Newsletter #148 - December 2013
#In this issue:
- From me to you, Paul Lam
- Applying Tai Chi Principles to Promote the Growth of the Tai Chi for Health Program, Part Two, Raymond Lau
- The Hickmans – A Tai Chi Family, Rachel Hickman
- Tai Chi Instructor Training for Parkinson’s Patients, Part Two, Sang Myeon
- Seeing Mom in a Different Light, Grant Ebeling
- Tai Chi Family/Family Tai Chi, Linda Ebeling
- What My Scholarship Meant to Me, Dana Radford
- Humor, Laughter and Radiant Health, Bob Mc Brien
The 16th annual Tai Chi workshop in Sydney will be closing soon, most classes still have placement, click here to register.
I will be presenting, together with Professor Robert and Jeannine Galloway from Arthritis Foundation, at the American Society on Aging Conference in San Diego, 11-15 March 2014 “Tai Chi for Falls Prevention – A Community Approach”. This will be followed by a Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis workshop on 22-23 March coordinated by Linda Scott. If anyone would like to come to the workshop or is able to assist at the conference, please contact us.
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When I first embarked on my second career as a Tai Chi teacher, traveling the world to conduct Tai Chi workshops, I wasn’t sure how I would balance this new hectic life with my medical practice. Suddenly I was preoccupied with juggling flights and schedules, trying to run my two businesses from remote locations, and constantly challenged by long flights and jet lag. A friend once remarked that like a good wine, I didn’t travel well, often suffering from severe travel sickness.
Using tai chi disciplines I learned to overcome the symptoms of travel sickness; take care of my arthritis, and take advantage of all those long flights for periods of quiet introspection. Recently I gave up medicine to concentrate entirely on my tai chi vision so I have been able to focus more at communicating with my tai chi family around the world. There are so many wonderful, inspirational people I have met over the year; every one of you confirms my realisation. Every one of us is unique; every one of us has a wonderful life and story to share. Life is one enormous open university, and your course of study is whatever you care to make it.
I have been fascinated with people, different countries and cultures. Despite the immense diversity, almost every tai chi friend I meet is empowering others through Tai Chi for Health. It has been particularly gratifying to notice an increase in the number of families joining us, especially the younger joining the older generation. I love meeting two generations of the same family at one workshop! Here are some of their stories, and there are more to come over successive issues.
Also sharing their stories will be couples who teach together – it is amazing how many tai chi families and couples there are out there. If you have a special family story to tell, let me know.
You can read about My Sebring workshop featured in the US Publication “Highlands Today”.
My 2013 Seasonal Greeting has photos from workshops and scenery around the world.
In this Newsletter:
- Raymond Lau demonstrates how the tai chi principles can be utilised to assist the growth of the Tai Chi for Health program (Part Two)
- Rachel Hickman tells us all about her tai chi family
- Sang Myeong tells us about his first TCA Instructor workshop for Parkinson’s Patients. (Part two)
- Grant Ebeling begins his tai chi journey
- Linda Ebeling adds a family touch to her workshop
- Dana Radford shares a moving story
- Dr Bob McBrien dispenses his regular dose of humour
This Month’s Special
DVDs make a wonderful and thoughtful Christmas gift for family and friends. Buy any DVD and receive a 40% discount. Click here to place your order. Please use coupon code MSP1213.
March 22-23 Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis Workshop
Carlsbad, CA, USA
Apr 05-06, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Chelsea, VIC, Australia
Jun 21-22 Tai Chi for Diabetes Workshop
Anchorage, AK, United States
Jul 03-04, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Osteoporosis Instructor Training
Jul 05-06. Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jul 17-18. Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Jul 19-20. Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Jul 19-20. Tai Chi for Diabetes Instructor Training
Jul 31-Aug 01, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Aug 02-03, Tai Chi for Energy Instructor Training
Sep 27-28, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Oct 04-05, Exploring the Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis
Many other workshops conducted by my authorised master trainers are listed in the Workshop Calendar.
