“The clear bead at the center changes everything.”

Sifu Malcolm Dean

Gold Medalist, Men’s Forms, Beijing, 2007

Founder, San Francisco Hunyuan Taiji Academy, 2010

Founder, Luminous Ground Online School of Taiji & Qigong, 2020

1986-2024 total training hours: 34,400

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In the meantime, check out the CLASSES page.


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1 • Introduction to the school, 20m long detailed version

2 • Preparation for your online classes, including clothing, props, and monitors

3 · Safety first! Take care of yourself, and practice safely!

4 • A clip from the BBC on “super-agers”, recorded at our old studio in San Francisco

5 • A clip from the Beginning Taiji class, on the “most important thing” practice gives you 



Under construction! Check back soon!






Under construction! Check back soon!


Under construction! Check back soon!


A clip from the BBC on “super-agers”, featuring our pre-covid studio in San Francisco and many of our students. Super-agers are those between 65 and 100+ who have maintained extraordinary levels of vitality in body, mind and spirit — and daily exercise is a big part of that. We have adult students of every age, but being super-agers ourselves, these brilliant, talented, and remarkably good-looking people have a special place in our hearts,


On the “most important thing” you get from the practice of Taiji and Qigong.





People. Fun. Engagement. Practice. These are the most important things about our online school. We have students from their 20’s thru their 80’s, from all parts of the world. Wherever you come from, whatever your age, whatever language you speak, everyone is welcome here!


“Having previous experience in both Tae Kwon Do and Reiki, I have been searching for a sustainable practice that will compliment the balance of both Martial Arts and the holistic. After participating in a few Tai Chi classes in both the peninsula and San Francisco, I have felt them somewhat incomplete. Continuing further research, I found that Chen style Taiji is the proper fit for me; thus eventually bringing me to the Hunyuan Taiji Academy. When I first arrived, I was greeted by Malcolm in a warm comfortable practice studio. Within our first conversation, I immediately had the sense of total transparency of the Qigong and Taiji art forms taught here. After being granted temporary access to view the full range of classes, I definitely noticed room being made for the students to carry away what they need from the practice; may it be healing, martial, or otherwise. In the more senior classes, I was amazed to really see the bond of the mind and body result in the creation of such visible inner strength. It was that point, I decided to align with the Academy. Just after about a month of taking classes I found myself incorporating the practice into everyday life and situations. This practice has made me more aware of myself both physically and mentally. The Qigong and Taiji have also helped me develop the tools to negotiate this awareness to guide me back to center. I would highly recommend the San Francisco Hunyuan Taiji Academy for anyone who is looking for self-discovery, better health, or complete Taiji training experience.” — Rudy V.


“I went to my first Taiji class last October as another attempt to get myself to exercise more, it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Now, Taiji is a significant part of my life and I plan to continue it indefinitely. Currently I am going through graduate school, which equals to a crazy schedule and constant stress, but with the help of Taiji, I have remained much healthier than otherwise. Even if I begin the class tired and stressed, after every class, I feel much more relaxed and content.

What I most enjoy about Taiji is that you can begin at any time and gradually you learn more and delve deeper; and there is always more to learn and experience. It can also be as meditative or as martial as you want. I am now more aware of my body at rest and in motion. My posture has greatly improved and I am able to relax more easily. Outside of class, the form and the meditation exercises can be done anywhere and anytime.

Learning Taiji from Malcolm has been a great pleasure; he is an excellent teacher! When he is teaching the form, he will explain each move in how it functions energetically, spiritually, and martially, which greatly helps me to understand and remember each move. He gives each student individual attention that is tuned to their ability. I feel really lucky that Malcolm is my Taiji teacher and I hope to continue to learn from him for years to come.” — Yan Yan M.


“I have been practicing Qigong and Taiji with Malcolm for at least seven years now and would like to share my thoughts and experiences. I started by doing only Qigong for three years before attempting Taiji and am glad I did so. Practicing Qigong gave me a clear sense of the basics I would need to then learn the Taiji form, including how to move from the inside out. I am now 79 years old and feel better grounded and more balanced in my body than ever before. Taiji continues to provide me with a sense of inner harmony. Malcolm’s devotion to teaching and his patience with his students have deepened my appreciation for this very satisfying and fulfilling way of interacting with the world.” — Susan S.


“I have been studying with Malcolm for five or so years and his classes have become a necessary part of my exercise routine. His attention to the whole body, and focus on integrating it with each move keeps my body flexible, strong, and balanced.” — Adam K.


