Newsletter #74 - October 2007
In this issue:
-- From me to you, by Dr Lam
-- Saint Mary of the Woods College: the perfect venue for the annual workshop, an interview with Prof Roy Geib by Sue Covert
-- Dan, the Fan, and me, by Shelia Rae
-- Getting the best out of a one-week training workshop, by Dr Paul Lam
-- Seeing life outside my bubble: Jannette’s story, by Karen Zanolini and Jannette Simmers
-- In search of peace and stress control, by Dr Paul Lam and John Balzer
-- Tai chi for kids, with Montserrat Serlavos, by Jef Morris
-- Teaching kids tai chi, by Montserrat Serlavos
There are two important international conferences coming up that I’d like to tell you about. The Third International Congress on Complementary Medicine Research will be held in Sydney, Australia on 29-31 March 2008. I will be the liaison person in the area of exercise preventive medicine with tai chi. Abstracts submissions are now being accepted through the Congress website at www.iccmr2008.com.
The Second Tai Chi and Qigong for Health International Conference will be held in Orlando, USA in the first week of December 2008. If you require more information please contact me through firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last newsletter Professor Roy Geib wrote an excellent article about the childhood obesity crisis and I would like to thank everybody for their positive feedback about it. It is obviously an extremely important topic at the moment, not just in the USA, but throughout the developed world.
In this month’s newsletter
This month we have some refreshingly different articles.
Sue, a physical therapist/writer brings us a fascinating interview with Professor Roy Geib about the history of the St Mary of the Woods College, venue of the last two US annual workshops. Professor Geib was instrumental in bringing the US annual one-week tai chi workshop to the St Mary of the Woods College in Indiana. This beautiful college, with a 160-year history, has a special spiritual environment that has greatly enhanced our tai chi workshop. Thank you, Professor Gieb, for facilitating these workshops and thanks also to the wonderful staff of the St Mary of the Woods College.
We have two special articles written with the upcoming one-week tai chi workshop in Sydney, Australia (on 6-12 January 2008) in mind. Shelia tells us why she so loves doing the Tai Chi Fan Form, which she will be teaching at the next Sydney workshop. I have written a guide to 'Getting the best out of a one-week training workshop'. While it is written especially for the one-week tai chi workshops we hold in the USA and Australia, the guide would apply to training courses of any length.
Karen, who comes to the Sydney workshop regularly, came to the Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop in Brisbane in August this year. Karen tells us about the inspiring road she’s travelled recently with a very special student.
At the same Exploring the Depth workshop, I was very pleasantly surprised to meet an old patient/friend, John Balzer, who many years ago I had repeatedly encouraged, to no avail, to start learning tai chi. So I was very curious as to what had moved him finally to start his tai chi journey. Here is John’s story.
Kids are the future of our world and this month Jef and Monste tell us about their wonderful experiences with teaching tai chi to kids. The photos tell the story.
We are in the process of reconstructing parts of our website and you may notice some changes in the next few months. Please give me your feedback through email@example.com on how we can provide a better service to you. I’d also be pleased to hear from you what you find useful in these newsletters. Remember to forward it on to your friends!
As I am still on the road conducting workshops and talks, I hope to meet with some of you personally soon.
October’s special offer
In October, buy any 2 of our DVDs and get a DVD of Qigong for Health worth US$24.95 (AU$29.95) absolutely free!
Qigong is especially beneficial for health and mental relaxation. Shelia Rae, our North American representative for Tai Chi Productions tells us that preparing for change of season is important for good health and vitality. Traditionally it is the time that different health modalities suggest having treatments to boost immunity and prepare for the coming climate changes.
In the northern hemisphere we are now moving into winter. Don’t sit back and just reflect on the abundance of your summer. We do tai chi, of course, all year long, but in fall, as we start to slow down physically, we should do more qigong, so that we store more energy to counteract the hardships of winter.
