Newsletter #140 - April 2013
- From me to you, Paul Lam
- Our Friend, Russ Smiley, TCHC, Ralph Dehner, Linda Ebeling and Keith Root
- My Tai Chi Scholarship Win, Joan Schultz
- Our Tai Chi Workshop in Zhuhai, China, Susan Hamadock
- Tai Chi for Fall Prevention, Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Young
- Tea and Tai Chi, 7000 Pots of Tea, Jenny Sheldon
- What the Tai Chi Greeting Teaches You about Life, Caroline Demoise
- Humour, Laughter and Radiant Health, Bob McBrien
Click on the title above to read the articles, this link to read all previous newsletters and here to subscribe.
Following last month’s long awaited recognition by the CDC regarding using Tai Chi for Arthritis for falls prevention,Rev Dr Bruce M Young, Senior Trainer of TCHC, has written an article on how this affects our vision.
The Administration on Aging (AoA) found the Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program to meet the highest-level criteria for AoA evidence based disease prevention and health promotion programs. Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program is my Tai Chi for Arthritis program, using my Master Trainers, as the foundation collaborates with me to teach and promote this program.
As promised last month, Joan Schultz, one of the scholarship winners talks about her experience at the January workshop.
With my DVDs’ having 2.7 million hits on YouTube and receiving so much positive feedback, I was a little disturbed by a comment last week saying that one of my DVDs was ‘boring…’. Then I remembered Jenny’s talk at the annual tai chi workshop. Jenny Sheldon made 7,000 pots of tea with her tai chi classes, she also said she fell asleep watching my tai chi DVD! Watch her talk in a YouTube to find out the cure!
In the last two months, we have had 350,000 more hits with the Tai Chi for Beginners YouTube video alone. Try out a FREE lesson from me. Please tell your friends, click ‘like us’ and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Please subscribe to our Facebook page and like us too! By doing this you will help us spread the word of tai chi to many more people, as well as how to use our programs more effectively. Please feel free to message me on Facebook if you have any questions. We have replaced the forum with Facebook. Yesterday as soon as I posted the news about my workshop in CT, USA, several people answered. John took the opportunity to find out about the UK workshop and registered! I can’t wait to meet him in London, I did not realise Facebook can be so much fun. It is a nice way to share ideas and information.
Last but not least on a personal note, I would like to especially congratulate my nephew, Dr Vincent Lam, who has been honoured with Canada’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his internationally recognized contributions to literature. You might remember that Vincent Lam has written a number of books including his latest “The Headmaster’s Wager” and his other book “Bloodletting and Miraculous cures” which won the Scotiabank Giller Prize. You can find out more about Vincent by clicking here.
On that note, Vincent lives in Toronto and I am going to conduct a Tai Chi for Energy training workshop there on September 14-15th. Hope you can come, and you might get to meet Vincent, but I will certainly be there to work with you.
In this newsletter:
- Joan Schultz tells us how winning a tai chi scholarship gave her an extraordinary opportunity
- Susan Hamadock shares her thoughts about her time in Zhuhai, China
- Bruce Young writes about the CDC’s recognition of Tai Chi for Arthritis and how it affects our vision
- We share Jenny Sheldon’s speech at the January One Week Workshop about her 7000 cups of tea
- Caroline Demoise tells us how the tai chi greeting teaches us about Life.
This Month’s Special:
Purchase the Tai Chi for Beginners 8 Lessons with Dr Paul Lam and receive 30% discount.
Please quote coupon code TCB0413
Limit to one order per person. Click here for more information or to place your order.