I turn 57 next week and for once in at least 20 years I am looking forward to getting older. After 2 major and 10 minor surgeries on my lower back, combined with many years of daily morphine use for chronic pain, I am now off all narcotics, am relatively pain free, and completing each Hunyuan Taiji & Qigong class. That’s 9 hrs/week! Sweet.

Last year I made up my mind that my priorities needed to change; my rapidly deteriorating health, pain leading to inactivity and weight gain etc., finally pushed me over the edge. I had to do something but was extremely limited in ability to move as well as having no endurance. I knew Taiji would help me, and I began my search which led to Malcolm. I have had a long interest and some prior martial arts many, many years ago so I knew what I was looking for and Malcolm kindly consented to private lessons beginning last October. Let’s just say my lessons consisted of me bombarding Malcolm with questions as it was apparent that I was not able to physically perform the moves of the form, until, one day when discussing the importance of integrating meditation into your practice, Malcolm was aligning me into the Zhan Zhuang “standing post” meditation posture and the nerve pinched in post surgery all those years ago seemingly popped free and almost all of my pain went away. I almost cried.

Anyway, except for a few tweaks here and there, the pain did not come back and I began reducing the narcotics and was finished end of February. I was set to retire from my business at the same time, and am now devoting myself to learning Hunyuan Taiji. By end of February I did not have to rest or lie down during the class like earlier in the month. Now nearing the end of March, not only am I completing the scheduled classes, but practice at least another hour or more on Friday, Saturday and Sundays. I’m also able to do household chores, run errands, go for walks with my ever-loving wife, things I have not been able to do without paying for it in massive pain for years!

Yes, I have been busting my butt, but I most definitely give all the credit to Malcolm Dean and his teachings at the SF Hunyuan Taiji Academy for my feeling and looking at least 20 years younger. Sorta. And I am not even finished!

Teaching Taiji, getting to the core, is difficult, but Sifu Dean does an excellent job. I have been his student since 2008 and a lineage disciple since 2015, and I intend to keep practicing with him for as long as he continues to teach his online classes. I highly recommend his classes in Qigong and Taiji.” — Kevin D.


“I’ve been taking both Dynamic and Primordial Qigong classes with Malcolm for about half a year and it’s had a fantastically positive impact on my life. I move better, have grown stronger in my legs and core, my joints are smoother and my balance has improved. I particularly enjoy the feeling of floating I get after Sunday morning Primordial Qigong, like I could run up a mountain!  Malcolm tailors his classes to all the students, guiding each one as suits them best.” — Nicholas C.


[Editor’s note: Dijaz is a native of Brazil, and English is his second language. I have not changed any of his words, only a few punctuation marks.]

It’s a bit hard to summarize in a short text what a gift studying Tai Chi has being to my days. It’s now part of me as I would never think it could when I first saw a few people practicing this art at a park about 10 years ago. Now I wish I had joined them right away, undoubtedly I’m happy for taking the action step and looking for a teacher in SF.

Malcolm’s first question to me was “why do you want to practice it?” Well, I’ve read histories, a little info about it, and made up a superficial idea of improving energy flow throughout the body, choreography/movement—which is a plus for me as I love dancing—a bit of meditation and a healthy philosophy. But sincerely? Now I’m seeing how beyond that it goes. It has helped me with concentration, understanding better my own body, balance, it has improved my ankle’s recovery—I had a bad-bad sprain last year—now I feel I want it for the rest of my life and I’m becoming myself a Tai Chi evangelist!

Apart from that, Malcolm also asked me what did I feel for martial arts. “Not really my thing. I never like fights, body combat or ‘violence’! I want it more because of the energy-meditation-philosophy side.” He smiled and said “Ok, we’ll see.”

Naïve boy! Now I just love how it is all about your own self, your own body, movements, state of mind and relaxation than it is about any form of combat. For me it is fantastic how it flows like a dance, comprehend like yoga, understands as philosophy while it is ever still as meditation. Malcolm has a perceivable pleasure passing on the knowledge, art and teachings of this vast and, as I now see it, essential culture.