In the southern hemisphere, changing from spring to summer brings its own toll on the body as the days lengthen, we become more active and we spend more time outside.
So no matter where you live, now is the time to re-new and strengthen for the new season ahead. By practicing internal cultivation, you will be in harmony with the change of season.
Learn 5 Element Qigong with no investment except your time. Take us up on this offer and you will strengthen your qi and enhance your tai chi practice.
For more information and to order your DVDs, go to the online shop on my website. When you place your order, please mention this special offer in the comments section, quoting SP1007.
Product review of the month
Congratulations to ‘Argiem’ from Florida for this review of the 24 Forms DVD:
Thanks ‘Argiem’ for your review. We would like to send you a tai chi music CD for being our winner. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and give us your postal address.
'Hi... I just wanted to say that I watched Paul Lam's DVD on the 24 forms and I thought that it was really great. I enjoy the fact that it covers all of the basic principles of the mental aspect of focus and brings it out as a serious methods to improvement... though I must say also that it is great how it lightens things up towards the end and shows a happy side to things (possibly to grab interest for those who don't take things to seriously.) Anyway, it's a really nice DVD for learning the 24 forms.'
Enter your review of any of my products in the Forum and you will have a chance to win a tai chi music CD too.
Upcoming workshopsby Dr Lam
October 4-5, 2007, Pittsburgh PA, USA
Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor's Training
October 6-7, 2007, Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Tai Chi 4 Kidz Instructor's Training Workshop
October 13-14, Pacific Grove, CA , USA
Explore the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
January 6-12, 2008, Sydney, Australia
One week Tai Chi Workshop
To enrol in any of my workshops or those of my authorised master trainers please go to the workshop calendar page on the website.
Yours in tai chi,
Paul Lam, MD
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Sue Covert, a physical therapist/writer has brought us this fascinating interview with Professor Roy Geib about the history of the Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana and how it was chosen as the setting for the last two US annual conferences.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Roy Geib and to discuss how the one-week tai chi conference came to Saint Mary of the Woods College in Indiana. Roy explained that several years ago, while attending a tai chi conference in California, he talked with Master Trainer Pam Kircher and she told him of the wish of several of the Master Trainers to have a large conference centralized in the Midwest. Roy, who is from Terra Haute, thought of Saint Mary of the Woods and, after checking on the availability, invited Dr Lam to take a tour. Roy felt that the energy of the campus was compatible with tai chi.
Saint Mary of the Woods College was established in 1840 by six Sisters of Saint Providence led by Mother Theodore Guerin, who journeyed to Indiana from France. Mother Theodore had not volunteered for the mission, feeling her age and poor health would hinder the group. When they arrived in the dense forest, there were no buildings, just woods. The nuns, rather than voice discouragement, took time to celebrate and show gratitude for their safe arrival after the long arduous journey. Mother Theodore was worried that they might have trouble finding students, but students began to arrive before they even had buildings in which students could be housed or taught. Saint Mary of the Woods became the first college in Indiana to receive a charter for higher education for women and is now the oldest liberal arts college for women in the United States.
Dr Lam toured the campus and Roy set the wheels in motion with others from Australia and Saint Mary of the Woods stepping in to assist with the details. When the 2006 conference was held, conference attendees were impressed with the beauty and serenity of the campus. During that conference, attendees sought a place on campus to hold a qi gong session in a location they thought had good chi. When Roy returned to the campus in the fall on a tour to honor the canonization of Mother Theodore, he realized that the site that the qi gong class had chosen because of it’s good chi was now marked with a plaque stating that it was one of the first sites that Mother Theodore chose for a chapel. Apparently Mother Theodore and conference participants both knew sites of good chi.