May 11 - 12, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
May 16 - 17, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
East Molesey, Surrey, United Kingdom
May 16 - 17, Tai Chi for Kidz Instructor Training
East Molesey, Surrey, United Kingdom
May 18 - 19, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Esher, Surrey, United Kingdom
Jun 01 - 02, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jun 08 - 09, Tai Chi for Beginners Instructor Training
New London, CT, United States
Jun 10 - 15, One Week Tai Chi Workshop
New London, CT, United States
Jul 04 - 05, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jul 06 - 07, Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jul 06 - 07, Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jul 06 - 07, Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jul 06 - 07, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Jul 07 - 07, Tai Chi for Arthritis Multiple Update
Sydney, NSW, Australia
Sep 07 - 08, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Sep 14 - 15, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Toronto, ON, Canada
Sep 21 - 22, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Albany, NY, United States
Sep 28 - 29, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Holland, OH, United States
Oct 05 - 06, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Woodbury, MN, United States
Oct 10 - 11, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Knoxville, TN, United States
Oct 12 - 13, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Knoxville, TN, United States
Oct 19 - 20, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Miami Beach, FL, United States
Oct 25 - 25, Tai Chi for Arthritis Multiple Update Training
Walnut Creek, CA, United States
Oct 26 - 27, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Walnut Creek, CA, United States
Many other workshops conducted by my authorised master trainers are listed in Workshop Calendar.
Yours in Tai Chi,
The Tai Chi for Health Community Board
We have the sad task of notifying you of the death of Russell Smiley, Master trainer, former TCHC board member, and friend.
Master Trainer Russ Smiley, died Sunday, March 10, 2013. Many of us have taken classes with Russ and remember his enthusiasm for teaching and how he was able to instill that enthusiasm in his students. He provided leadership in the formation of the Tai Chi for Health Community and the Tai Chi for Health Institute. He greeted everyone with his infectious smile and optimism. If there was anyone who lived up to his name, it was Russ Smiley! He may not be physically with us anymore, but we can all keep his spirit alive by taking what he shared and passing it onto others. And Russ will be smiling with us!
Please take time today to reflect on his life and what he shared. Be aware of the comforting healing energy we are sharing through our Tai Chi Community via email. Join Dr. Lam, master trainers, and others who were touched by the warm smile and soft voice and aided by his wisdom in honoring the memories we hold.
Ralph Dehner, Master Trainer, Fairfield, OH
Dear TCHI Friends, I just got word that there will not be a formal burial for Russ. There will be a quiet cremation.
The desire is to celebrate the life of our friend at World Tai Chi and Qi Gong Day by dedicating the day honoring Russ' life mission of healing the world one person at a time through Tai Chi, Healing Energy and Love.
Please join all who knew and loved Russ by spreading his smile, with compassion around the world on April 27th from 10 to 11 AM.
The photo (second on the Home page) of Russ was taken before he collapsed. He is surrounded by love and has his trademark smile, totally enjoying every minute.
With love and appreciation,
Linda Ebeling, Senior Trainer, Eagan, MN
Dr. Russell Smiley, MT, PhD in Health Science, taught for 26 years at Normandale College, in Bloomington, Minnesota. He developed curriculums for and taught Tai Chi, Healing Qigong, and Stress Management, teaching students to make informed decisions about their health and life style.
Russ was a passionate tai chi and qigong player for over 35 years. He practiced and taught Dr. Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Health programs as well as Yang, and Sun Style forms. Last year, Russ took Dr. Lam’s Seated TCA program to the next level by developing a 2- day Seated TCA workshop and applying to AF and TCHI to teach for program certification. He felt proud to bring the healing power of tai chi to populations that might not have access to more traditional forms.
I first met Russ when I took a Tai Chi class from him at Normandale. I had studied qigong and a bit of tai chi in the past, but after my class with Russ I knew I wanted to teach it as well. Soon Russ took me under his wing, urging me to get certified in TCA, and began to mentor me.
Russ always emphasized the importance of teaching from the heart and putting the learner first. Russ’s enthusiasm for tai chi was evident in classes and TCA trainings; he made learning fun and low pressure, believing that humor helped people relax and learn. He worked closely with the Upper Midwest region AF to promote Dr. Paul Lam Tai Chi for Health Programs. The program has grown tremendously from the seeds Russ had planted. Currently, the Upper Midwest Region of the AF has the second highest class numbers reported in the country. Keith Root and I will continue Russ’s legacy.
