Who we are
Scott M. Rodell
Rumor has it that a branch of Rodell’s familial lineage goes back to the “wild lands” of the Ukrainian steppes, where renegade members of his clan joined up with the Zaporozhian Cossacks. A particularly adventurous offspring made his way to Siberia’s Amur region, where he served with the Cossack garrison at the fortress of Albazin. He was one of the sixty- odd survivors of the second Chinese siege of 1686-87. They were spared by the Manchu general Sabsu and the Kangxi Emperor ordered them brought to Beijing, where they were settled in the Tartar City and incorporated into the Fourth Regiment of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner.
Our present day Pan Rodell is quite modest about his ancestors exploits; the badgering curiosity-seeker is often met with an inscrutable smile. The skeptic may scoff.. until he’s seen Rodell at practice, and through the flash of shinning steel, the unmistakable combination of flaxen hair and prominent nose with a cultivated manner and tongue which is in fact sinicis ipsis sinior.
Though known in the antique arms world as the source for Chinese arms, Rodell’s first love is martial arts having studied and practiced since the age of nine. He devoted the last eighteen years exclusively to study of Yang Family Taiji Quan. Rodell spent many years traveling to find and study with the best teachers in this lineage to full fill a person goal – renovating Yang Family Taiji Quan. He sought out teachers known for certain specialties, pulling together elements of the system that have become separated and fragmented.
Rodell has been privileged to receive instruction in Push Hands and Free Fighting from William C. C. Chen, Sword and Push Hands from T.T. Liang and the Yang Family Hidden Tradition Taiji Quan, form, applications, push hands, fan and spear, from Wang Yen-nien.
Rodell is the Director of the Great River Taoist Center. The Center just celebrated its Twelfth Anniversary and now has branches in Washington, DC; Baltimore and Moscow. For the last four years Rodell has been teaching across western Russia. He began teaching in the Soviet Union at the request of the Soviet Wushu Federation in 1991. Since then groups have formed in several cities. In 1992, the Moscow branch officially opened as a branch of Great River. While in Russia, Rodell has made TV programs about Taiji Quan for Moscow’s learning channel and Sochi local Television and has been interviewed by various daily newspapers.
Great River acquired land in West Virginia as part of its role in serving its Taoist lineage. Rodell was one of the first ten Americans to enter the door of the Jin Shan Pai, a traditional school of Taoist Nei Gong. Rodell, initiated into the Jin Shan Pai by Wang Yen-nien, is a sixth generation teacher in this tradition. Through the Center, local students in the Jin Shan Pai are working to create a Retreat Center for the development of Taoist practice.