We had the good fortune of connecting with Tav Byerhoff and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tav, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I had been doing kung fu for about 10 years or so when my teacher asked me if I wanted to move to LA to help him open a school. It was an opportunity to potentially get much better at something I loved to do and the idea of teaching as a living – doing what I loved to do and get paid to do it, like so many entrepreneurs, seemed like a perfect situation.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I teach Kung Fu and Tai Chi and Group Fitness Classes – that job description is not that unique in Los Angeles of course, but specifically I have studied a very uncommon style of Kung Fu called Eagle Claw for over 20 years, as well as Wu Tai Chi which is also somewhat uncommon. I have studied a wide range of fitness modalities from power-lifting to kettlebell to dynamic calisthenics and I’ve dedicated myself to being the best teacher I can be at what I do. I also went to college for Kinesiology with an emphasis on Exercise Science and Injury Rehabilitation so I draw from all of these influences as a teacher. When this whole Covid shut down happened I moved all of my teaching online and I recently launched an online learning portal for Eagle Claw Kung Fu and Wu Tai Chi that I’m really excited about. With this program people from all over the world are able to learn kung fu regardless of whether they have access to an in person teacher and I’m really happy with how effective the video courses have been in helping people learn. It is one of the silver linings of this whole pandemic, having the opportunity to reach beyond what we did previously, to adapt and grow – whether we like it or not! Over the years I think the one thing that I’m most proud of, what I think is my greatest success and my raison d’être as a teacher is connecting to people in a meaningful way, sharing something that can be so transformative and seeing and hearing how my student’s practice has changed their lives. What I’ve come to learn is that we are only here for a short while and ego and selfishness really get you nowhere; sharing, community and connecting with others is really what it’s all about. I’m looking forward to growing the online teaching program both through the live classes I’m doing online and the On-Demand program and being able to connect with people who want to learn Kung Fu or Tai Chi.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I always prefer the low key spots in LA and I lived mostly on the east side. I’m huge into coffee so the Commissary in Glendale, Kumquat in Highland Park, Town Pizza, Triple Beam, Scoops Ice Cream, I can eat pizza, coffee and ice cream pretty much all day so places around there are my spots. So-Cal beaches are unbeatable so Malibu or Santa Monica – though theyre a slog to get to, are beautiful places to be. A nice drive up the 2 freeway through the Angeles Forest in the winter is a great day escape from the busy city below.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Thanks first to my family who are a guiding and motivating force in my life. To my Kung Fu teacher Master Benson Lee, to my fitness mentor Chip Conrad and to all the people I’ve had the chance to teach over the years and who have supported my school – thanks so much!
Portrait by Alex Bitar