As a mentor, Russ challenged me to grow as a tai chi player and teacher. Russ always provided me with a vision and direction for roads he felt necessary for my development. I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work closely with Russ in organizing and assisting him in two successful Seated Tai Chi workshops, and introducing TCA to North Dakota. The biggest compliment Russ ever gave me was asking me to teach his classes during his sabbatical in 2011. Normandale College has asked to take over his classes to ensure the courses he developed will continue.
Russ made everyone feel special. It didn’t matter who you were or what was happening in his life. When you stood before him, you were the most important person in world. A professor at Normandale shared an encounter he had with Russ while grabbing a rushed lunch. He was in a hurry and in a sour mood, but shared a few mundane comments with Russ. In a short 10 minutes, Russ completely turned his mood around. He left his conversation with Russ re-energized. Russ had that effect on people. He was always generous, always teaching, and always smiling.
Keith Root, Eagan, MN, Senior Trainer
It is with great sadness that I have to report the loss of my best friend and comrade, Dr. Russell Smiley. His compassion and patience knew no bound. He had the gift of being able to keep the advanced students interested and challenged but also wait for the very last soul to catch up to their abilities.
Many of you may have wondered why I didn’t post directly to the TCH group. I don’t think you can begin to imagine how many people Russ touched. While being a leader in the TCH community he was also involved with Sifu Fong Ha’s group out of Berkeley. He had more than 150 instructors that he certified in TCH programs. His college work entailed another 400+ students who were exposed to TCH and other classes. My cell phone grew heavy with emails and I decided immediately to lean on Ralph to be the point man for disseminating information even though he was busy at a workshop. He graciously accepted and I thank him for that.
Thank you all for the support and loving wishes you expressed.
A great ninja has fallen.
May he rest in peace.
I come from a small rural town nestled under Great Dividing Ranges of the Blue Mountains in the central west of NSW, where only a small number of people had heard of; let alone attempted tai chi prior to 2006. TCA was introduced by our local hospital physiotherapist who rounded up all the sick and debilitated, encouraging us to become her first participants. Jacqui had just completed stage 1 of TCA. Not knowing but hoping tai chi would help me, I hesitantly joined and painstakingly slowly I grasped the basic fundamentals.
In 2008, Jacqui; pregnant and about to take maternity leave cajoled me to undertake training to become a tai chi instructor and take over her class. It was at my first instructor’s course I first met Dr Paul Lam and hearing him talk of Meditation in motion, I was hooked wanting to improve and learn more.
As I reflect, there are so many moments to write about, first and of great importance to me is making friendships I know will endure and as for SUN 73, wow! I am still amazed I was ever able to contemplate doing the course, let alone complete it. Thinking back to the person who started this tai chi journey, I am proud of what I am achieving. It may take many more workshops to perfect my Sun 73 if indeed I am ever able to perfect it, but hey! I am enjoying the learning process.
Back home I am able to introduce more advanced principals to my group participants. From every workshop there is always one key word I learn e.g. Meditation in Motion, Spiralling, and this year Seaweed and Feather touch! I am wondering what my next words will be?
I am just an ordinary person who has been given an extraordinary opportunity. Remember anyone can do it; tai chi for health is not about being the best, it is about offering us all a wonderful life experience which we can take with us everywhere. Should you ever contemplate applying for a scholarship please do so as it opens opportunities you cannot dream of.
Susan Hamadock, Senior Trainer, Rehoboth Beach, DE
I have just arrived home from our trip to find your photos and email. I want to thank you so much for providing a wonderful experience for all of us. I am especially grateful for all of the time and energy you put into our special outings, lunches and dinners. For me, traveling brings some special food challenges and you created a perfect situation with plenty of vegetarian options and I really appreciated that.
The Tai Chi training was incredible. You are such a gifted teacher. My tai chi has deepened to a new level and I have lots to work with in all of my forms. I'm happy that I will get to see you again in June.
I hope your travels are going well and that you are getting the time you needed for yourself after Zhuhai. I also hope your trip back is easy and that those last six weeks of your medical practice are positive for you. Such a big change. Good Luck with all that.
Again, Paul, thanks for everything you do. You make the world a better place for us all.