If you ask me “Should I?”—I’d just say “Relax and flow with it!” — Dijaz I., forro dancer, Brazil



“In early 2014, after spending a few boring years going to a gym, I decided to set out on a quest to find good Tai Chi classes in San Francisco. I had tried Tai Chi a couple of times over the previous ten years, but didn’t stick with it. After test-driving a couple of studios and a fairly exhaustive online search I came across the San Francisco Hunyuan Taiji Academy, now known as Luminous Ground Online School of Taiji and Qigong. What caught my eye was a requirement that a few months of Qigong practice were required before entering the beginning Tai Chi class. The beginning class. I contacted the lead instructor Malcolm Dean via email and said that it looked like the academy took Tai Chi seriously. Malcolm’s response was “Yes indeed, we take it very seriously.” After our initial meeting I signed up and have been studying Tai Chi and Qigong with Luminous Ground for over eight years. I do Tai Chi and Qigong classes every day and at the tender age of sixty-nine I can honestly say that I am in the best mental, physical, and energetic shape that I have been in in years. Just because it’s serious doesn’t mean it’s not fun. I now look forward to practicing every morning and know that I will for the rest of my life.”          — Jack O., a dedicated beginner



“I have been asked by friends and acquaintances on several occasions to describe what kind of an art Tai Chi is. It’s like someone asking you to describe what dessert is. Just saying, “it’s the sweet thing you eat at the end of a meal” doesn’t really explain anything. Trying to describe the diversity of various desserts probably won’t do much good either. The perfect response would be to say, “Oh, you want to know about dessert? Time to put on your coat and we’ll go to the bakery”. The same applies to Tai Chi; there is no reasonable way to explain what it is in a conventional conversation; it really needs to be tasted.

In the same way that cakes, brownies, and cookies share similarities, yet have very little in common with pudding or ice cream, all qualify as desserts. Different Tai Chi schools can be equally diverse. Over the centuries, Tai Chi practices have branched in various directions to the point that some practices seem to contradict others. This can be fairly confusing, especially if one is concerned with attending a school that is authentic.

An authentic school and genuine teacher are precisely what I have found at San Francisco Hunyuan Taiji Academy. Malcolm teaches an extremely refined form of Tai Chi. Most importantly, he also offers classes devoted to exploring the fundamental principles which energize the movements of the form, as well as classes focusing on the energetic nature of this system of motion. All of the different classes are complete exercises in themselves, each concentrating on specific aspects of Tai Chi training. These classes complement one another, and together form an integrated, tangible recipe for learning the Hunyuan Taiji system.

The Tai Chi that Malcolm teaches is a very natural art; the basic movements are relatively simple and direct, and are practiced in a calm and gentle manner. Tai Chi can be enjoyed by anyone who takes the time to study, regardless of age, experience, or athletic ability. It is literally a universal exercise. Although comprised of a series of natural movements, Tai Chi is also a very sophisticated martial art. And although Tai Chi practice involves learning a comprehensive fighting system, the self-defense applications are based upon keeping the body calm and relaxed, which requires a calm and stable frame of mind. 

For me, studying Tai Chi is a way of placing my attention on the movements of my body, which naturally has the effect of stabilizing my frame of mind. This stability can then be expressed more thoroughly through my body, as my attention and motion begin to harmonize. The degree to which attention and movement can integrate determines the level a Tai Chi practitioner has reached—it is that simple. The “secret” to the art is where the practitioner places their attention. This is where Malcolm excels in his instruction. Every simple movement involves the entire body, and Malcolm consistently provides a detailed analysis of how to efficiently integrate the body into each motion. He then allows time for the body and attention to harmonize, until the analysis has been absorbed and the movement is natural. In this way, Malcolm gradually delves into deeper levels of practice, allowing each layer of relaxation to sink into the body and become second nature.

San Francisco Hunyuan Taiji Academy (and it’s new incarnation as Luminous Ground Online) is a school in which students of all walks of life have the opportunity to study and experience the various exercises that comprise Hunyuan Taiji. Malcolm has provided a framework in which his students are able to discover for themselves the benefits of Tai Chi practice, which enables each student to decide which aspects of this art are most suitable to their individual needs. I feel privileged with the opportunity to study with a teacher of Malcolm’s depth and understanding.” — Jesse L.


“When I first started working with Malcolm and Annie in the spring of 2021, I was experiencing often overwhelming physical pain symptoms linked to illness, injury, stress, and anxiety. After a year and a half of practicing qigong for 1-2 hours most days, I feel much better both physically and mentally. I have been able to return to full-time work and assume most of my other responsibilities as well. I love starting my day with our simple, grounding exercises, and I even get to exercise my imagination with the many visualizations inspired by Annie and my own experience of the class. I salute my teachers and my classmates for starting each day with me. Thank you, team!”  — Genevieve C. 


