I’ve known Jack Tricarico for going on three and a half years now.
Jack is an accomplished painter and poet from New York City. He also teaches tai chi and meditation. He is turning 80 next month.
Since I’ve known him, he has touted the practice of tai chi, and credited it with saving his sanity and his life on many occasions.
I asked Jack to contribute his story, that it would touch the life of someone who needed to hear it; and he very generously obliged.
When you read his story, you may think that Jack is an understated fellow. On the contrary; his personality is big and his talent wide. His work is anything but understated!
I highly encourage you to get to know him and his work. Links are provided below.
By the way: the teacher who introduced Jack to tai chi, Eddie Rodriguez, is also a talented massage therapist on New York City’s West Side,
I refer patients to Eddie very often. A link to Eddie is below as well.
In the year of 1988, while teaching drawing and painting to high school students at an after-school program in Manhattan, I met a young man named Eddie Rodriguez; who, at the age of 17, was already a black belt in karate, and knowledgeable of other martial art systems.
After the program ended Eddie asked me if I wanted to learn karate. I had never practiced a martial art form before then except boxing in my adolescence which I enjoyed, but had no talent for.
After a few months of practicing karate, I became bored and quit.
Shortly after Eddie again asked me if I wanted to learn tai chi, which he thought I might be better suited for.
He was right. At the time, I had a close friend who practiced tai chi also, and it appeared to be a discipline I might enjoy learning because it looked so profoundly meditative when I watched him do it.
Before that, I had practiced yoga for a couple of years and Zen meditation sporadically. I enjoyed these disciplines for both the calmness and the energy they produced.
So, in July of 1989, at the age of 51, I began learning the Kuang Ping form of tai chi, an early Yang style technique, from Eddie.
During this time, I was in the midst of an emotionally turbulent relationship with a woman I was nevertheless rapturously in love with.
Practicing tai chi for a couple of hours daily enabled me to maintain some semblance of sanity throughout this affair.
The practice utterly reduced the stress of the continual conflict that went on, sometimes edging toward violence, between my lover and I.
A year after that relationship ended, I met someone else who I eventually married.
Since then, I have learned 3 more tai chi forms: the short Yang style which I learned from Larry Galante, the Chen style and the Yang style classical sword form which I again learned from Eddie.
I have survived 3 car accidents, which caused spinal, knee and nerve damage, and cancer since then.
Today, at 80, practicing 2 to 3 hours of tai chi and meditation daily, I feel better than I did at 30.
This routine has also helped me creatively more than I can imagine.
I thank Eddie Rodriguez and Larry Galante for teaching me tai chi. It helped save my life.
Eddie Rodriguez practices massage therapy at 448 West 57th Street, Garden Level, New York, NY 10019. His contact information is here.