My very best to you,
Tai Chi for Fall Prevention
Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Young, Senior Trainer, Bangor, ME
In 2008 The Trauma Institute at Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT compiled and reported, in conjunction with the Injury Prevention Center at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, the following statistics concerning falls and fall prevention among the elderly population in the United States. Their report indicated that:
1) more than one third of all adults 65 years or older fall each year;
2) 20 to 30% of all people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries such as hip fractures and/or head trauma;
3) among older adults falls are the leading cause of injury related deaths.
Noting these facts the Trauma Institute and Injury Prevention Center concluded that older adults should take steps to reduce their risk of falling. Among the suggestions they offered for doing so was the practice of tai chi.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) lists three evidence-based tai chi programs that can help older adults reduce falls. Among them is Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA), a program developed by Dr. Paul Lam, world renowned health expert and tai chi champion. The Tai Chi for Arthritis program is based on the Sun style of Sun Lu-tang, and was developed by Dr. Lam in consultation with other doctors and tai chi experts. It is designed to help people living with arthritis find relief from the pain and discomfort of arthritis so that they might have a better quality of life. In studies conducted with folks practicing the TCA program, it was discovered that when done correctly and with proper instruction, Tai Chi for Arthritis has been shown to increase flexibility and muscle strength; to improve balance, posture, and situational awareness; and to help the participant avoid falling.
Tai Chi for Arthritis is a researched based, cost effective, program provided by local TCA certified instructors. Instructor training is provided in a reasonably priced two day or week-end workshop, taught by Tai Chi for Health Institute Master and Senior Trainers. Up to fourteen (14) contact hours of Continuing Education Credits (CEUs) are available for RN, LPN, LMHT, Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants who participate in these workshops. Once trained and certified, local instructors are supported regionally by Senior Trainers who act as a resource for them, and are available to mentor and support them as they provide instruction in the Tai Chi for Arthritis program at the local level.
Tai Chi for Arthritis has also been recognized by the Arthritis Foundation as a safe and effective way to reduce stress, increase flexibility, improve balance, and reduce falls. The Arthritis Foundation has recently partnered with Dr. Lam and the Tai Chi for Health Institute to provide this program across the United States.
Tai Chi for Arthritis has been proven to help prevent falls, and its applications for fall prevention to state health agencies and providers, wellness programs, and elder care facilities will help them bring a better quality of life to those who participate.
TCA certified instructors providing this program in your area are listed on Dr. Lam’s web page http://www.taichiforhealthinstitute.org/. See the instructor link for instructors in the United States, and then in your state. For more information in the New England area you may contact Master Trainer, Martin Kidder at firstname.lastname@example.org or Senior Trainer, Rev. Dr. Bruce M. Young at email@example.com or www.biantaichi.com
Twelve years ago I started teaching tai chi for health. My name is Jenny Sheldon and I am from the USA pacific northwest specifically Oregon, central Oregon in the mountains. The day I left it was - 15 C and snowing. My career was in education. I spent 40 years in physical education teaching, coaching and working in athletics. I finished my career in administration in charge of the athletic facilities and sports.
In my line of work it is known that a sense of community must be created in the activity class to get the maximum benefit for the participants. The program was good it had all the right components, easy access to keep learning myself, safety, it had staying power and it has withstood the test of time. I needed the catch line, what would make my classes stand out from all the other multitudes of activity classes taught in our very active town. In movement activities compliance is directly related to a sense of community within the activity and class. I could tell that tai chi was going to take some time to teach so I needed something that would be a draw besides tai chi.
I am sure I will find more about tai chi and tea as my teaching journey continues. I can't believe I have made so many pots of tea it seems like each pot is the first one. I look forward to meeting some of your through the course of the workshop and enjoying my time visiting your lovely city of Sydney.
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Caroline Demoise, Master Trainer, Chapel Hill, NC, USA
The international tai chi greeting, made by creating a loose fist with your right hand, bringing the four fingers of your left hand together and bending the left thumb speaks to the qualities embedded in martial arts. The loose fist represents strength. When we consider that it is a loose fist, we realize that strength encompasses a relaxation within the body that includes a loosening of joints and expansion of energy consistent with the quality of song. Energy is able to move through a song body effectively.