“The first thing I have to say is that Tai Chi is not just an art for old people in the park! Coming from a dance background, the first few months of Silk Reeling was almost like learning a new language. Tai Chi is a beautiful art but its purpose is not to be beautiful, it’s to be strong. It’s a quest to find your inner power and give it direction and purpose—the perfect antidote to years of movement arts focused on outward appearance. I soon learned from our teacher Malcolm that every one of our movements had a dual purpose. A seemingly innocent shoulder roll is really a defensive and an offensive move. I leave every class feeling empowered and have amazed my husband with new found self-defense moves and throws.

But the most amazing part about my experience at the Hunyuan Taiji Academy came a few months in, after muscle memory had set in and my mind was no longer so occupied with remembering each movement. What had been a muscular work-out (believe it or not—you’ll be sore after the first few classes!) was transformed into an energetic meditation.  When you start to feel the Chi moving (and you will!) it is the most amazing, energizing, inspiring feeling!  It’s like every cell in your body feels more alive, and it’s a feeling that you’ll bring with you back to the everyday world.

The skills that I have learned in class have strengthened my whole exercise routine. When I do Pilates, when I run, even when I’m just walking down the street, I can now layer that experience with what’s going on in my energetic body. That knowledge has improved my balance, my quality of movement, and my mental endurance. During weeks when I can barely motivate myself to walk the dog, I’ll go to class, get the energy flowing again, and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and ready to move. Tai Chi is like a gateway exercise because the more I do it, the more I want to keep moving, keep learning, keep growing. It’s something that I do for myself and it’s worth every penny.

When I walked into the studio for the first time, what really stood out to me was that Annie and Malcolm immediately offered me tea. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows your name, where people are warm and respectful. During breaks, fresh fruit and nuts are offered and the group gathers around the table like a large, happy, extended family. It’s that kind of personal service and attention to detail that makes the Hunyuan Taiji Academy such a special place. I’m proud to be a part of it.” — Claire S.


“Malcolm and Annie hold a warm and generous space every morning in which to practice within a community of supportive, curious people. Malcolm’s teaching is simultaneously embodied and intellectually rigorous, and attentive to student needs. Commuting has made it challenging for me to practice in the mornings, but Malcolm makes ongoing practice accessible and pleasant with his well-edited and organized class recordings.”  — Belinda H.


“I spent many years studying Krav Maga boxing, doing high intensity weight training and running. After an accident I sustained a mild traumatic brain injury and had to let all of that go. I was now involved in cognitive and physical rehabilitation. Devastated and depressed, I needed to find a form of movement that could complement my healing. Tai Chi has now become an integral part of my recovery. It has elevated my mood and I feel moments of vitality I have not experienced often since the accident. I feel my body awareness and balance have improved. It has a calming effect on my nervous system, greatly reducing my anxiety and stress. When I’m in class I feel present and peaceful. I look forward to studying Tai Chi with Malcolm for many years to come. I appreciate his patience, his encouragement and his ability to make learning something new seem so easy. He has been supportive not only of my Tai Chi practice, but also of my healing process.” — Joey J.


“I have been coming to classes since July 2011, taking the dynamic qiqong (silkreeling) and primordial qiqong classes. For me, this alone speaks volumes – I have not stayed this long with an organized physical activity since high school! The classes have helped me not only with my physical being: balance, posture, flexibility, strength, circulation, and toning, but also given me skills for cultivating centering and calmness. It is really a great way to start, or end, a day. Malcolm makes the environment very comfortable and welcoming to everyone. He is super knowledgeable and can lead a class of people who are at different stages while still evolving the concepts and keeping it interesting and for students who have been attending for a long time. It is a very open, supportive place for students of all experience levels and physical abilities.”           — Heather D.


Years of back problems had led to 2 surgeries and a lot of yoga… but nothing has helped me more than Qigong and Taiji to relieve the pain. Yes, I still have recurrences of back pain but they never last as long as they used to and are not as severe. Qigong exercises engage the whole body, breathing and mind. And they develop your inner energy, your own power. They looked simple to me when I started, but paying attention to all the details involved in one single movement in fact makes the exercises very complete, requiring full attention, patience and perseverance. Malcolm is a deeply dedicated teacher who helps us understand the challenges and rewards of this beautiful art of living that is Taiji. — Catherine K., France


“I can’t imagine my life without my daily qigong practice! At 77 years old, I lean heavily on a daily qigong practice to keep my mind engaged and alert, my body flexible and fit, and my spirit buoyant and optimistic. I love the convenience of practicing every morning with an online community from all over the world that share my self-care goals and love of qigong. 