Saint Mother Theodore Guerin was canonized on October 15, 2006. She is the first saint from Indiana and the eighth saint from the United States. Currently the Sisters of Providence continue to operate Saint Mary of the Woods College, Woods Day Care/Preschool and several other ministries. The grounds of the Sisters of Providence are comprised of about 1,230 acres, with Saint Mary of the Woods College operating on about 70 of those acres. Forests and organic farmland cover much of the area, providing some income for the Sisters of Providence
During my discussion with Roy, he told me that his involvement in organizing the conference has decreased since the first year, but he remains committed to the promotion of tai chi, especially for children. When he speaks about tai chi his passion becomes obvious. He and his wife are working on a school curriculum program that would incorporate teaching tai chi to school children, to provide all of the health benefits that tai chi provides for adults and to develop a connection to tai chi that continues with them throughout their life.
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Sifu Dan Jones, US Master Trainer, is a phenomenal martial artist. He is proficient in many disciplines and knows many forms. I have been in awe of his knowledge and have persuaded him to teach me many things, but never have I been taken by, so thoroughly absorbed in, and dedicated to any as I have the Tai Chi Fan Form he shared with me.
He told me the history of the form, handed down by his teacher directly from China. With the background of being used by monks to defend themselves, a necessity for them, but not their natural way, and not their first defense. The first defense of the holy man is prayer, but even those that pray know sometimes action, even fighting to preserve their sanctuary is necessary.
Therefore, this Fan Form originally preformed by monks, holds both martial and monastic qualities: Oh, I thought: The ultimate in Yin and Yang! What a perfect way to demonstrate the basic principles of tai chi.
With that history in mind, I was prepared that THIS Fan form was going to have depth, beauty, and martial qualities to discover and cultivate.
What I was not prepared for was the energy of the DRAGON that roared through my body and mind. When just learning the form, I felt the coiling energy up and down my spine, propelled by the many turns and circles in the form. It was as if many old patterns were being released in my physical body; not to mention the releases I felt in my emotional body.
In performing this Fan Form I was able to feel lightness, happiness and a lifting of spirit never before felt in any modality, any meditation, any experience I’d ever had. It had a spiraling, internal, profound effect on me, making me lighter, happier and more peaceful.
That’s my story – I do Fan every day, not only for its beauty, but for therapy. I can feel the peace of prayer and the bravery of the monks in battle. It gives me strength and an internal knowing, connecting me with those that have gone before me using tai chi as a tool for personal growth.
Oh, and did I mention it’s FUN! Dan’s taught it, we’ve taught it together, and I’ve taught it in the US workshops, and now in Jan 2008 it will be my pleasure to teach it at the Sydney workshop to YOU. Join me to discover what Fan can do for you and how it will enhance your life and your tai chi.
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Teaching institutions run workshops of varying lengths of time to train people. However, it is generally agreed that a short, focused period is most suitable for our present day life-style. I believe that one week is a convenient length of time to focus on learning a specific skill. Ten years ago I worked with my colleagues to start an annual one-week workshop in Sydney. During this week all participants are focused on learning or deepening their understanding of one set of forms. When people are focused on one task with a minimum of distraction, a good curriculum, a small group and a good instructor, a lot can be learned in one week. While I am using our one-week workshop as an example, please note that this guide will be equally valid for most training courses held over a short period of time.
Back in the 80s my colleagues and I would go to China to train. It was a challenging task; even for me who didn’t have a language barrier and cultural differences; it was always difficult to find the right instructor for my students. I realised that finding a well-constructed curriculum and a suitable interactive learning environment in China was not possible. We decided we could provide a better training course that would fulfil as many of our participants’ aims as possible and so 10 years ago we started conducting our annual workshops. Tai Chi for Australia Association was born as a result of the community spirit from the very first workshop ten years ago.
Below are some suggestions that will help you get the best out of a one-week workshop like our annual workshop.
Choose your course carefully
One week training workshops often give you a choice of courses. However, the curriculum for our workshops is designed so that participants attend one course only.
Most workshops provide a guide that helps you to choose the right course. It is important to read the course guide carefully and ask for advice if you are not sure which course is the right one for you.
