Born Strong2018-04-18T23:39:14+00:00














Read reviews and sample chapters at Amazon. The ebook is also available. Click here to purchase from Tai Chi Productions. 

Watch an introductory Video Clip from Dr Lam 


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Born in Vietnam, Bon Trong—meaning “born strong”—was only ten months old when he was left with his grandmother in China. Little did anyone know that soon thereafter, the Communist Party under Mao Zedong would overtake China. For sixteen years, Bon Trong suffered abuse and terror from the Communist rule and narrowly escaped death from starvation during Mao’s disastrous Great Famine, when seventy millions did not. 
When Bon Trong was sixteen he escaped to Hong Kong, where he was distressed by the shock of the new culture and his heart-wrenching separation from his aunt. However, he was determined to win approval from his parents, from his family, but most of all, from himself.
Later in Australia he finally experienced freedom for the first time in his life. Paul, as he was now known, chose the path of healing early on when he decided to become a doctor. He came to realize how much he loved medicine, and it became clear his calling was to heal
The years of starvation and malnutrition had left their mark with disabling arthritis since his teen.  He began studying tai chi with his father-in-law hoping to ease his painful arthritis. Moved by the art he became an avid learner and expert in tai chi. Feeling he could help others, he started teaching others. From classes locally to workshops to lectures globally to creating DVDs to writing books.  Dr Paul Lam has dedicated his life to spreading the health benefits of tai chi around the world. He has changed the lives of millions of people who seek to connect their mind, body, and spirit through tai chi, fulfilling his destiny to become a true healer.  

Reviews by (click the name to see review):swimming with kids

  • Peter Wayne, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and author of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi
  • Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, 2009 Inductee to the Internal Arts Hall of Fame, and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi & Qigong” 
  • Andy Choo PhD FAA., Professor of biomedical genetics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; Tai Chi teacher and researcher
  • Bob Casey, USA, author, poet, and student of tai chi
  • Pam Kircher, USA, retired Master Trainer and author of “Love is the Link”
  • Raymond Lau, Singapore, Consultant Rheumatologist and Professor, Master Trainer, Chair of TCHI
  • 37 readers reviews on 10th July 2015

“…Dr. Lam, perhaps more than anyone else on the planet, has been a force in expanding Tai Chi and Qigong into modern healthcare at all levels–has enabled modern healthcare to un-grip from its past of discounting Eastern wisdom, and reform itself into something new and larger, where Eastern and Western wisdom can join hands for the betterment of society. In some ways, all Tai Chi teacher’s working in hospitals are riding on the shoulders of Paul’s early work…In his book, Dr. Lam talks about how he resisted naming his school after himself, because he didn’t want it to be a cult of personality, but a way to expand Tai Chi knowledge into the world, enabling it to be owned by many. Our work organizing World Tai Chi Day events worldwide, which has included the participation of Paul and many teachers Paul Lam trained, seeks to follow Dr. Lam’s vision, empowering the entire world to see Tai Chi as “their thing” and even further expanding these amazing treasures from Chinese culture throughout the world.beach

Paul Lam’s amazing story about how Tai Chi healed him from a hard life of challenges, and enabled him to flower into an internationally recognized Tai Chi expert and trainer whose work has literally helped millions directly or indirectly, is a microcosmic example of what is possible for the world. We can evolve from our past, and blossom into something beautiful and extraordinary–just as Paul Lam has done with his amazing life. — Bill Douglas, Founder of World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, 2009 Inductee to the Internal Arts Hall of Fame, and author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to T’ai Chi & Qigong”

“This is the story of . . . a man who has to rise above the chasm of death and impossible odds to turn the centuries-old esoteric Oriental art of Tai Chi into a Western-science-and-medicine-based system of healthcare that has deeply touched the lives of millions. It is a fable of humility, struggle, and heartbreak, but above all, of selfless sacrifice, unconditional love, staunch courage, and unwavering tenacity. An inspirational read . . .”— Andy Choo PhD FAA., Professor of biomedical genetics, University of Melbourne and Murdoch Childrens Research Institute; Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science; Tai Chi teacher and researcherpaul chen

“An inspiring and engaging personal story of healing and Tai Chi, written by a physician and Tai Chi master leading the integration of Tai Chi into healthcare worldwide.” — Peter Wayne, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School and author of the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi
“Born Strong will first appeal to Dr. Lam’s million plus tai chi students whom he or his world-network of instructors have taught. But over time, the book will attract a much broader audience. Anyone who has faced adversity will find comfort through reading it. Dr. Lam weaves a story regarding the power of the indomitable human spirit striving and succeeding in overcoming what appear as insurmountable obstacles. Poverty, starvation, murderous regimes, debilitating health issues, severe bullying, and vast cultural differences are just a few in a litany of challenges faced and met. An added bonus is that he provides readers with suggested ideas and skill sets that will allow them to cope with their personal challenges.


