Widely known as the ‘Kirtan Rabbi,’ for his integration of yogic call-and-response chant with Hebrew verse, Rabbi Andrew Hahn, when he steps out of a different phone booth, has also been called the ‘Tai Chi Rabbi.’
Rabbi Hahn practiced Japanese (Shotokan) karate for twenty-four years, starting at age 16. He was awarded multiple degrees of black belt directly by the legendary Master, Tsutomu Ohshima – the first person to teach karate in the United States. For a decade, Rabbi Hahn led a large Shotokan Karate of America affiliated dojo (karate school) numbering well over 100 students in New York City.
Beginning in 1998, Rabbi Hahn began an even more intense study of Chinese internal arts. He practiced Tai Chi Chuan for six years with Grandmaster William C.C. Chen and since then with Tai Chi Alchemist, Rick Barrett, author of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate. For the last seven years, he has been an “indoor” student of Master Fukui Yang, from whom he has learned an idiosyncratic synthesis of meditation, Yiquan (I-Chuan), Hsing-yi, Bagua, and Chi Gung.
While he also continues to function as a secular teacher of martial arts, Rabbi Hahn has developed a fun and meaningful form of Jewish practice which he first called, ‘Tai Chi Kavannah,” and then — more recently — “Tai Chi Prayer.” The result is a form of “Bodyfulness Meditation” which seeks to get Jews beyond a legacy of being overly cerebral and to learn to pray and think with their whole being.