By Flannery Keck
The Atlanta Best Media team recently took a tai chi class with instructor Florin Szondi, who has a long history of athleticism and study of the martial arts. Szondi was born in Romania and first explored traditional sports like swimming, which he did for six years as a child. He became so adept at handball that he became a member of the Romania Handball National Team. He also studied several martial arts, first Japanese Jiu Jitsu and then Goju Ryu Karate.
Eventually, he found his way to Chinese martial arts, a path he continues on to this day. He first studied Wushu-Kung Fu and then became certified as a Professor of Chinese Martial Arts by Beijing’s Wushu-Kung Fu National Research Institute. Along with a few other instructors, he brought this knowledge back home and founded the Romanian Martial Arts Federation. He won hundreds of medals from 1990 to 2000 in national and international sparring competitions, including a Grand Champion title in the USA in 2001.
In 2000, Szondi shifted focus to Chen Taiji Quan, the style of tai chi he teaches now. After five years of study, he was officially accepted as a disciple of Grand Master Zhu Tiancai. Again he brought that learning back to Romania and founded the Romanian Chen Taiji Quan Association in 2010.
Clearly, lifelong learning is a passion of his. He says, “After years and years of efforts of deﬁning ourselves, we discover that true freedom is beyond any expectation, and learning is just a way of being.”