Judith Rew has been training in traditional Yang style tai chi with Holly Sweeney-Hillman since 2002. Her interest in martial arts started in 1987 in New York City, where she began training in Shotokan karate and women's self defense. Feeling vulnerable after being a crime victim sent her to the class initially, but an interest in martial arts was born (as was her inner "female warrior"). After moving to Montclair in 1989, she went on to train in first Shotokan and then Goju Ru Okinawan style karate until a serious back injury forced her to stop in 2001 and she realized she needed to find a more therapeutically wise martial art.
This led her to Holly Sweeney-Hillman where she knew immediately that she was "home." In 2005 she traveled to China with fellow Tai Chi Montclair students where she attended training classes with Master Yang Zhenduo and Master Yang Jun. Her love of the Chinese language and culture were also awakened during that trip and she has studied Mandarin since. She plans to return to China this summer, 2012, and once again join in the Yang Family China Adventure. She has achieved her Level Two Silver Eagle rank and hopes to take her third level ranking exam this summer.
In 2010, at Holly Sweeney-Hillman's suggestion, she began training to teach and took over Holly's intermediate class in 2011 when Holly decided to focus her teaching in Bedminster, NJ. Judith now teaches beginner and intermediate classes in Montclair, an introductory tai chi class at Essex County College in Newark, and a once-a-month tai chi group for members of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. At Essex County College her class is required for the residents of a women's alcohol and drug abuse treatment center. While challenging, she finds these young women quite inspirational and their energy and good spirits infective. It is gratifying to believe that tai chi and her class are contributing to the healing process of them as well as all her students.
Judith has been a graphic designer for more than 30 years. She created and maintains websites for both Tai Chi Montclair and Center Director Holly Sweeney-Hillman's studio in Bedminster. While she loves this profession, she also finds the job, with it's many hours spent alone in front of a computer, less than healthy for the mind, body and spirit and both the practice and teaching of tai chi are increasingly indispensable in her life. She feels like the journey is just beginning.
Judith was born in Des Moines, Iowa in 1953 and spent most of her childhood outside of Chicago. Growing up she was surrounded by music, religion, foreign language study, and politics but has no memory of ever being exposed to martial arts. She studied Mass Communications, English, and Typography at the University of Iowa where she completed a B.A. and one year of graduate study. She moved to New York City in 1979 and has made the east coast her home ever since, along with her husband and their two children, both in their twenties.Judith Rew
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