Ultimately, the book is really a love story for his aunt who sacrificed much for her nephew to succeed; his abiding love for family, both immediate and extended; and his passion for tai chi, a life-changing way of life. This story of love and excitement for life will touch readers to the very core of their being.” –  Bob Casey, USA, author, poet, and student of tai chi
Faced with difficult obstacles throughout his life, Dr. Lam met each challenge with determination, courage, and hope.  That combination brought him from starvation as a child in Maoist China to the life of a family doctor in Australia and the development of the Tai Chi for Health programs that have brought greater health to millions throughout the world. This riveting story inspires each of us to embrace our lives and ask, “what more might I do to fulfill my life’s purpose?” – Dr Pam Kircher, USA, retired Master Trainer and author of “Love is the Link”
“Thank you very much, Dr Lam. It is a very good book. It has captured the human spirit of resilience and grit, and the emotions were subtly and accurately portrayed. I believe the universal truth is this: unconditional love can embrace and transform all that seem  unlovable or insurmountable for the better.” – Raymond Lau, Singapore, Consultant Rheumatologist and Professor, Master Trainer, Chair of TCHI

A reader’s reaction, by Eileen Bandcroft

I received the signed copy of “Born Strong” yesterday.  I read it in one sitting!! I found it incredibly inspiring and deeply, deeply moving partly I suspect because, like your beautiful Aunt, I too raised an abandoned child, in much less difficult conditions,but nevertheless when you spoke of your Aunt I had a deep sense of the love she felt for you just as I do for my granddaughter who I have raised since the age of six when her Mum died and her Dad abandoned her.  She was my reason for living at that time and since then has been the jewel in the crown of my life.  Unconditional love is unconditional love whatever the circumstances and my belief is that special children l

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ike you  are sent to teach those of us who are privileged to raise you, many lessons not least of all the “gifts of the darkness” and also that the flame of hope is always there deep within us if we have the courage to believe.

I am so grateful that ACC chose Tai Chi for Health to be their falls prevention modality as without that happening there is no way I would be part of the tai chi family and have the gift of teaching tai chi in my life and to you I am grateful for your courage and determination to bring Tai Chi for Health to the World.

Congratulations on the wonderful book.  I hope it sells hugely worldwide so that people can be touched and inspired in the way that I have been.

Eileen Bandcroft, Instructor, Pukekohe, New Zealand

You can read more reviews on Amazon, and place your own review there.


 Extract 1

“Certainly Chairman Mao couldn’t hear the rumbling in my stomach, and he must not have known that someone stole our rice.  Otherwise he would have come to our rescue.  I had, after all, squeezed my eyes tight and prayed – his kind face in my mind’s eye, asking him for an overflowing bowl of rice and not the mere handful of tiny grains Aunt always made into congee.  But even the thin, tasteless porridge seemed like a royal feast now that our ration had been stolen a full five days before we would receive more rice.
Once verdant and lush, the land around us stood consumed.  The sky no longer home to birds, the rice paddies and river no longer a haven for the small fish I once walked past, and the land no longer bursting forth with vegetation. small gp
By the third day without food, my stomach stopped rumbling, and I heard only silence as my spirit slipped from my body and began to float.”

Extract 2: My Recipe for Health

I always enjoy finding all the factors of a problem and creating a formula to solve it.  I applied it to understanding how the body and mind function, and working out ways to make them work better. I cherished finding the right therapy to solve each individual’s health challenge, and in tai chi I love to find the most effective way to develop and enjoy the art. 
Ultimately, I love to find a solution to empower people for better health and wellness.  I talk to my patients, friends and tai chi colleagues and participants of my workshops about this topic frequently. Here is a recipe for health that I have found it works for me and many of the people I have interacted with. Most of these are woven into this book.


The Ingredients:

  • Positivity
  • Responsibility
  • Activity
  • Engagement
  • Interaction


I try to focus on the positive or bright side, though it is human nature to focus on the negative.  That can be helpful in extreme circumstances – it makes us work harder in case of disaster.  In normal times, however, negativity can adversely affect our health, thinking and relationships.  By looking for the best qualities in people I enhance my relationship with them.  Everyone likes to be recognised, which help them to be more confident and more effective and their attitude becomes more positive towards me – a win-win situation. 


Whenever I feel down I remind myself to “song” my joints – a tai chi state of gently loosening the joints, thus strengthen the body and induce relaxation, and to stand tall.  I may not be feeling great, but that simple change in posture tricks my mind into feeling less stressed, and thinking more upright.

Even at really bad times, being sad does not make matters any better. I find the psychologists were helpful when they said: “if you cannot be happy, pretend to be, and soon you would!” Even if I cannot be happy, I would be better off than focusing at sadness.


2.   Responsibility

I realised in my twenties that I needed to take responsibility for my own health.  With crippling arthritis I could have relied entirely on drugs to keep me relatively pain free.  It took dedication to establish a major improvement through tai chi, but on the way I learned that keeping physical and mental balance in my life was the best way to cope with the condition, as well as most matters in my life. 

As I develop, I take more responsibility for my actions.  Whenever something goes wrong, I make a great effort not to blame the circumstances and other people, not even the weather! Blaming anything including myself does not help me to get to a better place, it is a waste of time; it might sooth my insecurity for a little while but does not help it at all. I find it more helpful to focus on analysing the situation rationally, what was done well and what can be improved. Very importantly to develop inner strength which would reduce insecurity.


I also learned to be responsible for my reaction to other’s actions. For example, when someone makes a racially discriminative remark, I hold my anger and make a great effort to keep my mind balanced. If that person means to upset me and if I become angry, he or she controls me. If it was an innocent mistake, I would have got upset for nothing, worse still, an angry reaction would harm my relationship with that person. It is my responsibility to stay calm and find the most rational way to deal with the situation ….   (More in the book)

Links to Free Tai Chi Lessons– be sure to check with your health professional before you start

  • If you are looking for the best exercise for the body and mind in 15 minuste; try Tai Chi for Beginners 
  • Or you something more challenging for the same reason; try Tai Chi for Energy
  • If you are a person with arthritis, fibromyalgia, MS, stroke or most other chronic conditions; try Tai Chi for Arthritis

For more Free Tai Chi lessons please visit Dr Lam’s instructional DVD and books.

Dr Paul Lam | Memoir | 2015

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