Newsletter #115 - March 2011
- 13 Years of Annual Workshops, Pat Webber
- Three Most Important Points to Teach Tai Chi Effectively, Maree Chadwick
- Harmonizing with your Students, Caroline Demoise
- Remembering Dave, Dr Paul Lam
- Dream, Hope and Believe, Daniela Ostezan
- John’s Story, John Melito
- Featured Profile – Dan Jones, Shelia Rae
- Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health, Bob McBrien
Last month, we showed you videos and articles of the Excellence of Community Partnership Award given to the former Greater Southern Area Health Service; and the 25 Years Better Health Tai Chi Chuan Anniversary celebration. This month, we are continuing the community spirit with Pat Webber’s talk on 13 years of annual tai chi workshops. Next month, we will show you how a simple idea resulted in 2000 people turning up for a tai chi display in Singapore last year.
The theme of effective teaching is too extensive for one newsletter. This month we have Caroline Demoise’s and Maree Chadwick’s perspectives, more to follow in future newsletters. Our Master Trainer profile is Dan Jones – a fine example of an effective teacher.
I had the privilege to met Dave at the Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshops held in Oregon a few years ago. He interacted enthusiastically with others and was a great support of the Tai Chi for Health program. Dave was always helpful and made me feel very welcome. Please join me and many of Dave's friends in helping to celebrate his life by reading a collection of articles entitled "Remembering Dave". Please send your positive energy to his wife Jenny and family.
If you missed the annual one week January workshop but wish to come to the June workshop in Terre Haute, please enrol as soon as possible as it is 65% filled. Please click here for more information and to enrol.
Thank you for your feedback on how useful the real time lessons format for the Tai Chi for Arthritis DVDs, released in 2008, are. I have been working with my colleagues to use the same format for our new program, Tai Chi for Energy. We are also in the process of updating several of our popular titles. Please watch this space for the release date.
- Chris Hattle writes that people who have experienced stress may well develop post traumatic stress syndrome. Stress and post traumatic stress are managed by a teamwork of doctors and appropriate agencies. As a tai chi teacher you can be a vital part of the teamwork and referral system.
Pat Webber reflects on her 13 annual one week Sydney workshop experiences, from its humble beginnings to a successful annual event.
Prepared as a workshop talk, Maree Chadwick expresses the three most important points in teaching tai chi effectively, both from the viewpoint of students and experience of a Master Trainer.
The art of teaching is complex and Caroline Demoise shares her thoughts on ways to harmonize with students and how to be an effective teacher.
Senior Trainer Jenny Sheldon’s husband Dave died in an unexpected accident mid-December. We remember this caring and giving individual with a compilation of memories about Dave by his friends, tai chi students and tai chi colleagues of both Jenny and Dave.
Daniela Ostezan reflects on her personal journey, how tai chi brought a new dimension to the words balance, flexibility and well-being.
John Melito tells us how he is beginning to make changes which affect his health and well being.
May 14 - May 15, Sydney, NSW, Australia
May 14 - May 15, Sydney, NSW, Australia
May 29- May 30, Singapore
June 4 - June 5, Singapore
June 13 - June 18, Terre Haute, IN, United States
Many other workshops conducted by my authorised master trainers are listed in Workshop Calendar.
Chris Hattle, Master Trainer, Palmerston North, New Zealand
We write to you from a country which has literally been shaken to its core. Within the Tai Chi for Health Institute: Hazel is a Senior Trainer, in Christchurch, the city on which the whole world is focused as it deals with the aftermath of the devastating February 22nd earthquake; Chris is a Master Trainer based in Palmerston North, New Zealand, some distance from the disaster area.
Since the first earthquake in Christchurch in September 2010, we have become aware that people from Christchurch and the Canterbury region are moving away from the area into other areas of New Zealand. These people, like other Cantabrians, are trying to cope with disrupted sleep patterns and haunting memories of disaster and trauma.
People from the Canterbury area have high likelihood of seeking activities which bring them calm and serenity. They may well seek the experience of tai chi, throughout New Zealand or in the many other countries to which they may return or immigrate. We present these thoughts with Cantabrians in mind, also the many people in Australia who have experienced disaster through recent years. We also have in mind people who have similar challenges due to disasters individual to themselves.