A common mistake people make is judging the difficulty of a course by the number of forms within the set. However, the number of forms is not an indication of how challenging the course will be. For example, many people assume that the Sun 73 Forms is three times as difficult as the 24 Forms, while in fact it is only very slightly more challenging. In fact, if you have done Tai Chi for Arthritis I and II then you have done close to one third of the 73 forms. If you were to attend the 73 Forms course you would probably find it slightly easier than the 24 Forms, because the 24 Forms is Yang-style, which is quite different from the Sun–style used in the 73 Forms.
On the other hand, the 36 Forms Chen-style looks like only another 12 forms more than the 24 Yang-style, yet it is altogether more challenging and sophisticated.
It is important to understand what kind of learner you are. For most people it is best to follow a style that you like and which suits you, and develop your understanding of that style and that set for a few years before you try others. If you like diversity and different forms and styles and are a quick learner, then it may suit you to venture out into different sets or styles that you haven’t yet tried. Once you have chosen a course to follow, try to stick to it for the period of time you have committed. You should also read my article Diversity – good or bad? on my website.
‘Exploring the Depth’ courses are designed for participants to attend for as many years as they like, because there is practically an infinite depth in each of the tai chi forms, and you’ll always learn something. Not only will your instructor have progressed further every year you attend, but you will also learn from your fellow participants in the same group.
You will get a lot more out of a workshop by preparing in advance for your course. Workshop organisers often offer discounts for you to purchase learning materials for your course. I’d suggest you take advantage of these offers and begin learning the forms as early as possible. It doesn’t matter if you experience some uncertainty as you learn from instructional DVDs and books. When this happens, I suggest you make a choice of what you think it should be and keep moving on. Remembering the sequence of a new set of forms is the top priority; once you have memorised the sequence, you have a structure to build on. Later you can always build on more depth and precision. If you are doing an Exploring the Depth course, then prepare for your workshop by improving your forms, and if you come across any interesting, intriguing or challenging points, write them down and take them to the workshop.
During the workshop
When the workshop is under way, keep your mind open, focus on what you are doing, and pace yourself. During the first few days, use a higher stance that will protect your muscles as, like most people, you may not be used to practising and learning for a full day . In a friendly interactive workshop most people will develop a feeling of camaraderie and will work together, helping each other learn.
In the first few days, focus on learning the sequence of the forms otherwise it will be quite difficult for you to manage the rest of the week. Try not to focus on minor details; you can learn them later. If you can remember the sequence then it doesn’t matter how rough your form is as you can always practice to improve it. Just focus on memorising the sequence, and write down the points that you will need to work on later in the week. After that, make notes on the points you need to work on after the workshop, because as you know, tai chi is a lifetime venture, and you cannot learn it all in one week. Many things will become clear to you as you practice, so it is a good idea to make notes on what you need to work on, for example, the principle of controlling your movements so that they are smooth and continuous, and with inner force within them. When learning a new form you might not be able to do that so easily, but if you work on it then two or three months later you might have a much better chance of achieving it.
An effective way to learn is by going through the sequence mentally after each day’s lessons. Whether you physically go through it, or if you are tired use visualisation, this will really enhance your learning. Write down anything that helps you to remember. If you are an auditory learner then talk to yourself and others about the sequence. If you are a visual learner, write down the sequence.
Be prepared to spend some time after the workshop practising and going through what you have learned. The first week and the first month are the most important times when you should spend some time going through what you have learned from the workshop. Once you can remember what to do, then you can absorb and gain more skill and knowledge as you go. However if youdon’t practise after the workshop, for example if you go on a holiday and don’t practise any tai chi while you are away, when you return a few weeks later and try to remember and practice it, you will probably find you have lost a good bit of the precious knowledge that you had gained.
