The curriculum at the Tao Institute has been specially designed by Master Paolillo to give students a complete foundation in the internal arts.

Class Schedule


* These classes are taught by Mela, an assistant instructor

About Our Classes

Offering a diverse, and in-depth curriculum, we are focused on cultivating quality practitioners and long-term students.  The training offered at Tao Institute is “Way of Life” training and geared towards instilling a deep understanding and lifelong practice of Tao and the Internal Arts.

As all of our classes are ongoing and many have prerequisites, we are currently accepting new students through our ENTRY LEVEL Wednesday Qigong (12:00PM) or Wednesday Chen Tai Chi (5:15PM) classes only.  These classes offer an introduction to the material offered in other classes and provide a foundation for all training.  Once a student is established in this foundation, we can direct further training based on the students’ interests and inclinations as openings become available.

Please feel free to call 828-316-1501 or email for rates and further information.


Entry Level

These classes are open to beginners.

Hunyuan Chen Silk Reeling Spiral Power Qi Gong & Ba Gua Meditative Circle Walking


Silk Reeling Spiral Power Qi Gong is a set of exercises derived from movements in the Chen Tai Chi Form.  The exercises utilize spiraling motions throughout the body, which loosens the joints and helps circulate Qi or energy.  This class also incorporates standing meditation and basic meditative circle walking.  Suitable for beginners and excellent for anyone who is interested in a simple, but powerful Qi Gong practice.


Chen Tai Chi Chuan


Chen style Tai Chi Chuan is the foundation training for all that is offered at the Tao Institute.  Developed over 300 years ago, Chen Tai Chi Chuan is known for its use of spiraling movements, low stances, and the principles of Yin & Yang.  In this class we learn the fundamentals of alignment, posture, internal cultivation, mind directed energy, meditation and Tao philosophy.  Chen Tai Chi class includes Silk Reeling Qi Gong, Chen Style 1st Form, as well as standing & sitting meditation.

Continued Education

These classes are available once students accomplish prerequisite training.

Dragon Ba Gua Zhang

In this class students will receive a complete foundation in Ba Gua Zhang.  Ba Gua Zhang is a challenging and transformational practice that deeply connects students to the essence of change.  Using circular footwork patterns and spiraling body movements, Ba Gua Zhang is a unique martial art system that develops the student mind, body and spirit.  This class includes Silk Reeling Spiral Power Qi Gong, stance training, standing & sitting meditation, Ba Gua circle walking, 8 mother palms practice, Dragon Ba Gua Qigong and Dragon Ba Gua traditional form training.


Traditional Internal Martial Arts:  Chen Tai Chi / Pao Choi / Ba Gua Zhang / Praying Mantis

In the Traditional Internal Martial Arts training students learn to take their basic foundation a step further through the Chen Tai Chi first form, the Chen Pao Choi (Cannon Fist), Dragon Ba Gua Zhang & Fast Praying Mantis.  The emphasis in this class is the cultivation of “hidden power” and the development of the warrior spirit.  Students practice the condensing and issuing of Qi through Chen Pao Choi, experience the circular footwork and continuous movement of Ba Gua Zhang, and hone speed and adaptability through Praying Mantis.  This class offers a well-rounded foundation in Internal Martial Arts as well as a deeper understanding of the philosophy and practices therein.  This class also includes standing meditation, Qi gong exercises, Ba Gua palm techniques, and two-person work.

Internal Praying Mantis Kung Fu

Praying Mantis Kung Fu is an essential part of Tao Institute foundation training and lineage.  In this class we will cover Silk Reeling Spiral Power Qigong, standing meditation, stance training and a very rare internal Soft Praying Mantis form.  This form is performed slow and soft like Tai Chi but is more physically rigorous and contains traditional Kung Fu movements.  The Soft Praying Mantis form allows for the development of Tai Chi principles and internal strength, much like Tai Chi but with the style of Kung Fu


Tao Style Internal Kung Fu / Weapons Training

Tao Style Internal Kung Fu training emphasizes the cultivation of Mysterious Power through more refined development of essence, energy, and spirit.  Tao Style is an advanced style of internal martial arts that cultivates creative energy in the practitioner.  The principles of Chen Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu, and Tao Philosophy act as a foundation for the advanced forms included in this training.  This class embodies the core of the Tao Institute and Master Paolillo’s teachings.  Students receive a firm foundation in the philosophical and practical discipline of Kung Fu and Internal Alchemy.  In this class, students also learn the four major weapons of Kung Fu (Staff, Spear, Broadsword and Straight Sword) as a way to expand awareness and internal strength.  Tao class includes form training, Qi gong exercises, standing and sitting meditation, Ba Gua post training, multi-person and free style work, and philosophical discussion.  The emphasis on this training is formlessness.