Lee Ann Benko
Shima (teacher/master) Lee Ann Benko has been exploring, learning, and teaching martial arts and bodywork/energy healing for over twenty years. She is dedicated to helping you to understand how to discover and channel your vital energy or qi for empowerment, healing, and positive change.
Lee Ann’s search to understand our life force started in college, couched in the conventional terms of scientific laws, biological order, and chemical formulas. Her path leaned towards healing as she entered a Ph.D. program to study Toxicology. But Lee Ann was drawn towards something else, something unnamed and more promising.
Mid-quarter 1992, taking her cocker spaniel in her arms, Lee Ann followed her intuition, climbed into her little Honda, and drove to Alaska. Through a misaddressed invitational postcard that landed in her new Anchorage mailbox back in 1995, Lee Ann attended her first class with Master Shifu Tao Shih Pei Wo Lun at the Oriental Healing Arts Center. She is still learning and taking his classes. (When the student is ready the teacher will come – it just took finding the right teacher). Through Shifu’s guidance and the specialized teachings of Tai Chi/Healing Masters Jingjingye, Wu, Zhang, and Yuxuan Zhang, LeeAnn has discovered the many-faceted treasures of oriental healing/martial practices.
- Through the circling form of Bagua she mastered methods to sidestep unnecessary energetic confrontation.
- Hsing Yi gave her an alternate style to directly approach the heart of a matter.
- Chen style tai chi with its horse stance and powerful postures became Lee Ann’s personal favorite for its primal sense of power.
- Yang style tai chi developed the ability to deflect negative energy.
- Shaolin Kung Fu grew her linear strength.
- Learning sword form brought grace and elegance into all her movements.
- The sight of a metal fan in a storefront intuitively drew LeeAnn into a seven-year daily practice to perfect fan form – revealing her capacity for dedication to learning and mastering the forms.
On several trips to Beijing, where Chinese healing philosophy is deeply integrated throughout the culture, Lee Ann would pass crowds of people practicing Tai Chi Chuan in the parks on her way to the Beijing Hospital. There, she would take the elevator past the floor and offices dedicated to western medicine up to the Tuina floor where she would learn alongside master healers how to use this ancient Chinese therapy to heal patients.
Lee Ann sees Tuina as a powerful synergy that uses tissue manipulation and acupressure to channel the external energies of martial arts with the internal healing patterns of meditation and qi gong. In keeping with Lee Ann’s heartfelt advocacy for self-healing, don’t be surprised if you get a gentle suggestion to sign up for a Tai Chi Chuan or Qigong class as you are leaving.
Whether leading a meditation circle with adult women, teaching Tai Chi Chuan in the park to the general public, or helping children learn Kung Fu, Lee Ann enthusiastically teaches people of all ages how to take personal control of their health. Join Lee Ann in one of her classes or schedule an appointment. She will help you bring more energy into your life and lead you down the path to your healing.
EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND
1989 BS Biology/Chemistry
2002 Licensed Massage Therapist
2007 Certified Thai Yoga Massage Therapist
2007 Certified Tuina Medical Acupressure Therapist
2007 Certified Medical Qigong Therapist
2008 Certified Traditional Taoist Herbal Apprentice
2008 Certified Tuina training in Beijing, China
2009 Certified Tai Chi 10 Instructor
2011 Certified Tai Chi 108 Instructor
2013 Certified Tuina training in Beijing, China
2013 Tai Chi training in Beijing, China with Master Xuxuan Zhang
2015 Certified Tuina training in Beijing, China
2016 Tai Chi training in Shanghai, China with Master Yuxuan Zhang
Tuina Medical Acupressure Therapy Instructor & Program Director
Annual China trip Coordinator
Tai Chi/Kung Fu Instructor
Admissions Officer Alaska Institute of Oriental Medicine,
Acupuncture & Massage Therapy