The Tai Chi Natural Health Club has helped people live healthier, more relaxed and balanced lives since 1985. We have educated our community through the mind-body exercises Tai Chi and Qi Gong; the healing modalities of acupuncture, herbal medicine, and body work; cooking classes; and nutritional and lifestyle counseling. We offer these hands-on experiences that can help you meet your goals of feeling better, staying healthier, and fulfilling your human potential.


Wendy Ballen began studying Tai Chi Chuan with Chang I-Chung in 1981. She was a natural foods baker at Staff of Life Bakery in Santa Cruz, CA, where she met Mr. Chang and his senior student Joe Deisher. They bonded over countless discussions on how to make a better ginger cookie. Under the guidance of Mr. Chang, Wendy took over teaching classes in Santa Cruz in 1985.Wendy received a master’s degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine from Five Branches University, Santa Cruz, in 1994. She is an acupuncturist licensed nationally and in California State  and practices in Santa Cruz. Wendy is also a professional sculptor, working in wire. She received a BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz, in 1980. You can see her work at http://www.wendyballenart.com.

Sid Fontana has a background in meditation that spans more than 40 years. Also a long-time student of Chang I-Chung, Sid has taught Tai Chi, Qi Gong, and Ba Gua since 1985, with a focus on sparring. He has developed a practical way to teach “Lifestyle Qi Gong,” bringing ease and simplicity into his students’ lives.


Sid and Wendy were both students of Chang I-Chung in the early eighties, on different sides of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They met when Mr. Chang held a Tai Chi retreat at the Mount Madonna Center. They became great friends and practice partners. They both started teaching Tai Chi under Mr. Chang’s guidance, and eventually merged their businesses and lives. Wendy and Sid have found both the art of the practice and the practicality  of the accompanying lifestyle fulfilling and sustaining. They love teaching Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and deeply appreciate the friendships with students that they have developed through their work.

5 thoughts on “About

  1. Greg Dunn

    Hi Wendy and Syd,Been to Alaska and back to Santa Cruz for 2 days and had to go to So. Calif where I am at till July 15. I have been very negligent about Tai Chi but would like to rejoin when I get home. Is that ok?
    Many Thanks
    Greg Dunn

  2. Bill Vail

    Sid & Wendy, Not sure if Sid could get through on our email. My home phone # is 425-249-7161, cell is 425-399-4690. Really hope we can connect. Good tidings, Bill

  3. Bill Vail

    Sid and Wendy, This an old friend, sometimes known as Strider. Very happy to find you, dropped the connection somewhere along the way of life. Sid would love to find an easy cord, let me know if interested. Love to you both, Billy

    1. wballen@taichisantacruz.com Post author

      Hi Bill, just got your message. I gave Sid your email address. He’s happy to hear from you, and will be in touch. Love to you, Wendy


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