Yours in Tai Chi,
#Applying Tai Chi Principles to Promote the Growth of the Tai Chi for Health Program (Part Two – Part One in November issue)
Raymond Lau, Master Trainer, Singapore and Chairman of the Tai Chi for Health Institute
In the Yin and Yang of change management, we should also observe the need for receiving and perceiving (Yin) versus giving and doing (Yang), the need for quiet consolidation (Yin) versus energetic change (Yang), and the need for mutual nurturing of both Yin and Yang for holistic growth. If we compromise the Yin, then the Yang may look strong for a little while, but it will also decline eventually without the nourishment of the Yin. The net result is a diminishing of the sum total of Yin and Yang. A better way is to build up the Yin, so that the Yang can be nourished and grow as well, then the sum total of both Yin and Yang will be greater than before.
The TCHI is like the Yin of the TCH movement. In the area of training and education, she can develop curriculum and pedagogy of TCH program and better tools for trainers to teach better. In the area of research, TCHI can collate medical studies that are evidence based, to show the improvement of health and wellness outcomes of the TCH program. She can also develop research protocol and teach research methodology to our members who are keen to do research. In the area of promotion and resource, TCHI can develop marketing strategies and business plans to convince funders of the cost effectiveness of our TCH program, and also help with accreditation of instructors and master trainers.
The various TCH communities all over the world are like the Yang of the TCH movement. In the area of training and education, they can attend the workshops, provide feedback to improve the program and use the teaching tools. In the area of research, they can participate in the health and wellness outcome based research as they teach and practice TCH. In the area of promotion and resource, the communities can engage government agencies and community groups, for organization of TCH programs. They can also encourage the various health professionals and volunteer groups for TCH instructor accreditation.
In order to sustain the growth of the TCH movement, we also need the “Dan Tian”, the space or hub where the “chi” or “trust” can originate, gather and flow strongly. This can be the annual TCH workshop in the various regions of the world, as well as the local TCH communities’ activities. We can also explore the use of social media such as private facebook groups to promote interaction between members.
If we can nurture TCH institute and TCH communities all over the world by relating to one another based on the Tai Chi principles for growth, I am certain that in the not too distant future, we may be able to realise a common dream: “to empower people to improve health and wellness by making Tai Chi for Health accessible for everyone.” We can do it!
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Rachel Hickman, Instructor, Alabaster, AL USA
Several years before I started Tai Chi, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia - an autoimmune disorder which causes painful inflammation of the connective tissue. My doctor warned that fibromyalgia required medications for pain, sleep and depression. Having tried them, to no real benefit, I chose to research and seek more natural treatment and started taking Tai Chi. Of the various forms I have studied, one in particular proved to be life changing, Dr Paul Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis. A year later I was certified through the Arthritis Foundation and became an instructor of this form, having experienced personally the many benefits to my own health.
At about the same time I started Tai Chi, my husband Joe’s health was seriously threatened. He developed a severe sinus infection that ravaged his entire body for months. As a result he suffered a heart attack and also developed arthritic gout in his knees. While he recovered fully from the heart attack and surgery to implant a stint, the arthritic gout crippled him to the point that he had a shuffling gait and could hardly climb stairs, etc. While waiting to see a rheumatologist, he began to learn Tai Chi for Arthritis from me. By the time Joe was finally able to see the specialist and receive treatment and medication, he was already walking normally and could even balance on one leg. Joe and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to learn Tai Chi, especially Tai Chi for Arthritis, which has remarkably improved our lives.
Having seen the myriad of benefits that Tai Chi has had on Joe and me, other members of our family and friends have helped manage other health issues. Both my daughters have taken my classes, Sarah in TCA, and Emily in the Yang 24 form. All three of my grandchildren , James (8), Cary’s (6) and Dominic (4), are learning Yang 24 from Nana as part of their home-school curriculum . They began their education in the martial arts while taking Taekwondo at the academy where I taught TCA in Asheville, NC.
Like all “good news,” Tai Chi spreads fast! What a joy to be able to share its benefits, especially with those we love most – our families!
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#Tai Chi for Arthritis Instructor Training for Parkinson’s Patients
Part Two – Working with Parkinson’s Patients (Part One in November)
Sang Mekong, Master Trainer, Korea
It takes time. Cognition and motor learning is impaired in Parkinson’s disease, so instructors should have patience. And it would be better to have repeated practice with clear verbal command, which can make a clear image in their brain. It stimulates cortical bypass of disorganized brain motor network.
