Category Archives: Taiji

What Goes On – The Amazing – The Pathetic and The Opportunity

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a recent morning view from my lanai

What goes on in your heart – what goes on in your mind (Lou Reed)? the spiritual and the mundane live right next to each other and can be one and the same. I have written about the spiritual aspect of the Velvet Underground elsewhere, but here is what goes on in my heart and mind now. This year I have taught 5 or 6 classes on Ayurvedic cooking using principles that go back 5 000 years to the Vedas, and are designed to create the food that is healthy, great tasting and helps create balance in specific ways tailored for you now. Most of these classes were held at my humble semi-out-door kitchen on the beautiful shores of Kaneohe Bay. Ayurveda is not an abstract concept, but adjusts to your singular daily needs. Recently I cooked a variation of the basic ayurvedic rice, beans and vegetable stew called kitchadi for a family every day for a week.  The result of a greatly improved digestive system especially for the person who was suffering the most from digestive problems before.

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Brown basmati rice, mung beans, pumkin, broccoli, goat cheese, ayurvedic ginger appetizer on a leaf of shiso.

Last month, I had the pleasure of teaching an Ayurvedic cooking class at the Honolulu Down to Earth.  The class was held in DTE’s community room kitchen and fully equipped with cameras and projection of the cooking process.  The attendees were genuinely curious and open minded group which made for a fun and interesting class.  A great break through came when I taught a two day class on Maui organized by Ayurvedic doctor Sylvia Welchel.  The Maui classes consisted of 15 women that were highly motivated and familiar with concepts of holistic medicine, one of them being a chef.  I was very excited with the high vibration of the class.

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Ti Leaves collected and arranged by Na’ilima Ahuna

I had asked a women, whom I’ll call Suzanne, to help steer a mix of ghee and spices. I noticed something in her eyes which will remain unspoken. Later I noticed that Suzanne was missing and thought that she had gone to the bathroom.  Upon her return, I noticed a different glimmer in her eyes but didn’t think much more about it, being that I was quite busy teaching and cooking, while engaging in dialogue with everyone.

After class Sylvia, my collaborator and I sat down and she asked me if I knew what had happened to Suzanne. This is her story. Suzanne had lost her sense of smell as a child, caused by her mother’s incessant smoking. She never cooked and had developed a heavy eating disorder. During the cooking, Suzanne had had a breakdown and breakthrough. Sylvia took her into her treatment room. Suzanne was able to “feel the smell of the cooking food.” Indeed, a major breakthrough. My answer was, “if this is the only outcome of the whole weekend, all the prep, shopping, flying to Maui, etc it would still be more than amazing. If that would be the only thing I ever did, it would be ok.

My next cooking class will be held on EARTH day April 22 9 AM-12 PM. Location TBA.

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living, working, eating, yoga all right here

Now, my landlord, who studied to be a doctor and then had a heart attack likes to get his rent check on time. He is not of the belief that I should live for free in his house because I do such good things and get him the newspaper most days. He is in a wheelchair. Living in Hawaii has its price. My rent is $ 1590.-, which after living here for eight years, I can almost consider a bargain. This is what I had to do to pay rent this month. Get as much cash advance from my second credit card, the first one is already maxed out, put in the cash I had made the day before for a private cooking class, and use my $ 500 ‘covercheck’ that covers bounced  checks. All this creates more interest and puts me deeper into depth. I have applied for social security and will get about $ 500 monthly, once it gets through and I will probably get Medicaid 2, and I might have health insurance for the first time in 17 years. For those of you who don’t know, I make my living through selling art, teaching art, yoga, taiji and ayurvedic cooking, house painting and occasionally I sell one of the NYN 7′ re-issue. Recently a gallery has sold a painting of mine on layaway. That is great. Really? Layaway? I didn’t know that existed still and I have no idea when I get paid. Another gallery has more than $ 20 000 worth of my paintings. I also have a good amount of paintings and prints at my house. Needless to say, this is the last month I can pull this off, because now everything is maxed out. Pathetic, ridiculous and stressful. I am not asking for charity. So how do you help an artist? Buy her/his art.

Here is your opportunity and here is some affordable art that is guaranteed to inspire your soul.

