Tai Chi River has been organized by Peter Hodes and Rusty Rust. We have lived in Nashville our entire lives, and been friends, and Tai Chi practitioners together for over 25 years. We invite you to learn more about us and our teaching style. Come and try a class to see for yourself.

We bet that afterwards you will feel better all day and maybe have a great night’s sleep!

Peter Hodes

Since childhood, Peter has always been interested in martial arts and in Asian culture. After completing a B.A. in Asian Studies and Japanese, and studying abroad in Japan, Peter began practicing Tai Chi Chuan in 1990 on a beach of Thailand’s Koh Phangan Island. Beginning with a two-day workshop, he stayed for three additional weeks training daily and learning the beginning of Professor Cheng’s “Short Form”.

While pursuing an international M.B.A degree, Peter met fellow-student Jay Boyle and learned the remainder of Professor Cheng’s 37-Posture Form while being introduced to Push-Hands, and the Sword Form. Jay learned his Tai Chi from Saul Krotki, who learned directly from Cheng Man-ch’ing in New York. To learn from Saul, Peter moved to Seattle and attended Saul’s Bear Palm Tai Chi School for over two years.

At home in Nashville, Peter also found and attended Sifu Tom Wang’s classes at the Vanderbilt Memorial Gym. This is where Peter met Rusty, and together they practiced with Tom for years. Through Tom and Rusty, Peter met and practiced with Dr. Tao Ping-siang on three separate occasions before he passed away in 2006. Dr. Tao guided Peter to a much deeper understanding of the art of Push-Hands. At this point, Peter has been practicing this martial art continuously for over 27 years.

Rusty Rust

Rusty has been teaching Tai Chi in Nashville TN for over 20 years.

He spent more than 10 years as the Tai Chi instructor at the Dayani Center at Vanderbilt Medical Center where he taught classes, and one-on-one instruction. Many students were physically compromised from strokes or accidents. By isolating the elements of the movements and teaching only one aspect at a time, Rusty developed a method of instruction to help regain lost balance and strength.

After leaving Vanderbilt, he began working with Dr. Suman at Karuna Center for Natural Healthcare and maintains his own Craniosacral Therapy office in Nashville.

Rusty also teaches a regular class Thursday evenings at KSA Martial Academy.

Mimi Pantelides

Mimi earned a BFA degree from the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana for dance instruction in 1973, which included a course in Tai Chi. She taught modern dance, Dancersize and Biomechanics in New York during the 1980’s, then became certified to teach Centered Riding for horses. This continued for 20 years earning the highest Apprentice Level IV instructor status.

In 2000, Wolfe Lowenthal presented Tai Chi at a conference she attended, and for the next couple of decades most of her Tai Chi came from Wolfe’s books and DVDs. In Tennessee, Mimi took classes from Tom Yang and several other instructors at Vanderbilt and Murfreesboro before beginning to study with Peter at Tai Chi River. Mimi learned quickly how important it is to have a live in-person teacher.

Peter’s good humor and inclusion of Chinese philosophy has lit the fire for Mimi. She is a confessed Tai Chi Geek now… and also continues to study Feldenkrais, Alexander Technique and reviews her experience of Zen Therapy and Horse Energy Massage.