There is need to consider the potential for these participants to begin to relax a little during tai chi sessions and react to recent trauma. In many years to come they may reveal they have significant post traumatic shock syndrome.
As a tai chi teacher it is vital to know your limits and to be familiar with the referral procedure to professional support systems within the community. No-one can anticipate what may bring the memory of trauma to the fore.
Catalysts can include different sounds, a word/ phrase, a smell or a sight. The catalysts are very individual to the person living with post traumatic stress. Timing of reactions is unpredictable. The outward degree of reactions can be very different, from withdrawal to outburst.
• Be quietly supportive with assurance that reaction is normal
• Be clear about your own boundaries as a tai chi instructor
• Be positive and confident about being able to assist by referring to appropriate experts
• Enable agreement for you to refer to their General Practitioner or an appropriate agency. These avenues for referral can vary from place to place so know what is available in your area.
• Know that it is their GP who has their full medical knowledge and will be the advisor for the “whole person”
• Enable them to recognize the calm of tai chi as being positive, and so continue their tai chi with emphasis on focus.
People with post traumatic stress can be afraid of facing the trauma by seeking medical help. Just as we teach with a stepwise progressive teaching method, our conversation with them may need a stepwise progressive communication to enable the participant to agree to your assistance by referring them to the appropriate medical professionals.
Tai chi instructors will benefit their practice by having written policies and procedures on managing situations where traumatic stress is a likelihood.
• File the contact details for General Practitioners in the communities in which you work, along with lists of the agencies who also work in the field of traumatic stress.
• Seek continuing education on the signs and symptoms of post traumatic stress
• Meet with a tai chi instructor peer group and/or communicate your concerns to the Master Trainers or Senior trainers in your area. This can be also be arranged in the form of formal supervision, on a regular basis
This link has excellent information for anyone facing difficult times.
Instructors from many cities in Australia and many overseas countries attend the workshops to upgrade their skills and to renew their accreditation as instructors of the health programs. Health professionals attend to deepen their own knowledge of tai chi and many who are involved in research using tai chi take the opportunity to network.
Maree Chadwick, Occupational therapist, Senior Trainer, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
• Keep developing your own tai chi skills & update your knowledge regularly; and
• Remember communication is fundamental to integrate these ideas, akin to the way in which tai chi
I have experienced great teaching styles and endured miserable experiences in my 25 year tai chi journey. Never point your finger at a body part that is out of alignment and yell “no, no, no” if you want to be effective. It gets their attention, but also destroys class morale. The amygdale in everyone’s brain will sound the alarm, the chemicals of fear will circulate in their bodies and now you have a very tense class. Intimidation is a terrible way to teach or learn and not a precursor to cultivating the deeper tai chi concepts of “song”, a relaxed, open body and “jing” a peaceful, silent mind. If you want to be an effective teacher and endear yourself to the class, please don’t embarrass a student by dramatically criticizing the inappropriateness (in your opinion) of their clothing. If you have clothing requirements for your class, distribute this information prior to the first class.
These two real life experiences prompted me to activate my “Invisibility Cloak” during class for psychological protection. Apparently my intention was successful as there were no negative comments directed at me and not because I was perfect. The negative aspect of being an invisible student was that I didn’t get any personalized suggestions on improving my form.
“Was tai chi the only thing I did to lose weight?” “How did it work?” “How did I accomplish losing 60 pounds?”
These are some of the questions I get asked. Here’s how I answer them:
Practicing Dr. Lam’s TCA and applying his principles has made me not only aware of my stress-eating habits, but now I control ‘it’. ‘It’ doesn’t control me! With the mental clarity I develop from practicing tai chi, I was able to begin to reduce stress and develop a healthier diet and healthier eating habits.
Thank you Dr. Lam!
He is my mentor, my friend and my tai chi brother, but most of all he’s a beautiful human being dedicated to helping others. His ability to communicate the ‘secrets’ of tai chi practice is amazing.
- Mark Twain
- Groucho Marx
- Zsa Zsa Gabor
- Alex Levine
- W. C. Fields
- Lillian Carter (mother of President Jimmy Carter)
- Eleanor Roosevelt (wife of FDR)
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.