Lastly, but definitely not least, one of the great things about an intense workshop is learning from ‘osmosis’. You will meet many tai chi practitioners and exciting people from different backgrounds, for example in our annual workshops, people of different walks of lives came from all over the world. Open your mind and interact. Allow yourself to absorb the spirit and the knowledge of others and they will grow in you. Try to make an effort to talk to as many people as possible. I believe that sharing with others is one of the most important things to learn.
A short period of time with no distractions, during which you can focus on learning tai chi in a friendly interactive environment is an ideal way to learn. In hundreds of workshops I have been involved in, I have seen many people grow both in their tai chi and in themselves. I hope you, will try one of our one-week workshops and that you will get the most you can out of it.
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I want to tell you my story about my most rewarding teaching experience. Over the last five years of teaching I’ve watched all my students grow, but Jannette’s progress has blown me away!
Yours in Tai Chi, Health & Happiness
PS I give all new students a copy of Pat Webber’s excellent article on Tai Chi Outside The Box. ‘Focus: One little word, So much depth’. I heard Jannette only last week telling a new student that used the word concentrate – “No, we use focus” and she started to explain why. Her confidence gave me a very special glow!
Thanks Pat for your wonderful article. You’ve played a big part in my teaching journey. You’re a gem! I really wanted to share this wonderful, uplifting and inspiring story with you and your readers.
In September 2006, Jannette Simmers and Sheran Gleeson joined my Tai Chi for Beginners class, which I had been teaching since February of that year. I introduced myself to these two young ladies. I sensed that Jannette suffered from a mental condition.
As Cheryl Lee Player explained in her recent story, there’s a real challenge in making a new student comfortable in an established class, especially when they are unwell. A challenge I was ready for – so our journey began.
From the onset, I explained to my two new students that they would be under absolutely no pressure; just try to relax, focus, enjoy, let go and be happy. I told them it was their class: I was just there to guide them.
I start the classes each week with a little relaxation and meditation, where I have my students close their eyes and connect and focus on the breath – in through the nose, out through the nose. Jannette was extremely nervous and scared. Standing at the very back of the class, she was struggling even to close her eyes, but she persevered. Each week I noticed the struggle subsiding.
I then proceed with the warm ups, which she followed along with very well. Her body was rigid, her arms were high and she was tense and shaking, but she kept trying. I could feel her struggle and her pain – my heart was crying. Each week I would remind the class not to stress, to relax, focus, enjoy and ‘let go’ my theme for 2006. I would also emphasise the fact that they were under no pressure from me. The only pressure they had was what they expected of themselves.
When they joined the class I had already taught the first 12 moves of ‘Tai Chi for Arthritis’ to my other students, so I asked them to just follow along the best they could and they did – truly amazing for a young lady who was suffering schizophrenia – which I only found out about in July this year. As I said, in the beginning, I sensed a mental condition so I took things very slowly with Janette, gave her the time and space she needed to feel truly comfortable. I wanted her to trust me. I wanted her to feel like she belonged. Sheran is her support friend and mate. She also happens to work for mental health in our district. So each week they would come together and participate in the class, improving all the time.
In February this year I started my beginners class from scratch, so Jannette and Sheran were now in the driving seat with threee months experience in their favour. I was observing for the first time a new found confidence in Jannette, a smiling face. The girl that stood for three months at the very back of my class was now in the middle. I was excited but still gave her space to grow at her own pace. With encouragement, understanding and praise, Jannette has shown remarkable progress. She now stands at the very front of the class as my lead student for others to follow. She’s relaxed; her tai chai is beautiful. Her hands are no longer shaking and her arms are low. She even comes by herself when Sheran is unable to attend. Something she would have never even attempted before.
So, in June this year, after 9 months, I felt very confident to ask Jannette to share with me in a letter, in her own words, what tai chi had done for her. I explained to her how I had watched her change, grow and blossom, and I felt it would be good for her growth to share her experience with me. She said it was all thanks to her medication and interaction with people but I could tell tai chi had played a big part in her improvements. I explained to Jannette she was taking medication before she attended and she is still taking medication but her outlook had changed, she’d changed, and for me it’s truly an inspiring and rewarding experience. This is what she wrote.