When the fingers of your left hand stand united together, this represents friendship, the quality of respect you extend to all your tai chi friends, students and teachers. This respect and friendship is extended to everyone, regardless of whether they agree with us, whether they have a greater or lesser skill that we do and regardless of who has won the competition or the push hands encounter. We are all in this learning process together, supporting and respecting each other as we grow together.
Bending your left thumb indicates humility, which is a gentle reminder to keep your ego healthy and under control. Ego’s parked with the car before you come to tai chi class is where I envision egos belong if you want to get the most from each learning or teaching situation. It is wonderful to know and value your strengths and understand where you stand in a group of your peers. At the same time, this knowledge doesn’t restrict your appreciation of others and ability to value their strengths and appreciate their contributions to the group learning and advancement of everyone.
Tai chi, as all martial arts, teaches Respect and Discipline. These qualities profoundly affect your entire life. The attribute of respect includes respect for others, whether loved ones, friends, team mates or opponents. The broad implication of respect includes respecting another person’s position even when it is diametrically opposed to your position. This reflects nature’s respect of all species of plant and animal life to thrive in the world. Nature gives equal opportunity to all life expressions. Likewise, to play by these underlying principles, others deserve your respect of their position and their attempts to advance themselves.
When you respect yourself, you accept your limitations, physically, mentally and emotionally. With that knowledge, you challenge yourself to grow beyond your current limitation and achieve whatever is possible through hard work, repetition, perseverance and practicing the underlying principles of tai chi. And you must honor and respect your deepest heart’s desire, even when it doesn’t match what society encourages, values or currently thinks. Genius doesn’t necessarily conform to the status quo. A desire from deep within can be pursued to see where it leads and how it benefits you or society.
Discipline teaches you to use repetition with attention to detail to painstakingly train the physical body and to transform the mind from automatic pilot to awareness of energy movement within your body and within the opponent’s body. When you cultivate jing mind and can see beyond the physical, and feel the impending origin of a movement, you have a deep martial art skill.
When you apply discipline to all aspects of your life, you use the awareness and focus cultivated through tai chi to clearly see your patterns and habits, which are automatic responses to life. They represent automatic pilot being in charge of your behavior. Because you know how important it is to be in the present moment when doing a tai chi form or participating in a push hands interaction, you will recognize how important it is to examine all your patterns and habitual behaviors to see if they are helping or sabotaging your goals in life. Patterns, although deeply ingrained can be changed.
Slowing down enough to reflect on the deeper implications of respect and discipline is a lesson you learn from tai chi. When you slow down, you notice details that are missed when moving fast or living a busy life.
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'Laughter is the shortest distance between two persons’ Victor Borge. I have pleasant memories of the laughs we shared during the Friday night social dinner at the June workshop last year. Good food, friendship and laughter brought us closer together as we shared the fun. Laughter does connect us. It is the Easter season as I write this and I have gathered good humor from children's experiences in church.
- A Sunday school teacher instructed the little ones correct behavior while in church. Finishing the lesson, she asked, ‘Now why do we have to be quiet in church?’ A bright little girl answered, ‘because people are sleeping’.
- Four year old Martha carefully enunciated each word, right up to the end of the prayer. ‘Lead us not into temptation,’ she prayed, ‘but deliver us from E-mail.’
- A little boy was overheard praying: ‘Lord, if you can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time just like I am.
- A young boy was acting up during the worship service. The parents did their best to control him but were losing the battle. Finally, the father picked him up and walked towards the foyer. As he was exiting the boy called to the congregation, "Pray for me! Pray for me!"
- The little boy was in the wedding. All dressed up, he looked so proud.Coming down the aisle, he would take two steps, stop, turn to the seated people, put his hands up like claws and roar. So it went, step, step, ROAR, step, step, ROAR, all the way down the aisle. The people were near tears from laughing so hard by the time he reached the pulpit. When the groom asked what he was doing, the little boy smiled and said, "I'm the Ring Bear."
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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.