The Warrior Within – A Tai Chi Documentary with Lee Burkins

by | Apr 3, 2015 | Internal Martial Arts, Tai Chi | 32 comments

This is a short documentary with Energy Arts Senior Instructor Lee Burkins:




  1. JessOBrien

    Great look at Lee as a teacher and as a very giving and loving man. If you get a chance to train with him, do it.

  2. John Graysar

    Thank you Lee.
    Your video

    Thank you Lee.
    Your video resounded with me. I especially agree with your comment on , giving your self the time and place to heal. And, nature.

    Bless you,
    John Graysar

  3. Ronn Parker

    The Warrior Within video
    Enlightening work!

  4. Deanna

    Beautifully filmed and spoken Documentary. Thank you .
    I worked with recovering military (mostly Army) veterans for over 7 seven years and know 1st hand how difficult their lives were after returning home from Viet Nam.

    If I had known Taiji then, I would have been teaching them the Art. Blessings to Lee Burkins for being a Taiji Instructor to our Wounded Warriors, and thank you for serving our Country.

  5. Jeff Donohue

    Lee Burkins
    I would have to say that Lee is one of the most Giving and best friends that a Veteran could have. One of the guys who has gone down the rabbit hole and knows how to get back out taking others with him. He teaches what he knows, he teaches by example and he does it with Kindness and qualities few possess.

  6. Joel Rubin

    The Warrior Within
    As a Vietnam Veteran, who happens to also be a practitioner of both Tai Chi and Qigong, I found the documentary particularly compelling. Lee Burkins description of how his practice aided him in coming to a realization and clarification of what the Vietnam experience had done to him should be seen by any person who has had to deal with traumatic events. I applaud him for his practice and his effort.

  7. Visitor

    Thank you for this video
    Thank you for this tale of the vets and working with Tai Chi. There are so many that still need to help.

    Many blessings,

  8. Emil Grahovac


  9. Bob Hughes

    Thanks Lee
    Hey Lee, I’ve seen you spar with Bruce in so many videos and think that your qi and poise is fantastic.

    But this is the first time I’ve gotten to know your background.


    There must be a whole lot of vets (Vietnam and later–Iraq and Afghanistan) out there who could benefit from taiji, but haven’t been exposed to it.

    I hope this clip will go viral–they need to know that taiji is out there for them.

    Well done.

    Post Falls, Idaho
    USMC 1963-1983
    taiji since 1993

  10. Marcy

    The Warrior Within
    Great piece – Lee. Very moving and insightful. The Vietnam vets deserved more than what they received.

  11. Raymond Towers

    Lee Burkin Warrior Within
    This is one of the most profound broadcast I have ever experienced thank you Lee.

    Ex Forces (UK)

  12. David R

    Lee Burkins
    Wow what a fantastic short video..very moving. You have demonstrated all that Tai Chi practice is about so precisely..
    Bless you..

    David UK.

  13. Alex H.

    ineressting and touching, …
    ineressting and touching, … a piece of core-truth, … worh to be shared and spread all over

  14. Ricardo  H. De A. Ursulino

    Muito Comovente.

  15. Nancy

    The Warrior Within
    A beautiful documentary, so inspiring in its short length. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. quintin

    The Warrior within
    Beautiful short film with simple yet profound message.
    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  17. Wildgoose

    The warrior within
    Such a profound and insightful short film. Really touching and quite rare to find an honest report on trauma and its effects on suicide. Thank you for sharing.

  18. Wayne Hoyle

    A Warrior’s Heart
    A very heartfelt documentary… even for those of us with no real wartime experience…
    Thank you Lee

  19. George O'Masta

    warrior within documentary
    So trueat least in my case. It took me ten years to become somewhat normal after serving a year in Viet Nam as a combat engineer in II Corp durng 1969-1970. I went back to the grad school at Oregon State and listening to radio programs on Sundays by Allan Watts introduced me to zen and zen meditation. I also joined a martial arts class taught by a korean war veteran that helped me come back to feeling happy again. I rediscovered the joy of living. When I came back from Nam I had two feelings either…numb or rage. I was a very happy fun loving person before that. Obviously this was not normal but there wasn’t any therapy around then for vets and I really was through with the military. I practiced Tang Su Doo, Tae Kwon Do and later Hap KI Do for many years and learned to become gentle instead of ready to fight. Later on I learned about Tai Chi and took some classes. I have continued to read and practice Chi Gung and Nei Gung exercises and found my way back to being a human being again. I now practice tai chi and ba gua zhang movements I learned from tapes and books to keep myself flexible and my chi flowing. Peace.

  20. Tom M

    The Warrior within Documentary
    Thanks for the documentary. I found it very interesting. I agree with Taichi being a good way to deal with and maybe overcome PTSD. Although not a military man I have been through a tough time with illness. I have been playing Taichi for a few years and think it prepared me in a way for dealing with the illness and is certainly instrumental in helping me recover from it. Anyway thanks again. Enjoyed that


  21. Merry Youle

    Although this video grew out of one person’s particular journey, one particular war in one particular time and place, it applies to many times and places. Thank you, Lee, for sharing your story of healing and hope, and for the work that you do.


