I felt very powerfully one of my tai chi / qigong teachers today as I played with these moving/breathing styles.

Nganga Mfundishi Tolo Naa was among the greats on the planet. The Medicine Man. The Internal Arts Master.

And incredibly humble. When I studied with Tolo Naa in my mid-20’s, I had no idea he finished second in the 1964 World Karate Championships. By most accounts, he should have won, the referee not so open to what he offered, who Tolo Naa (Raymond Cooper at that time in his life) was.

I’m grateful I had the chance to meet Tolo Naa, to talk with him personally about important things when I was so young, to study with him a handful of weekends, to learn Bagua (he was the world expert) and some wild qigong sets and the art he created (African Shackle Hands), thanks to Vincent Lasorso & White Willow Tai Chi hosting Tolo Naa.

My ability to learn movement sequences so quickly can be attributed to Tolo Naa, who had a way to learn 50 moves — in sequence! — in an afternoon.

I am sad to learn that he died recently.

May his memory be a blessing for all, and for all who share what we learned from and with Tolo Naa. I share his ideas on Wednesday nights at 6pm at VITALITY, our Power Hour.

— Brian Shircliff