Certified Tai Chi Instructors

 All of the Certified Instructors listed on this page have completed the required training and have passed  physical and written tests given by Master Michael Paler. 

The Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs provides verified proof in the form of a Certificate of Completion, to our students once they have finished the training required for each Level.   This certificate can be shown to various organizations and/or individuals wanting to employ Certified Tai Chi / Qigong Instructors guaranteeing the authenticity of their training.

What instructor levels mean

Certified Instructors are only authorized to teach their Level of Completion and you will know what Level each Tai Chi Instructor has achieved due to the color of the t-shirt they wear in class.

Use the table below to find out more about each level and on the instructor name to find out more about them.

  • Green Level 1 Personal accomplishment, learned the first section of the Yang Style 108 Form.
  • Green Level 2 Instructors are authorized to teach the complete Yang Family 108 Form.
  • Red Level 3  Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and Tai Chi 2 person energies and drills.
  • Red Level 4  Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and Inner door Exercises.
  • Yellow Level 5  Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and the Yang Family Tai Chi Ball Form.
  • Yellow Level 6  Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and the Yang Family Tai Chi Saber Form.
  • Teal Level 7 Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and Yang Family Tai Chi Staff.
  • Teal Level 8 instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and Yang Family Tai Chi Spear.
  • Black Level 9 Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and Tai Chi San Shou 2 Person Form with Body Mechanics, Structure, Principles and Form
  • Black Level 10 Instructors are authorized to teach all previous levels and  2 Person Yang Family Tai Chi Sword with Body Mechanics, Structure, Principles and Form
  • Levels 11 THROUGH 13 – Private Consultation Required!
Julie Paler – Level VIII Instructor
Julie, is the Creative Director, Tai Chi blogger and Manager of the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs and TaiChiOnlineClasses.com. For fun she loves spending time with her husband training Yang Family tai chi chuan and Yang Family weapons, in addition to archery and knife throwing, she also loves hiking, gardening, and spending time with her 4 cats and 2 dogs. Julie is also a herbalist with over 10 years experience in the field of herbal medicine, with hands on experience as a herbal medicine maker and formulator, with knowledge of nutrition, vitamins and supplements. Julie began her studies of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong with Sifu Michael Paler in December of 2003. Julie is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII & VIII Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs, Push Hands and Weapons: Tai Chi Ball, Tai Chi Saber, Tai Chi Staff & Tai Chi Spear. She has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.
Kathy Roark – Level VIII Instructor

Kathy began her study of Tai Chi Chuan in early 2014 and it quickly became her passion, she also enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and hiking. Kathy is our Tai Chi Association Demo Team Leader and she also teaches a beginner Tai Chi class on Tuesday mornings and our 6 Week Beginner Series.  Kathy is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, & VIII Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs, Push Hands and Weapons: Tai Chi Ball, Tai Chi Saber, Tai Chi Staff & Tai Chi Spear. She has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

Howard Drossman – Level VII Instructor
Howard Drossman began his study of Tai Chi in 1980 as an undergraduate student in Berkeley, California, where he learned the Yang style long form from Louis Sun. From 1985 – 1987.
He studied the Chen Man Ching Yang style form with Tricia Yu in Madison, Wisconsin while completing his PhD in Bioanalytical Chemistry.  While in Madison, Howard attended several workshops with Ben Lo, William Chen, and Peter Gallagher.
In January 2010, Howard renewed his commitment to Tai Chi by intensively studying Qi Gong, Push Hands, Staff, Tai Chi Saber and Tai Chi sword, and the 108 and Old Six Roads movement forms under the tutelage of Sifu Michael Paler. He also practices Grandmaster William Chen’s
closely related 60-movement form, which he reviews through annual workshops at Grandmaster Chen’s Manhattan studio.
When Howard is not practicing Tai Chi, he teaches full time as Professor of Education at Colorado College (since 1991) where he directs the Teaching and Research in Environmental Education (TREE) Semester and serves as Board President of the Catamount Center for Environmental Science and Education in Woodland Park, Colorado.
Howard is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I, II, III,
IV, V, VI, & VII Beginner, Intermediate & Advanced Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs, Push Hands and Weapons: Tai Chi Ball, Tai Chi Saber, & Tai Chi Staff.
He has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced instruction of Tai Chi Chuan
Tom Parker – Level IV Instructor

Tom Parker began his study of the martial arts at the Ed Parker Kempo Karate Studio in Santa Monica, California in 1974. He discovered Tai Chi in 1996 in Northern Virginia, learning the Chen Man Ching Yang style, 37 Movement form from Sifu Will Chan, a former student of Grand Master Chen.

After 16 years of independent Tai Chi study-which included multiple location changes due to his naval career–Tom was about to take up Yoga in 2012, but decided to give professional Tai Chi instruction another chance, enrolling in Sifu Michael Paler’s Tai Chi Association in Colorado Springs in August of that year.

Tom is delighted with this choice, and has studied Qi Gung, the Yang 24 and 108 forms, Tai Chi Ball, as well as the Yang family private form and energetics. Tom is a government worker and retired U.S. Navy Captain, who post-Navy has worked for the Raytheon Corporation and taught at the Naval War College. While on active duty in the US Navy, he commanded the aircraft carriers Belleau Wood (LHA-3), Essex (LHD-2), and Kitty Hawk (CV-63). When not practicing Tai Chi or working, Tom enjoys fly fishing, skiing and motorcycle riding.

