My name is Benjamin Benefiel and I live in Phoenix, Arizona, USA with my wife and two young daughters. On January 21, 2018, I became Master Chen Zhonghua’s 259th disciple along with taiji brother Winston Wang. I grew up near Chicago, Illinois before moving to Phoenix area for graduate school in 1999. My appreciation of martial arts began as a child with karate lessons and a love of ‘kung fu cinema’. During my 20s and early 30s, I studied various styles of martial arts intermittently (including Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, and Deng family Sengmenquan, as well as a very small amount of experience with Yang style Taiji which was taught only as a health exercise). Chen style Taijiquan always held a strong fascination for me, but I was never fortunate enough to find a teacher.
I discovered Chen Style Practical Method in 2014 while looking for a form of exercise that would help me deal with some old injuries to my back and knee. By chance, I discovered that one of Master Chen’s disciple’s, Ping Wei, lived very near to me. After only my first lesson with Ping, it was clear that this style of training was very different than anything I had done before. It was after my first year of practice that I met Master Chen at a weekend workshop. Unlike many teachers I had encountered previously, Master Chen was willing to touch hands and demonstrate his skill and what made Practical Method unique. From the moment I fell to the ground, dazed and confused after Master Chen touched me, I was determined to learn as much as I could about his art. I continued to train regularly and eventually began to learn the sword form androutine. I was convinced that Practical Method was what I had been searching for my entire life. Near the end of 2017, after several months of introspection and with Ping’s support, I petitioned Master Chen for discipleship. It was with great surprise and joy that he accepted me into the Practical Method family. I hope that I am able to live up to the honor that has been entrusted to me, and promote Practical Method wherever I can.