In February I started taking 4 taiji classes each week. Because of my busy schedule I was not able to keep up my gym routine and I was concerned that I would regain the weight that I had lost over this past year. I am happy to report that my taiji practice seems to melt the inches off – it’s quite remarkable. My waist and hips have slimmed down by at least two inches in only 2 months and the midriff bulge on my ribcage is disappearing as well. In addition to the overall slimming, I feel taller, more erect in my posture. I have also been able to open up my hip joints and improve my balance which makes walking easier and more fluid. I am beginning to feel a little like a real athlete for the first time in my life. — Annie M.


“After seven months of following Malcolm on Zoom for a daily hour of Qigong practice, I say without exaggeration that my COVID-19 pandemic heebie-jeebies have eased. I live in Virginia so I join the class at 11 AM, already keyed up from a busy morning. The gracefully-focused movements tune up my “three bodies” to a relaxing harmony: my joints open up from the circular exercises; my nerves calm down in the soothing stillness; and my energy peaks from the brisk routines with the wooden staff. Renewal with Qigong has worked for me and I will be keeping up my membership for sure.” — Barbara C.


“I began learning Tai Chi with Malcolm soon after I turned 60. I found great joy in learning to move my body in new ways. It made me feel powerful and more in tune with my body. It soon became a passion and something that I looked forward to practising. A few years later, I had a stroke. I credit my training and practice in Tai Chi and Qigong, and the resulting awareness of my body and energy flow, with enabling me to recover more quickly and thoroughly than I would otherwise have been able to. Malcolm was able to help me learn to modify my practice both then and in the years since then, as needed. Tai Chi and Qigong are arts that I will be able to continue with throughout the rest of my life. There is always something new to learn as I deepen my practice. I am very grateful to have Malcolm as my teacher.” — Robyn T.


“Learning and practicing Hunyuan Qigong and Tai Chi has been nothing short of miraculous in how transformational these practices are.  Chronic back and joint pain have virtually disappeared since I have made this a daily practice. I have been working with Malcolm for almost five years and I do not regret a single moment of the time I have spent doing the internal work that goes far deeper than just learning choreography.” — Jill B.


“Malcolm and Annie have set up an excellent martial arts institution which caters to anyone, from total beginners to experts. I’m feeling much healthier and stronger since I started practicing Tai Chi at this school. Malcolm is a true master of Tai Chi. Every class you learn a bit more about your body and about yourself.” — Ran R.


As a surfer, soccer player, runner and swimmer, Taichi is a great complement to those sports. I also did Taekwondo for several years. I have tried several different taichi classes before and they just didn’t do it for me. This is not the case at SF Hunyuan. Chen style Taichi, the type we practice here is far more vigorous and practical (and actually forms the basis of fighting and grappling techniques) than Yang style Taichi which is what most people practice. Chen style sometimes moves slow, sometimes fast and has helped me to create far more body awareness and coordination in my core muscles. I am beginning to feel muscles and movements in my body which I didn’t even know existed or was capable of moving. Plus, I usually leave class feeling very relaxed and invigorated.

Malcolm is a highly knowledgable and patient teacher. He knows when to slow down and when to push things so that as students we are always maximizing our learning and understanding of the art.

I’ve been at this Studio studying with Malcolm and Annie for the last 3 plus years and the amount that I’ve learned is invaluable. Not only have I discovered a deeper level of martial arts and movement but I’ve discovered a fantastic and supportive community. If you want a real deal taichi experience this is the place. — Jonah L.


“I came to Malcolm years ago seeking a program that would ameliorate my long-time back problems. I found that and much more. As hoped, Qigong has done great things for my back for sure and I believe also for my general health. What has been unexpected is the “head health” that I derive from the practice, even as a balky and untalented student. The physical practice of Taiji and Qigong opens the door to psychological and spiritual well-being not obvious at first, or even after awhile. Malcolm is a born teacher, and his mastery of the practice is profound. He invites you in and you take what you find for yourself. Malcolm teaches both the spiritual and physical aspects beautifully and is a worthy master from a distinguished line of Taiji masters.”   — JMc