The one thing different from usual Tai chi class would be ‘THINK BIG’ and ‘MOVE BIG’. Because Parkinson’s patients also have some deficits in sensory organization of the brain, their movements are small and shrivelled though they sense their movement is enough. This is one of causes they can fall even at crossing a low door sill. So try to make them think big and move big under the safe zone of stability.
Complex movements and sequence, which look really hard to learn, would be good stimuli for their brain. Tai chi sequence and ‘brush knee’ movement are really good challenge for them, and tell them the difficult and complex would be much better for their brain. But you should keep in mind that one thing at one time. Stepwise progressive method is wonderful way to teach them.
The class should have one salient point to learn and practice. Though it takes time, and it would be not easy to learn the whole sequence, once they get the sequence, try to one point to keep in mind. The principles of Tai chi are wonderful points for the Parkinson’s. One class or one week with focusing at ‘stand straight’ or ‘weight transfer’ would be great practice. It is not that which movement is better for them, but how they perform the principle in their movements. So, again, it takes time.
The most important thing the instructors should keep in mind would be the conviction that enjoying the Tai chi is good for Parkinson’s disease. Above all the Tai chi forms, TAI CHI FOR ARTHRITIS would be the best to introduce them to learn. We know why it is good for elderly and diseased. It is really well-organized and well-structured to learn for the Parkinson’s.
Hope you enjoy the class with Parkinson’s people and make them enjoy the movements.
Thank you again.
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#Seeing Mom in a Different Light
Grant Ebeling, Instructor, Eagan, MN
(MT Linda Ebeling and Instructor Grant Ebeling are mother and son)
A couple of years ago when Mom returned from one of Dr Lam's trainings and showed me the new form she had learned, I was immediately enamored. Something struck me about the balance of Chen and Sun, of the familiar and the new. When she told me that she would be hosting a TCE training at home, I was interested but didn't think I could make it. It was a nondescript weekend in the middle of the life of a busy college student, and school comes first.
Naturally, while talking with Mom a mere 2 weeks before the training, I decided to check my calendar. Surprisingly, it was actually clear. Unfortunately, I didn't know the form. Luckily, the internet was available.
Thus began a series of short but intense learning sessions as I was taught by Mom via Skype. This was how I was used to working with her, from the very beginning. Regardless of how polished an exterior she presented during class, I got a first row seat to the chaos behind it; I was her guinea pig. So this sort of improvised Skype lesson, laptops propped up sideways, working around furniture and cords, the dog getting underfoot: this is what I was used to – nowhere near formal or polished, but rather effective chaos.
Once the workshop was underway, it went more or less as I had anticipated. I met awesome new people, got to meet Dr Lam, learn the details of the form, deepen my Tai Chi, and come to love TCE. The workshop went smoothly, with no hitches, but this was no surprise to me. After all, it had been planned by Mom. She did my birthday parties when I was younger with the same degree of concentration, so this flawless execution of a workshop is what I had expected.
When the training drew to a close, the coordinators took turns to demonstrate their favorite forms. For Mom, this meant the Sun 73. This is, again, something I had seen before. I remember her showing the family the cool new form she learned when she came home from the work shop. I’d seen her teach it in class and seen her perform in a park. However, this time was different and gave me a true sense of her skill and professionalism. For once, I got to see her focus on the form – not skipping backwards to avoid the couch, not kicking the footstool out of the way, not trying to nudge the dog (or his toys) out from underfoot – and it was, honestly, impressive.
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#Tai Chi Family/Family Tai Chi
Linda Ebeling, Senior Trainer, TCHC Board Member, Scholarship Committee Chair, Eagan, MN
This past October, I had the experience of hosting my first workshop for Dr Paul Lam. When I heard ST Hazel Thompson compare hosting a workshop for Dr Lam to planning a wedding, I laughed. This was a new experience with a myriad of details to attend to and nearly two years of planning to organize. Just like any large family gathering,
I knew the help of my tai chi family of fellow instructors and class participants would be a vital part of a successful Tai Chi for Energy workshop. It would also be a way to get people involved and build community. Several members of TCH shared their experience and advice. Others gave their time and expertise by assisting during the workshop. Local volunteers from the Twin Cities helped with various tasks such as set up and registration during the workshop. It did indeed feel like a family pulling together, sharing their talents and efforts to make sure participants would get the most out of the TCE workshop.