Tai Chi for Beginners, By Jannette Simmers
I had the preconceived notion that tai chi would be too hard and the idea of coming along held me back. But with time I have had the opportunity to interact with people I would normally had never met. Karen is a very strong and constructive instructor and has given me time to feel comfortable and the courage to speak up. Everything seems to come down to my medication, which is a lifeline for me. Such is life and for the time being I have come to terms with my limitations. I have learnt to forget my worries and to slow down and rethink my values and self-esteem issues. Sheran is very supportive, giving me a push in the right direction. I feel the more I do tai chi the more I am prepared for other endeavours in my life. A Brisbane girl at heart, I have learnt to live here in Stanthorpe and try to make the most of it all. Tai chi can be very relaxing and makes me think more about my attitude to personal well-being and health issues. Every week I learn something new about my general wellbeing and how people perceive me.
Sometimes I find it hard to interact with others because of my illness, but I’m always improving. I think tai chi has taught me to be spontaneous, and to approach people in conversation. I wish I was the person I was before I got sick, and had the life I had, but that is impossible and has taken me a long time to come to terms with that. But tai chi has given me the opportunity, if only for an hour a week, to see life outside my bubble – so thank you!
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Dr Paul Lam talks to John Balzer about why he took up tai chi.
John: Well, I remembered my conversations with you when I was a patient of yours in Sydney. I had a very bad back. I used to go there and you would give me acupuncture and try to talk me into doing tai chi. Anyway, I had an operation and it fixed it all up. I came up to where I was brought up and used to live, around the Lismore district, on the far north coast of New South Wales. I bought a farm and worked it for nearly twenty years, growing flowers, a nursery and whatnot, before I retired. It was a good life. I sold plants at the markets, but it all got too much, so I semi-retired and was doing Landcare work.
I started fossicking around trying to find tai chi classes locally and I went to a couple of classes but they weren’t very good.
One day I came back to Lennox Head, which is where I have my post office box, and I was getting out to get the mail and I saw this lady walk past with a T-shirt that said ‘Tai Chi for Arthritis by Dr Paul Lam’. I thought that was interesting so I went and got my mail, came back out again and she walked past again and I thought that God had spoken to me and said ‘Go and get her and ask what’s going on’. I went and asked her and she sent me around to the Community Scout Hall in Lennox Head and Leslie Burnell was there. That’s how it all started.
Paul: So Leslie was trained by me or one of my Master Trainers?
John: Yes, she was trained by you, she is with the Lismore group, part of the North Coast Area Community Health Service. Anyway I’ve been going there to her classes for about 14 months and I have learned the Tai Chi for Arthritis, then Tai Chi for Diabetes, and now we are starting on the 24 Forms. I find the challenge stimulating, mentally.
Paul: What made you start looking for tai chi classes?
John: Well, I developed type 2 diabetes and to help control it started exercising...
Paul: Tai chi, right?
John: Not only tai chi, I started running and swimming…
Paul: Other exercise and tai chi?
John: Yes. I do tai chi for the peace and the mind benefits. I think it also helps me to control the stress I sometimes apply to myself. I practise most days on the beach early in the morning and that seems a good way to start the day.
My doctor says I am not supposed to say this, and my diabetes consultant, she frowns on it also, but I no longer have it.
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Tai chi for kids, with Montserrat Serlavos, by Jef Morris
When Montse invited me to her class with some of her students (see her story below), I thought it would be like other classes. Well it was much more.
Since I do not have kids, it took some adjusting for me to have so many minds coming at you at the same time, and so quick to change focus.
We began with introductions and each child began to reveal who they were. Then we started to do the warm up exercises, which did not last very long. So I learned it was time to play. After a while we returned to tai chi, but not for long.