Tom is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I, II, III and IV Beginner and Intermediate Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands. He has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner and Intermediate instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

Brian Moore – Level IV Instructor
Location: Colorado
Using ancient Tai Chi principles in his training of dogs and puppies, Brian Moore works as a positive reinforcement trainer here in Colorado Springs.  
With over 20 years of experience in the healing and martial arts principles of Tai Chi, Brian is able to connect with animals on a deeper level and to better communicate with them through body language. Using safe and easy to follow techniques, he is able to develop a more harmonious relationship that will help a dog better understand and follow commands.  
Brian also teaches trainers and owners to learn to listen (Ting Jing) and to be more sensitive to each dog’s unique chi, thereby increasing the spiritual connection between them.
Brian has studied Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, and Shaolin Kung Fu under Sifu Michael Paler for the past 22 years. He has been a Tai Chi instructor for over 10 years at the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs.  A devoted husband and father of two young children, Brian loves to snowboard, hike, and mountain bike with his family..
Brian is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I, II, III and IV Beginner and Intermediate Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands. He has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner and Intermediate instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.
To contact Brian to set up an appointment for a dog evaluation or for upcoming dog or puppy training classes call: 719-360-2904
Louis Weiss – Level III Instructor

Louis Weiss has studied various martial arts styles including Shotokan Karate, Kung Fu, Baguazhang, Xing Yi, along with a number of mixed martial art disciplines. He discovered Tai Chi in late 1998 while stationed in San Diego, Ca. while in the United States Navy.  During the 45 days it took to transfer duty stations from San Diego to Sicily, Italy, he decided Tai Chi would be a large part of his future.

During his five years in Sicily, he studied both Yang and Chen forms. After a year, he began concentrating on Yang form exclusively and has stuck with it for the last 19 years. He studied under various teachers from 1999 to 2005. The next ten years were spent in self-study.

In February of 2015, he attended his first class at the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs. He has been a student of Sifu Michael Paler for the last three years. Lou has said “It has been a rather easy thing to know where my training will remain for the foreseeable future. When you are in a place for three years, and each time you feel more and more welcome, and you are still learning with no end in sight, it’s an easy call.”

Lou is a big believer in the power of Tai Chi to help mitigate the effects of anxiety and depression associated with PTSD. He has used it in his own life to help alleviate how they impact his everyday life, and he hopes to be able to help others that are also suffering.

Louis is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I & II Beginner Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands.. He has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

Scott Ward – Level I Instructor

Scott is an accomplished Martial Artist in a variety of systems. He is a Nidan 2nd Degree Black Belt in Karate in the styles of Shotokan and Shorin Ryu under Kyoshi Jay Haynes, and a 1stDegree Black Belt in Eagle Claw Kung Fu under Hanshi Ken Baker. He is also trained in Luzviminda Arnis (Filipino stick fighting).

Scott is the former owner and chief instructor of Ward’s Family Karate and has trained over 100 students in the art of Shotokan Karate, three of which bear his signature on their Shodan 1St Degree Black certificates.

Scott began training with Sifu Michael Paler in 2012. He had been practicing Chinese Qi Gong exercises for pain relief and decided to see what he could learn training under a Master in Tai Chi. While seeking the healing benefits of Tai Chi, he discovered he had also found a powerful Martial Art. Watching Michael demonstrate the power of internal energy he knew this would be the next level of his Martial Arts journey.

Years of hardstyle karate had damaged Scott’s joints and tendons. Tai Chi was healing his injuries and providing a Martial Arts training that he could continue practicing for the rest of his days.

Scott is a Software Engineer with FedEx with over 30-year of experience. He has made Colorado his home for the last 20 plus years and has enjoyed Rock Climbing, Mountaineering, Mountain Biking, Camping, and Amateur Auto Racing. More recently he enjoys driving Jeep trails and easy hiking.

Scott is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I Beginner Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands. He has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

Susan Claxton – Level II Instructor

On 2002 Susan became a student at the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs.  Born in Wyoming, she and her husband have lived in Manitou Springs since 1999.  Susan love horses, gardening and her Tai Chi practice.

Susan is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I & II Beginner Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands.  She has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

Martha Rzasa – Level II Instructor

Martha began Tai Chi, Qigong and Push Hands with Sifu Michael Paler in August 2015, and quickly became fully involved.  Trained in ballet and modern dance, Martha soon found Tai Chi to be something entirely different.  

Martha has a Masters Degree in Creative Arts-Dance from New York University and enjoyed choreographing, performing and teaching.  In Milwaukee she participated in a major theater project with at-risk children, and worked with adults with cerebral palsy.

Martha continues to deepen her study of Taichiquan and Qigong and their considerable healing benefits. Martha enjoys her family, nature walks, sea kayaking when able, writing, and her cat Boston. She works in health care as an Occupational Therapist.  

Martha is certified through the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs to teach Level I & II Beginner Tai Chi Forms in the body mechanics of the structured Yang Chen Fu large frame form with the accompanying Qigongs and Push Hands.. She has completed the required hours of training per level and has passed both physical and written tests for Beginner instruction of Tai Chi Chuan.

(Virtue/Morality) Humility, Trust, Loyalty, Respect, Righteousness Will, Patience, Courage, Endurance, Perseverance. Only through morality of action and deed as well as of the mind can one hope to achieve great power in martial arts.

“I have always judged a martial artists skill and power by their morality and personality, not how many forms or techniques they have nor how they execute them.” “I would like to express my respect and honor to all the Colorado Springs Martial Arts community for your dedication in spreading the beautiful arts we practice and devote our lives to, and to the teachers across the continents, to my Tai Chi and Internal Martial Arts teachers and everyone who has encouraged me on my path.”

Thank you!

Michael S. Paler