The tai chi family expanded when my son, Grant, decided he would like to attend the workshop and become a certified instructor. When I became a certified TCA instructor, Grant, at the age of 12, was my first student, helping me practice teaching before I started up a class. Years later, he continues to enjoy tai chi, attending some of my classes and assisting in events. Of course, I had been talking about Dr Lam’s TCE workshop quite a bit at home. However, it wasn’t until Grant returned to college in September, (at the 11th hour when most college students make decisions) that he let me know of his desire to attend and become a certified TCE instructor.
Grant knew TCA, but he had never done TCE and would only have a very short time with the DVD to learn the form. To help Grant prepare for the workshop, I taught him TCE via Skype. Grant did a great job during the workshop; he knew the form well and was a spokesperson for his group during one of the breakout sessions.
My first Dr Paul Lam workshop very much became a family event. Like a large wedding with company coming from out of town, hosting was filled with hard work and a few headaches. But in the end it became a uniting of tai chi and family, friendship, growth and joy.
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#What My Scholarship Meant to Me
Dana Radford, Instructor, Ohio, Depth of Tai Chi for Arthritis Scholarship Recipient
The day had finally arrived. With an indebted soul and unbridled excitement, I approached The Lodge at Strawberry Acres. Was I really about to interact with Dr Paul Lam, the creator of the program that saved my life? I was in just as much awe over what lay beyond the doors as I was about how I’d arrived at that point in my journey.
Just a few years ago, I couldn’t stand without support. Having suffered from Fibromyalgia since 2005, I’d renounced the idea of exercise, relaxation, and finishing graduate school years ago. Constant pain and fatigue had taken over my life, eradicating my dreams. One day after aquatic therapy, I was told of a Tai Chi for Arthritis class being offered at my wellness center. The physical therapist assured me that anyone could participate, but I remained apprehensive given my weakened, pain-ridden state. Thank God I went to class despite my trepidation because it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
In the beginning, I spent most of the class in a chair, and it took many days to recover from the exertion. By the end of an 8-week session, I could stand the majority of the class without support, and my ability to handle stress was improving. After practicing for nearly 3 years now, I not only stand the entire class, but I stand multiple classes each week while I teach this amazing art to others. Tai chi has become much more than my exercise of choice—it’s my calling. Performing and sharing TCA with the world has breathed new life into me, so you can imagine the joy I felt learning I’d been awarded a scholarship to see Dr Lam in person.
The workshop was phenomenal. I learned a lot about TCA and met many fellow enthusiasts from across the globe. Dr Lam used humor and metaphor to impart his vast wisdom about tai chi, the mind, the body, and life. Watching him perform was a lesson in grace, beauty, and diligence on its own. I’m a more confident instructor for having been to the workshop. I’m also a stronger person. It’s a blessing to be able to relay the profundities that I learned that weekend to my participants; it’s an honor to have been there to learn them at all. Thank you, Dr Lam, the trainers, and the rest of the Tai Chi for Health community.
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Dr Bob McBrien, Master Trainer, Salisbury, MD, USA
Teaching Tai Chi for Health classes frequently involves teaching elderly folks. The saying, "by your students you are taught", is very true when your students are over 80. I have learned the value of the healthy outlook on life most pensioners I teach have regarding growing older.
Younger folks often wonder how folks, who have experienced family and friends pass on, are able to laugh about their infirmities and growing older. What we learn from active elders is how having laughter and humor in our lives keeps us fully alive even as we grow older.
Following are a few of examples of this type of humor.
On his 100th birthday John was interviewed by the local TV station. The reporter asked, "Can you describe a benefit living to be 100?"
"No peer pressure," was John's reply.
Continuing his interview the reporter next asked, "Can you offer the secret to living to be 100 to our viewers?" "Keep breathing," John said!
An elderly gentleman with hearing problems went to the audiologist. He was given a set of hearing aids that corrected his hearing to 100%.
When the gentleman went back after month for a check-up, the audiologist reported, "Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again."
The gentleman replied, "Oh, I haven't told my family yet. I just sit around and listen to their conversations."
The audiologist replied, "I guess you learned some things."
"Yes indeed,' the gentleman said, "And I've changed my will three times"!
Do visit The Tai Chi for Health Community USA Facebook page and 'like' it.
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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.