I noticed one young lady was watching my every move, I thought I had made a connection. In a way I did, for she spontaneously asked in a much louder voice than I thought possible, “Why are one side of your hands white and the other side dark?”
What do you say to a child who has never seen someone who looks like me?
Time for show and tell. I think I said, “I like to hide my hands from the sun...”
She did not really believe me, but she let it go, and we went back to tai chi, but not for long...
My new student then asked, “Why are your lips red?”
By now I am having a little trouble keeping it together: such a simple question … where do I begin?
I decided to tell the truth, I told her I fall down a lot, so I practice tai chi to help my balance. This somehow worked, and then it was time to play again.
When the class ended we had only a few minutes to get the kids changed back into their school uniforms. Can you picture in your mind this Master Trainer trying to get socks and shoes on three six-year-olds? Somehow I ended up with an extra sock, and with a lot of help from Montse, in the end we got the kids back to their next class.
And then it was time to laugh and play.
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Dr Paul Lam tells us about Montserrat Serlavos (Montse): Montse is a busy and very enthusiastic tai chi teacher in Barcelona, Spain. She teaches many classes to people of different ages. One gets the feeling that the kids classes are her favourite.
I met Montse in Barcelona during one of my workshops and then in Jan 2007 at the one week workshop in Sydney. She is one of the most inspiring persons I have ever met: talking to her I can sense the depth of her love for children, as well as people of all ages. For lots of pictures of Montse in action go to: http://picasaweb.google.es/mserlavos/MaratoNens2007
Good morning Dr Lam,
I'll try to explain my experience with kids.
I've been working in a school in Barcelona for four years, teaching tai chi to children from 5 to 12 years old.
The firsts three years we did Yang style, 8, 16 and 24 movements.
Last year I learned Tai Chi 4 Kidz by Dr Paul Lam, and I began to teach this program.This program has made it much easier for me and for the children.
When I began to work with children I couldn't find any reference for teaching tai chi to kids, so I had to adapt for the teaching for myself.
This program helped me very much.
I really love children, I love playing with them, so we make tai chi like a game.
We have the class in the middle of the day, after the children have been in class the whole morning, sitting, quietly learning, so when they come to the gym they are very riotous. They want to play, to run...
I've divided the class in three parts.
The first 15 minutes, they go to look for the mattress and they have to put them in the floor in order, so they move, and do a physical exercise, that's what they need after sitting at a desk for four hours. We do some exercises on the floor, breath, move slow, visualization... so they relax.
The second part, 15 minutes, we do warm up, the tai chi forms and cool down. I've put a piece of paper on the floor with the name of every kid, so they know where to start.
The third part, 15 minutes, I let them play. I call them to me, two by two, and I give them personal training, while the others play.
This is the idea, but you know, children are children and one never knows, sometimes I have to improvise: some days I have to play more, other days I can work more, no rules, what they need.
The most important thing for me is teach to them a way of life: through tai chi I try to make them understand that the most important thing is love, we are in a very competitive world, I make them love and respect each other, I make them help each other, we talk about their problems, they tell me what they think, and this is very important for them.
We enjoyed it very much when Jef came to our class, I have explained to the children before, but it was very funny to see their reaction, and to see them working together.
Tai chi for kids is not only a tai chi class, I love those children, I love to see how they change, I love to see them growing, I love to see them becoming more confident in themselves and I love to see them loving and helping each other.
I love it when I arrive at the school and they come to look for me at the door and all of them want to tell me their things, all at the same time.
Well, I could be talking about my classes with children for hours...
I want to thank you Dr Lam very much for your program, it has helped me a lot in this wonderful work.
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END OF NEWSLETTER
Warning: Dr. Lam does not necessarily endorse the opinion of other authors. Before practicing any program featured in this newsletter, please check with your physician or therapist. The authors and anyone involved in the production of this newsletter will not be held responsible in any way whatsoever for any injury which may arise as a result of following the instructions given in this newsletter.