  1. Sri Yantra, woodcuts at $50 a piece for you yogis and meditators. for more on the Yantras. Yantra, Mandala, Pop-up        Sri
  2. Inspirational woodcut cards. Each one a unique print.10 for $ 90. Some of the cards are scanned at 3 200 DPI and can be printed at pretty much any size. They look amazing blown up. Allow.DR.72dpi.jpg
  3. NYN vinyl 7′ re-issue limited hand numbered 1…/250. On the record and other multiples.
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  4. “100 Views of Taiji” Archival print of 100 paintings,                                                      hand signed and numbered, $ 100        FA
  5. “Gold Waves” giclee of an oil painting 50″ x 64″, or any smaller size. on request, I’ll paint over the giclee. When I Paint my Masterpiece and more paintings. Earth – Water – Sky

DieterRunge GoldWavesBottom 50×64 200, 6/18/15, 5:22 PM, 8C, 10918×14081 (162+720), 150%, Custom, 1/8 s, R39.3, G30.5, B49.7

Of course there is much more. Check out the rest of the site and contact me directly at

If you like to know more about What Goes On, here is a heartfelt version of one of my favorite VU tunes recorded at my house a couple of years ago.  I think I might play this song as long as I can hold a guitar:

We have used Alice Neel as band name for a few years. When Will Williams II Stephen Niles and I formed the band, being all painters the name fell into our laps via Stephen’s great mind. Here is a clip with the real Alice: Inside New York’s Art World: Alice Neel. Music is on hiatus for the moment. When I start a new band there will be a new name.

As always, with much love and Aloha, dieter

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at a recent wedding – polaroids are popular again.



100 views of taiji (singles)

Here are all the 100 paintings oil on canvas, 8″ x 10.” For more on the genesis of these paintings and the new giclee print of them click here.

100 VIEWS OF TAIJI (genesis & fine art print)

My practice of taiji turns into works of art.



   This fine art digital print (giclee, see below) of all 100 oil paintings is now available directly from the artist. Archival ink on archival paper, 18″x 24″.

It is available in three versions, 1. just the print on paper, shipped in a roll, 2. mounted on 1/4 foam, sprayed with an archival grade UV- anti fungal protective coating. and a piece of hardware in the back for easy hanging and 3. mounted in a floating wood frame. This includes the sprayed coat and the wire for hanging. All prints are numbered and signed by the artist and will come with a certificate of authenticity.

                                                       Detail of print in floater frame with signature


The author in front of installation of “100 VIEWS OF TAIJI” Soullenz Gallery, 2005. The ‘100 views’ had been shown first at Soullenz in 2003

“This is what I have been looking for my whole life,” is what I felt when I first experienced taiji in New York City in the spring of 1982. I have studied and practiced taiji since then. My main teachers have been Mantak Chia and T.K. Shieh in New York, and since early 1991 Dong Zeng-Chen and Alex Dong in Hawaii. I have participated in many taiji camps and travelled to China and Hong Kong four times. I teach taiji on Oahu’s Windward Side since 1992 and some of the same students are still with me today.


Some of my students getting ready for a performance at the Puohala Senior Center

Taiji-quan is a martial art that developed about 300 years ago, but has its roots much further back and is based on the Daoist theory of the ever changing dynamic relationship between yin and yang. By now it “has established itself as one of the world’s major sciences of self-cultivation. By fusing movement and metaphysics, it has taken its place alongside India’s yoga and the great systems of meditation which have arisen from time immemorial in all places.”  Douglas Wile

Around 2000  I begun to explore taiji through drawings, woodcuts and oil paintings, trying to capture its energy. Just like my ocean paintings I am lured by the subjects of my passions, taiji, yoga, sailing, windsurfing, kitesurfing, swimming…, to delve deeper through art.


                                          ‘Self Portrait with Sword’ 72″ x 48″, charcoal on paper, ca 2001/3

                                                  Two taiji sketches, 8  x 10″, pencil, crayon on paper.

“100 VIEWS of TAIJI” , oil on canvas, 8″ x 10.” In the summer of 2003 I painted 100 small canvases from the taiji long form as inspired by the 1 1/2″ x 2 3/2″ big black and white photographs in Tung Chen-Chieh’s Red Book and my own years of practice. Old black and white photos are ever fascinating and besides the dynamic form of my teacher’s grandfather I was also drawn to the aesthetic of the simple studio set up and the shadows on the folds of the curtain. I assume these photos were taken in the late 40’s, but stand to be corrected.

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Two pages from the Red Book by Tun Ying Chieh

The premise was, to create one hundred paintings, using oil on canvas and develop as many different approaches as I could muster, trying to express the energy and spirit of taiji. I painted one or more a day and was done by the time school started again in the fall. 98 of them were painted in one setting. Only two of them took some adjustment. #45 did not work so I scraped the paint off and voila, there was a ghost image left. Just perfect, the energy left in the room, once the master had moved on. I added a few broad strokes to # 100 in a second session. Since I painted the poses in the order they appear in the taiji set, the taiji adept can follow the form and you can see how my approach evolved.

