Stephan Berwick is the founder of the Washington, DC-based True Tai Chi™ group – one of the few branch schools of the historic Chen Village Tai Chi Academy from Tai Chi’s birthplace.. For over two decades he has devoted his training, research, and promotion of Tai Chi to populations most in need, spanning defense professionals to the physically and mentally challenged. He conducts Tai Chi-based wellness workshops as part of Amerihealth’s “Wellness Circle” community counseling program for under-addressed populations and developed a Tai Chi program for John’s Hopkins University Medical School’s ataxia treatment program, (ataxia is a degenerative disorder that attacks the mind’s ability to control the limbs). He also leads a Tai Chi program to help revive the culture of Washington, DC’s Chinatown for the DC Mayor’s Office of Asian Affairs and also served as the Tai Chi instructor for the American diplomatic community at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.
Berwick served as the content advisor and lead narrator of the documentary film, Urban Dragons. The 2009 film documented the need and benefits of Chinese martial arts for under-represented men. In 2015, he introduced Tai Chi in a program he created for at-risk youth in Arlington, Virginia. And In 2010, Berwick wrote and directed ‘Final Weapon’ – the first dramatic action film to feature authentic Chen style Tai Chi in a long-form music video format, which starred the pioneering Chen Tai Chi expert, Ren Guangyi, Hong Kong film legend Mike Woods, with music and an appearance by rock music legend and Tai Chi disciple, Lou Reed.
As an original student of Ren, Berwick has also been trained by top members of Tai Chi’s founding family, the Chens of Chenjiagou in Henan Province, China. In 2000, Berwick completed extensive primary research at the Chen family village, which resulted in seminal publications that documented training methods, key personalities, and historical details about Tai Chi never before published in English. Since 1996, Berwick published nearly three dozen authoritative articles on all aspects of martial arts, including early profiles of Ren Guangyi, the Chen village chief Chen Xiaoxing, business leader Jon Miller, the celebrated music producer, Tony Visconti, and Asia’’s top martial arts film star, Donnie Yen. He also co-authored ‘Practical Tai Chi’, the best selling ‘Tai Chi for Kids’ with the nationally ranked martial arts competitor, Jose Figueroa, and with Ren Guangyi – ‘Taijiquan: 38 Form & Applications’ and ‘Taijiquan Hand & Sword’. In 2008 Berwick created a DVD-based training program published by the leading fitness company,, Dragon Door. Titled “True Strength Yang”, the conditioning regimen was inspired by traditional Chinese martial arts body toughening techniques.
During the late 1980s, Berwick was one of the first Western martial arts performers in Hong Kong action films, working under the famed director Yuen Wo Ping and alongside Donnie Yen. Before working in movies, he studied full-time in China as one of the first two Americans, along with Yen, trained and certified in both traditional and contemporary martial arts at the Sha’anxi Athletic Technical Institute in China under the nation’s top martial arts competitor, Zhao Changjun and his celebrated coach, Bai Wenxiang. Previously he was mentored by Yen’s mother, the famed Chinese American martial-arts pioneer, Bow Sim Mark.
Berwick has been profiled in Inside Kung Fu, Black Belt, and Kung Fu Tai Chi magazines and was the first Western Chen style Tai Chi expert featured on the cover of the academic, Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Most recently, he established a branch of his group in Jakarta, Indonesia, stemming from his 2019 visit and presentation of “Asian Martial Arts Culture in the United States”, hosted by the U.S. Embassy.