    Great video, I encourage more sharing
    Lee, I have seen you at a few workshops in the past but we never talked. Perhaps anvil ranch in 2000 or 2001. I practiced Wu style tai chi short form and 4 of Bruce’s nei gung sets daily for 4 years. When I went back to graduate school I stopped for the most part and just focused on mind sharpening. I lost my way for energy arts. I started daily practice again 7 months ago. I found DanKleiman’s video and radio/audio blog helped, skype lessons with former teach Susan Kansky, my notes, and of course Bruce’s recent dvds for several forms. I am now fully immersed in daily practice and life if better. I know you are one of Bruce’s most experienced students/teachers. It really helps new comers, beginning students and experienced students to hear different perspectives on how to do the forms, than just Bruce. Of course Bruce is the authority, but other perspectives color the picture more and help people move along, fills in gaps, and is encouraging. Similar to DanKleiman’s multiple videos, I think you would be a great person to have dozens of videos explaining FAQs on how to practice, where to start, warm ups, and related areas. I think it is also helpful to see videos of you practicing all your forms. Anyway perhaps in the future you could work with one of your students to create multiple videos like that. It looks like you are already doing that. And you could ask people to submit ideas for videos. I think it would help a lot of people. Your voice/energy/being are so kind, I think it would nurture people and help them along their path. In some ways hearing different perspectives on energy arts is like different artists singing the same song. Some people resonate more with different singers, even though it is the same song. I think a lot of people would resonate with you. Sincerely, Scot Holliday in DC

  23. dy1450

    The Warrior Within
    As a Vietnam veteran, it was like looking back on myself 50 years ago. Fortunately I was able to overcome my PTSB through the practices of Buddhism . It’s probably too late for Vietnam Era vets, but there are many more vets from later conflicts. If you have a chanced to talk to a recent vet, let him/her know the benefits of Tai Chi. I would like to thank all those involved in making this video available now. I would also like to thank Lee especially for his sharing of his very personal and heart-warming story. Well done.
    D Youdal USAF ret.

  24. ali

    The Warrior Within
    I recently telling a friend that one of the reasons my Sifu (who passed back in 1992) was such a profound teacher was that he had something I rarely found afterwards in Martial Arts schools. He had been transformed because he had (probably) taken a life. I say probably because it was not spoken of, but his experiences (WWII, the coming of the Communist regime, and other work he may have taken afterwards that employed his martial arts, just to get by in life) were never spoken of directly by him. Added to this we had a South Vietnamese student who was a former member of the army there and told me how he had taken a life (and would never use a blade weapon again, as it had been with bayonet). These two men had a great impact on my tai chi practice. They were the most calm, reasonable, unflappable, presences in the whole school. Foolish people with hot heads and silly reasons to gossip and cavort, they could not see that training with us were people who had killed and then chose not to, on purpose. I was heartbreakingly shy when I stared at the school. I never spoke out loud, and my hands shook with tremors if I was even glanced at in practice. When I realised who was teaching and practicing with me, I was slowly transformed. And, by the time I left I felt like a warrior too. Not because of fighting, but because of learning that you can choose not to and still calm and distill your opposition. Your story is a great confirmation, I hope anyone with PTSD will find there way to a good tai chi teacher.

  25. Trish

    Beautifully touching docu
    Thank you for this beautiful demonstration of how Tai Chi has impacted your life. You can tell by how you speak and move that you practice – calm, loving, graceful. Thank you for your contribution to this life.

  26. Julie Kalmenson

    Tai Chi
    Thank you for demonstrating purpose and meaning for me…an aging female vet looking for reasons to keep going…


    TaiJi Quan
    I am a Warrior and a member of a Team…… Yes! I also served, different war, different assignment, different MOS. I took care of the wounded coming through our CSH.

    I agree that nature cures, as well as time. Time it is very important to heal our mental wounds, and TaiJi is a source of healing. Upon my return, I started practicing TaiJi, and I have notice the improvement. I recommend everyone to practice TaiJI, QiGong and/or other forms to enhance their personal lives.

    Thank you for sharing your experience.

  28. carlos al lumanta

    tai chi
    truly amazing its form style and art were truly superior and powerful . . . soft yet firm . . . . its like water and wind . . . you feel it and aware of its powerful presence . . .

    carlos al lumanta

  29. Ray Morneau

    Thank You, Lee — straight truth!
    You emanate inner healthfulness, Lee. Thank you! Keep it up!

  30. Visitor

    The Warrior Within
    So moving! Thank you for sharing your story.

  31. Francesco Calapso

    Subtitiles of The Warrior Within Documentary for Men’s Movement
    Dear Madam/Sir,

    I would like to share the video of Lee Burkins with a men’s movement I am part of here in Italy (Circoli Maschili), not too sure there is a video available with subtitles, in English would suffice..

    Thanks for the information in advance
    Kind Regards
    Francesco Calapso
    Milan, Italy

    • energyarts1

      Re: Sharing the video

      Hello Francesco, 

      You are welcome to share the link to our webpage with the video. But you will have to contact Lee directly for the original footage as we don’t own it.

      We hope this is helpful.

      Warm Regards, 

      Energy Arts Team

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