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Five taiji paintings/100 8″ x 10″ oil on canvas, dieter runge 2003.


                                     “100 VIEWS OF TAIJI” Installation at  Soullenz Gallery 2003

Previously, I had done a series of pastel drawings on taiji in Ron Kowalke‘s drawing class at the University of Hawaii.

                                                              ‘TAIJI’ , 18″ x 24″, pastel on paper

The ” 100 VIEWS OF TAIJI’ were shown in Honolulu’s Chinatown twice, at the Hamilton Library at UH Manoa, and selected pieces were shown in Hong Kong at the Dong Family Taiji gathering in 2007. Now 60 of them are in private collection in Berlin and the rest are in Hong Kong, New York, Montreal, Honolulu, Makawao, Kula and other places. 


Dong Zeng-chen, Janet Jin and the author at Soullenz Gallery, 2005

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                                                    Slideshow of a selection of “100 Views of Taiji.”

Giclée (/ʒiːˈkleɪ/ zhee-KLAY or /dʒiːˈkleɪ/) is a neologism coined in 1991 by printmaker Jack Duganne for fine art digital prints made on inkjet printers. The name originally applied to fine art prints created on Iris printers in a process invented in the late 1980s but has since come to mean any inkjet print (Wipikidia).

Taiji-quan literally means “Supreme Ultimate Boxing and is an internal martial art. It is practiced in different forms and uses weapons like staff, sticks and swords or push-hands with a partner. in this video I demonstrate the taiji dao, the broadsword, which represents the yang energy or the tiger.

“The Meaning of the Taiji symbol lies in the mutual production of yin and yang, the complementary exchange of hard and soft, the thousand changes and ten thousand transformations. This is the basis of taiji quan.” Douglas Wile

As Inspiration for the name “One Hundred Views of Taiji” I give credit to the Japanese printmaker Hiroshige’s One Hundred Famous Views of Edo, and Hokusai’s even more famous series on Mount Fuji.

Sources: T’ai-chi Touchstones: Yang Family Secret Transmissions, Compiled and translated by Douglas Wile, Sweet Ch’i Press, Brooklyn , New York, 1983

To the different spelling: Taiji Quan = Tai Chi Chuan like Bejing and Peking or Mumbay and Bombay, like  Qi Gong and Chi Kung, like Dong and Tung.

The photos of the Red Book and some English explanations on which the “100 Views” are based.

Lineage: Tung Ying Chieh was one of the main disciples of Yang Chen Fu, the founder of Yang style taiji, Tung Fu Ling was his son and Jasmine Tung his daughter. Dong Zeng Chen and Tung Kai Ying are Tung Fu Ling’s sons. Alex Dong is Dong Zeng Chen’s son and Tung Chen Wei is Tung Kai Ying’s son. Besides having studied with Dong Zeng Chen and Alex Dong, I had also the pleasure to travel or hang out with Tung Kai Ying, Jasmine Tung and Tung Chen Wei in China, Hong Hong and on Oahu. The Tung/Dong family taiji is known for its grace, softness, dynamic power and martial prowess. It is said that you first must develop softness in order to develop power. If you have softness an oponent is not able to touch you.

Thanks to all my teachers and the many teachers before them. Special thanks to William Kelly, my New York friend and film maker, who assembled the 100 images in the grid and first came up with this idea; my deep gratitude to Miles Christsen my friend, drummer and owner of printlogic in Kailua, were this project is being realized.

Tung Ying Chieh

Tung Fu Ling  –  Jasmine Tung

Dong Zeng Chen  –  Tung Kai Ying

Alex Dong    –  Tung Chen Wei

Chip Ellis’ site is a great resource on Dong Taiji

Addition August 2016: A few days ago my taiji friend Sylvain Deschenes from the Montreal Taiji Club send me this photo standing next to the late Jasmine Tung in front of the “100 Views” at my former home on Kailua’s Pu’ukani Pl, taken on March 1st 2005. Jasmine Tung was in Hawaii to do research on a book about her father Tung Ying Chieh. Aunt Jasmine as I called her was a graceful and inspirational and well respected taiji master. She stayed at a b&b next door and I was fortunate to hang out, take walks on the beach and hike with her. I had also travelled with her in China and participated in a Don/Tung family gathering in Hong Hong in 2007. Several of the above paintings ended up in her possession.

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The author with taiji master Jasmine Tung in front of “100 Views of Taiji”, Kailua, March 2005


Taiji symbol on wood, Purple Cloud Temple, Wudang Mountains, 2005