About Tai Chi River

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Beginners Are ALWAYS Welcome!!!

There is a general lack of awareness and understanding about the ancient practice of Tai Chi Chuan – Supreme Ultimate Boxing. People know this as a slow-moving exercise often seen in medical commercials performed by people looking happy and peaceful. There is a vague recognition that it is somehow “like Yoga” and “good for you” and that is about it!!

Tai Chi is an easy-to-learn routine that improves health, balance, and relaxation. These exercises can easily be done by everyone including seniors and people with illnesses and injuries.

Tai Chi River has been organized by Peter Hodes and Rusty Rust who have practiced Tai Chi together for over 25 years. Our practice is Yang-style Tai Chi as proliferated in the U.S. by Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing. This ‘soft’ style is very low impact and is therefore appropriate for people of all ages and levels of strength and endurance. 

We invite you to learn more about us and the Tai Chi that we teach. Come and try a class and see for yourself. We bet that afterwards you feel better all day and then have a great night’s sleep!

Safe, low impact exercise for EVERYONE

EASY-to-learn and improves memory

Gentle movements with NO sweating or straining

No special clothing or equipment

Guaranteed to make you feel BETTER!!!


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. At this point, Peter has been practicing Tai Chi continuously for 30 years.

Rusty Rust
Info@TaiChiRiver.com

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.

Mimi Pantelides
Info@TaiChiRiver.com

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.