November 4th, 2015 by Jan

I heard the news of Carpet Jan’s death this morning.


His real name was Jan Vanderspek. I met him 30 years ago, when he wandered into a Tai Chi class in Eugene, OR.

To tell the truth, he was a bit of a klutz and Mr. Chan, my teacher at the time, sent me to work with him.

Mr. Chan said he couldn’t tell white people apart — so to avoid confusion, I was renamed “Woman Jan” and because the other Jan owned a carpet store… he became, what else?… “Carpet Jan.”

Carpet Jan and I were relegated to the school’s hallway during class time. The rest of the class were taught  by Mr. Chan and we would sneak peaks every once in a while. Still, my marching orders were to teach Carpet Jan how to walk!

Carpet Jan was 25 years my senior, and while, I might have had a hand in teaching him some Tai Chi, he taught me many life lessons.

He did tell me that  he had been embarrassed to be pulled out of the class, obviously in need of special help. Then, he turned it all around for both of us.

Forget being one of…. private lessons are the way to go!

As I think of him now, it was Carpet Jan who showed me by his actions and attitude — never quit, keep going and practice.

Looking back, it was in that hallway that I learned what Carpet Jan already knew.

Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes easier. He persevered, and taught me to as well.

The last time I spoke with him was just before we moved to Sechelt. He was still practicing Tai Chi, and he was also taking yoga! He loved the art. He especially loved the community of friends that is created, when we invite Tai Chi to our life.

Carpet Jan was a joyful and positive man in my life. I will miss him ad think of him often.

My sympathy is sent to his wife, and children. I know our Tai Chi family has lost a jewel.

Woman Jan

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *