining Chinese holistic medicine with state-of-the-art technology. For the past decade alone, Xunhua was awarded multiple honorary titles and has been recognized by government entities in China and the US with the following honors:
2008: Certificate of Medals of Honor by Boston City Council
2011: Certificate of Medals of Honor by City of New York Council
2013: Recognition as top-notch talent and technical expert by the government of Zhengzhou, China
2016: Certificate of Congressional Recognition by Congresswoman Judy Chu for outstanding medical achievement
2016: Honorary Doctorate from the University of West Los Angeles
2016: Certificate of Medals of Honor by the City of Miami
2016: Certificate of Medals of Honor by the State of California
2017: Certificate of Medals of Honor by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Iga Michalowska is a multinational entrepreneur and business consultant. She holds a degree in international business and a master in economics. She is proficient in Chinese, English, and Polish. Iga’s expertise is in strategy, business development, business analytics, financial planning, and end-to-end management solutions. Her entrepreneurial experience ranges from start-up business planning to change management for large international organizations. Iga founded her own consulting company Tusmi in Shanghai in March 2017, offering business consulting services between China, Europe, and the US.
Iga lived nearly a decade in China, learning about Asian culture and exploring diverse approaches to living a balanced life. One of her main interests became Chinese Medicine, and she continued her education when she moved to New York in 2017. Now with her work at the Taiyi Institute, she brings her worlds together.
“Being a European living first in Asia and then in America, I learned that we are actually not that different. Our viewpoint may differ and we express ourselves based on our culture in other ways. But at the core we all strive for a fulfilled, healthy life. For ourselves, for our family and for society overall.
If we make the effort to understand each other’s perspective, the benefits are exponential. I have a deep appreciation for being able to live in various cultures and to learn from all kinds of people. Now, by bringing Chinese knowledge and culture to the West, I want to create a bigger picture of how we approach health and self-care."